How bona to fake pogy dolly ol’ screeving! November 18, 2005Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
Understanding with ever greater clarity that I am yet to have an idea of my own at the grand old age of 35, I have been prompted by In Actual Fact to ponce another idea from elsewhere and remember the existence of polari, as best evinced by Kenneth Williams and Hugh Paddick in Round the Horne (although linguist Paul Baker equates its popularisation to its decline). The slang is unknown to most modern-day woofters, of course, but I remember being greatly entertained by it by older queens I knew years ago – my boyfriend and I were once wished a ‘Bona Christmas, girls’ – with their descriptions of the London theatre of their day. And the greatest joy in Round the Horne, of course, was when Mr. Horne (Mista Rawn) joined in and used the odd word of it himself. All a bit of a hoot. Bona, in fact!
What all that camp humour in Round the Horne exemplifies for me, ever the optimist, is that the English public have a special affinity for queens. Look at all the utter queens in comedy who’ve been totally respected figures – Kenneth Williams, Larry Grayson etc. etc. – and the point is not that they were closets, although they didn’t openly bring gayness, at least the word, into their repertoires, but they camped it up galore and that’s precisely what got the laughs and invited the audience’s affection. Male English friends of mine who rant sternly about all sorts of subjects can’t help smiling at camp – I’ve only ever heard of something similar at the same level in Brazil – and no doubt this tendency might be what makes some Frenchies say that 50% of English men are homosexual. (Fat chance.) In any case, it all makes me think that England’s not a bad old place to be an omipalone. Germany’s bona too though, of course.