news

Simon Bowkett: a short blog in Polari for LGBT+ History Month

Can you guess what it says?

Published

By Civil Service LGBT+ Network

Simon Bowkett, from MHCLG has wrritten a short blog in Polari for LGBT+ Hisotry Month - can you guess what it says?

Boyno, Duckies!

As you varda this bijou blog you may clock there’s something multy queer about it. (There’s a bit of a palarver about “queer” these days, I savvy, but we can cackle about that another day.)

As it’s LGBT+ History Month I thought it might be fantabulosa to have a blog parlayed in Polari. For those not savvy, Polari was a form of parlay popular in the mid 20th Century among (mostly) mauve and versatile omis – especially in Eine. It was a form of slang that grew from the docks in the east (where the sea food was to be had!) to the thumping-cheat of the west end where words were borrowed from the parlay of the joggering omis and the tober showmen.

It’s important to remember that last century being “so” was illegal, and if Lilly suspected an omi of being out trolling for trade, he was likely to wake up in the queer ken. So Polari evolved so omis could parlay with omis, whether out trolling on a munge nochy or on the polari pipe, with nanti worries about a charpering omi or a gajo having an aunt nelly ajax them. It was a bona parlay for cod times! (While there is some record of palones using Polari too, there was no actual law against palone-omis, so there wasn’t multy need to use it.)

Scharda, but after 1967 when queens could get more bold, Polari all but carked it. You may find the odd slanging queen use it, but few of the chickens today savvy this old mauve parlay at all.

To savvy more, varda this bona link (and video) to see your actual Polari, or spend some of your geld to get your lillies on Paul Baker’s bona book, “Fabulosa!

Well, Duckies, I’d better vagar.

Bona lavs!

Translation:

Hello, friends!

As you look at this small blog you may notice there’s something very odd about it. (There’s a bit of a debate about “queer” these days, I know, but we can talk about that another day.)

As it’s LGBT+ History Month I thought it might be wonderful to have a blog spoken in Polari. For those that don’t know, Polari was a form of language popular in the mid 20th Century among (mostly) gay and bisexual men – especially in London. It was a form of slang that grew from the docks in the east (where the sailors were) to the heart of the west end where words were borrowed from the slang of the entertainers and the travelling showmen.

It’s important to remember that last century being gay was illegal, and if the police suspected a man of being out cruising, he was likely to wake up in prison. So Polari evolved so men could talk with men, whether out walking on a dark night or on the phone, with no worries about a policeman or an outsider listening next to them. It was a good language for bad times! (While there is some record of women using Polari too, there was no actual law against lesbians, so there wasn’t a lot of need to use it.)

It’s a pity, but after 1967 when gay men could be more “out”, Polari all but died out. You may find the odd stage act use it, but few of the young gay men today know this old LGBT+ language at all.

To learn more, have a look at this great link (and video) to see your actual Polari, or spend some of your money to get your hands on Paul Baker’s excellent book, “Fabulosa!

Well, friends, I’d better be off.

Best wishes!