Independent Pursuits: Creativity

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The Independent Culture
COCKNEY RHYMING slang: not as easy as first thoughts would suggest. Mike Gifford, for instance, offered a whole set of wonderful terms like "Geordie mud bath" (Newcastle Brown Ale), "the Russian divorce" (vodka on the rocks), "Cardinal" (a New Man) and "monthly sauce" (an HP payment), but none, sadly, actually qualifies as rhyming. His other contribution, "NatWest banker", has also, according to my sources, long been in use, as in "merchant". Len Clarke also offered "Upper Class", a phrase hissed by WAAFs at the retreating backs of rude senior officers, but it has to go for the same reason of old age.

Lack of topicality, bent rules or obscenity did for the majority of entries. Andrew Morrison and Glen Franckeiss offered a tale of a typical night out: "We give it some Gene Kelly at the bar and end up having a right Fred Astaire 'cause we're so drunk we find ourselves lying on our Robert Stacks on the Gregory Peck... we get a Neil McNabb home, have a quick Forrest Gump in the bathroom before retiring to bed after watching some rubbish on the Arthur Cox." Seems to me, lads, like you spent one of those nights out concocting your reply.

Meanwhile, Duncan Bull suggests "William Hague" (bubonic plague), "Mandy's home" (Millennium Dome) and "Bunfight" (Newsnight). On the subject of Newsnight, Michael Rubinstein offers "boy scouting" and "Philip Marlow screaming and shouting" for nefarious practices peculiar to Matthew Parris and his gentler counterpart, Peter Tatchell. RA Carter suggests that Will Carling should henceforth stand for "darling" (and I'm sure many a mother's daughter would agree with that) and that Kenneth Branagh is a spanner.

Self-styled exiled cockney JR Gore suggests "Brown'll fudge it" (budget) and "parasitic" (critic). Paul Turner contributes "Major's moans" (traffic cones) and "men's delights" (crotchless tights). The ever-prolific Bruce Birchall returns to form after his spell in hospital: "Tiffany and Bianca" are updated merchants, "Grimsby and Hull" are simply dull, "Celtic and Rangers" are total strangers, "Brighton and Hove", a conservative area largely funded by the pink pound, is, naturally, mauve, and "Hague and Lilley" are, well, rather silly.

Copies of The Chambers Dictionary to Andrew Morrison and Glen Franckeiss, who can fight over one, and Michael Rubinstein. Also, would A Berry and G Dobson please get in touch, as I have mislaid their addresses.

Ian Hurdley contributes this week's competition. To allow for plenty of shopping time, he would like suggestions for inappropriate Christmas gifts and their potential recipients. Suggestions, please, to Creativity, The Independent, Features, 18th Floor, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. The top two, or three, depending on whether anyone has won one for suggesting the week's theme, will win a copy of The Chambers Dictionary of Quotations. Results two weeks from today.

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