Thursday, 16 September 2010

Polari Bible



From the Polari Bible---if you don't know what Polari is, you've clearly never listened to Round the Horne. A kind of underground gay slang of the last century, its main characteristic is huge lexical replacement of English words with borrowings from Yiddish, Romani, and Italian, with a number of instances of backslang (for example, 'face' backwards is ecaf, hence 'eke', 'face') and Cockney rhyming slang. Another salient feature is the swapping over of male and female pronouns and names, and a high number of expressive neologisms---I especially like the marvellously smoggy, tenebrous 'munge' for 'darkness', and the lovely throwaway 'fakement' for 'thing'. It all has a kind of seedy gaudiness that I find irresistably funny, recalling Sontag's 'Notes on Camp' by trivialising serious things to the point of complete absurdity; anything said in the language takes on what the ghastly Alan Hollingshurst once called 'the uniquely homosexual tone of bored outrage.'

(And why oh why haven't I got a trio of famble-palones?!)


1 In the beginning Gloria created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was nanti form, and void; and munge was upon the eke of the deep. And the fairy of Gloria trolled upon the eke of the aquas.
3 And Gloria cackled, Let there be sparkle: and there was sparkle.
4 And Gloria vardad the sparkle, that it was bona: and Gloria medzered the sparkle from the munge.
5 And Gloria screeched the sparkle journo, and the munge she screeched nochy. And the bijou nochy and the morning were the first journo.
6 And Gloria cackled, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the aquas, and let it divide the aquas from the aquas.
7 And Gloria made the firmament, and medzered the aquas which were under the firmament from the aquas which were above the firmament: and it was so.
8 And Gloria screeched the firmament Heaven. And the bijou nochy and the morning were the second journo.
9 And Gloria cackled, Let the aquas under the heaven be gathered together unto una place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
10 And Gloria screeched the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the aquas screeched she Seas: and Gloria vardad that it was bona.
11 And Gloria cackled, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding maria, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose maria is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding maria after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose maria was in itself, after his kind: and Gloria vardad that it was bona.
13 And the bijou nochy and the morning were the third journo.
14 And Gloria cackled, Let there be sparkles in the firmament of the heaven to divide the journo from the nochy; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15 And let them be for sparkles in the firmament of the heaven to parker sparkle upon the earth: and it was so.
16 And Gloria made dewey dowry sparkles; the dowrier sparkle to rule the journo, and the nanti dowrier sparkle to rule the nochy: she made the twinkling fakements also.
17 And Gloria set them in the firmament of the heaven to parker sparkle upon the earth,
18 And to rule over the journo and over the nochy, and to divide the sparkle from the munge: and Gloria vardad that it was bona.
19 And the bijou nochy and the morning were the quarter journo.
20 And Gloria cackled, Let the aquas bring forth dowrily the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
21 And Gloria created dowry whales, and every living creature that trolleth, which the aquas brought forth dowrily, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and Gloria vardad that it was bona.
22 And Gloria fabed them, cackling, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the aquas in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
23 And the bijou nochy and the morning were the fifth journo.
24 And Gloria cackled, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping fakement, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
25 And Gloria made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every fakement that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and Gloria vardad that it was bona.
26 And Gloria cackled, Let us make homie in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping fakement that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So Gloria created homie in her own image, in the image of Gloria created she her; omee and palone created she them.
28 And Gloria fabed them, and Gloria cackled unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living fakement that trolleth upon the earth.
29 And Gloria cackled, varda, I have parkered you every herb bearing maria, which is upon the eke of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding maria; to you it shall be for carnish.
30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every fakement that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have parkered every green herb for carnish: and it was so.
31 And Gloria vardad every fakement that she had made, and, varda, it was dowry bona. And the bijou nochy and the morning were the seyth journo.
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