Mad Jack Churchill

This week my delve into the weirder side of Wikipedia brought up the story of Jack Churchill - a fearlessly eccentric British warrior. Lieutenant Colonel John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming "Jack" Churchill, DSO, MC & Bar (1906 – 1996), nicknamed Fighting Jack Churchill and Mad Jack Churchill, was a British soldier who ... Read More...

Heroes of Slang 19: Henry Mayhew

Jonathon introduces Henry Mayhew: contemporary of Dickens, literary phenomenon, pioneer sociologist and hero of slang... The lexicographer records the vocabulary of slang, but, unless their dictionaries also  offer citations, they cannot properly record its use. The sources for 19th century slang are widespread but a relatively small proportion of these report ... Read More...

Heroes of Slang 18: Eric Partridge

The leading lexicographer of slang salutes his predecessor... How embarrassing. There he is. Always has been. Right under my nose. Or at least right behind me. And I never noticed. My very own predecessor: without whom and all that stuff. Really. I had better make amends. Eric Honeywood Partridge was born in ... Read More...

Heroes of Slang 18: John Cleland

This week Jonathon Green salutes the author of Fanny Hill, a book with a single aim: 'to write about a whore without using the language that was seen as part of her stock in trade'... It is my intention to review, perhaps next week, Emily Brand’s new study of the Georgian ... Read More...

Heroes of Slang 17: Rudyard Kipling

His soldier Tommy is one of the great English archetypes. But did Kipling invent or merely popularise him? Mr Slang investigates... Kipling, by allusion, has cropped up regularly in these posts. Enough of the oily rags. It is time for the engineer. Yet Kipling is not at first sight a particularly ‘slangy’ ... Read More...

Dabbler Heroes: Fred Astaire

Nige pays tribute to the greatest dancer... Fred Astaire - especially when dancing with Ginger Rogers - is (and I admit to a sizeable blind spot in the area marked Dance) almost the only dancer I can watch with that rush of aesthetic pleasure, the tingle at the nape of the ... Read More...

Viv Richards: A Meeting with the King

Jon Hotten meets his cricketing hero and finds himself saying exactly the one thing he had been determined not to say... When he went to the ring, he was often smiling. He knew that when the heavyweight champion of the world defended his title, it was a solemn moment, but he ... Read More...