Saturday, August 30, 2014

Ooh Vicar! Or how I learnt to love smut and realised early in my life that Donald McGill, Max Miller, Julian Clary, Humphrey Lyttelton and the rest are our true British heroes

A woman walks into a bar and asks for a double entendre. So the barman gave her one.

If 1) You don’t understand what’s going on; or 2) You do understand what’s going and think I should be ashamed of myself this blog entry will certainly not be for you. But if 3) You do understand what’s going on and smiled, sniggered, chuckled or perhaps even laughed, read on.

NB This entry and the four soundfiles below will be of especial use to all those learning English and/or who are not British but are keen to gain a deeper understanding of the British psyche. Here are four soundfiles which together make up a recent 30-minute edition of a Radio 4 programme called Word Of Mouth. (It is split into four parts because that was the only way I could post it here).

I listen to it regularly because I find the English language and the myriad facets of it fascinating. The most recent edition is called Rude Health and was presented by the actor Arthur Bostrom who played the Captain Crabtree in ’Allo ’Allo!, a British spy in occupied France during World War II who has a very poor command of French. In it he talks about our British predilection for double entendre. Give it a whirl.

NB The soundfiles will not play in Opera, but do play in other browsers, most certainly Firefox and Safari. I would, of course, like to add that there is a serious purpose to this post, but there isn’t. Sorry.

Happy sniggering.


First part


Second part


Third part


Fourth part

Donald McGill is mentioned in the programme and here a couple of examples of his postcards. At the end is one produced by the Bamforth & Co Ltd of Leeds. They are in a similar vein but often the entendre is not very double.

1 comment:

  1. Julian and Sandy doing their 'bona polari' routines were always fantabuloso in ‘Round the Horn’ back in the day (mid 60's) and more recently repeated on BBC Radio 4 extra. Turns out they were named for Julian Slade who wrote 'Salad Days' and Sandy Wilson who invented the pastiche musical genre by writing 'The Boy Friend.' He died recently and an obituary link was made to the delightful Hugh Paddick who was squired by Kenneth Williams in this campest of camp partnerships.

    The ‘Write Stuff’ is always worth listening to. Sometimes the parodies are better written than the originals.

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