The Lexicography of Erotica

Continuing last fortnight's theme, Mr Slang examines the lexicography of 'specialist' book titles, and uncovers a "grim commentary on the tropes of male excitement..." This is it, I promise. The last one. But pondering the verbose titles of the 19th century pornography, I could but compare them with modernity, or nearly ... Read More...

The Dirty Bookshops of Holywell Street

Jonathon Green takes a trip to the 'specialist' bookshops of The Backside of St Clements... All gone now. What you’re looking at above is the Australian High Commission (though didn’t that get knocked down too a year ago or so?). Like Fred and Rose’s lair at 25 Cromwell Street, Holywell Street had ... Read More...

Slang in Stereotype

What is slang all about? Jonathon muses on stereotypes, in life and in the counter-language that holds up its dark mirror to life... I am in a cab. The cabbie asks what work I do. I explain that I write dictionaries. Dictionaries, that is, of slang. And the cabbie, who stands ... Read More...

The Noble Art of Milling

Jonathon fibs you right in the claret-spout with his fambler, as he examines slang's obsession with fisticuffs... Unlike slang's women, slang's men do not scold. And nag? heaven forfend. Men shout. Loud, vain, futile. All that stuff. Gobshites, basically. But men also hit. How do I wallop thee, let me count the ... Read More...

Time for a Line

It's holiday time, and Mr Slang is spending his summer constructing interactive timelines of popular terms for the penis. You ain't seen nothing like this before... It’s August. Holiday time, I gather. I had mine in June but no matter. My short-lived tan has faded and my mind is blank. Slang ... Read More...

On the Edge

Even crème fraîche can be described as 'edgy' these days - has the term lost all meaning?... Words have to multi-task. It comes with their territory. One dictionary entry, several, even many definitions; some nuanced others seemingly oppositional though there, perhaps, one may have a homonym. The bulk of slang is ... Read More...

Slang für Kinder

In honour of the new Princeling, Mr Slang is talking kids... I love children, as Nancy Mitford put it so well, especially when they cry: for then someone takes them away. Mitford of course lived in Paris where they have a more robust attitude to those who have yet to acquire ... Read More...