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Fabulosa! : the story of Polari, Britain's secret gay language / Paul Baker.

By: Baker, Paul, 1972-.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: London, England : Reaktion Books, 2019Copyright date: ©2019Description: 320 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.Content type: text | still image Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9781789141320 (hardback).Subject(s): Polari | Gays -- Great Britain -- Language | English language -- Slang -- DictionariesDDC classification: 427.0086/640941 Summary: Polari is a language that was used chiefly by gay men in the first half of the twentieth century. At a time when being gay could result in criminal prosecution - or worse - Polari offered its speakers a degree of public camouflage and a means of identification. Its roots are colourful and varied - from Cant to Lingua Franca to dancers' slang - and in the mid-1960s it was thrust into the limelight by the characters Julian and Sandy, voiced by Hugh Paddick and Kenneth Williams, on the BBC radio show Round the Horne. ('Oh Mr Horne, how bona to vada your dolly old eke!'). Paul Baker recounts the story of Polari with skill, erudition and tenderness. He traces its historical origins and describes its linguistic nuts and bolts, explores the ways and the environments in which it was spoken, explains the reasons for its decline and tells of its unlikely re-emergence in the twenty-first century. With a cast of drag queens and sailors, Dilly boys and macho clones, Fabulosa! is an essential document of recent history and a fascinating and fantastically readable account of this funny, filthy and ingenious language.
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Item type Current location Collection Call number Status Date due
Non-Fiction Davis (Central) Library
Non-Fiction (NEST)
Non-Fiction (NEST) 427 BAK Checked out 23/12/2019

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Polari is a language that was used chiefly by gay men in the first half of the twentieth century. At a time when being gay could result in criminal prosecution--or worse--Polari offered its speakers a degree of public camouflage, a way of expressing humor, and a means of identification and of establishing a community. Its roots are colorful and varied--from thieves' Cant to Lingua Franca and prostitutes' slang--and in the mid-1960s it was thrust into the limelight by the characters Julian and Sandy, voiced by Hugh Paddick and Kenneth Williams, on the BBC radio show Round the Horne : "Oh Mr. Horne, how bona to vada your dolly old eke!"

In Fabulosa! , Paul Baker recounts the story of Polari with skill, erudition, and tenderness. He traces its historical origins and describes its linguistic nuts and bolts, exploring the ways and the environments in which it was spoken, the reasons for its decline, and its unlikely reemergence in the twenty-first century. With a cast of drag queens and sailors, Dilly boys and macho clones, Fabulosa! is an essential document of recent history and a fascinating and fantastically readable account of this funny, filthy, and ingenious language.

Includes bibliographical references (pages 300-311) and index.

Polari is a language that was used chiefly by gay men in the first half of the twentieth century. At a time when being gay could result in criminal prosecution - or worse - Polari offered its speakers a degree of public camouflage and a means of identification. Its roots are colourful and varied - from Cant to Lingua Franca to dancers' slang - and in the mid-1960s it was thrust into the limelight by the characters Julian and Sandy, voiced by Hugh Paddick and Kenneth Williams, on the BBC radio show Round the Horne. ('Oh Mr Horne, how bona to vada your dolly old eke!'). Paul Baker recounts the story of Polari with skill, erudition and tenderness. He traces its historical origins and describes its linguistic nuts and bolts, explores the ways and the environments in which it was spoken, explains the reasons for its decline and tells of its unlikely re-emergence in the twenty-first century. With a cast of drag queens and sailors, Dilly boys and macho clones, Fabulosa! is an essential document of recent history and a fascinating and fantastically readable account of this funny, filthy and ingenious language.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • 1 What Is Polari? (p. 9)
  • 2 Something Borrowed, Something Blue (p. 31)
  • 3 How to Polari Bona (p. 83)
  • 4 A Bad Time to Be Gay (p. 116)
  • 5 'I'm Julian and this is my friend Sandy' (p. 163)
  • 6 The Lost Language (p. 197)
  • 7 She's Ready for Her Comeback (p. 237)
  • 8 In Conclusion (p. 273)
  • Glossary (p. 288)
  • References (p. 300)
  • Further Reading (p. 312)
  • Acknowledgements (p. 313)
  • Photo Acknowledgements (p. 314)
  • Index (p. 315)