Monday, March 21, 2011

Go, Van, Go!

I've been perusing through a few different books that will, hopefully, help with the transition from living in the US to living in the UK. Having already been to London numerous times over the past decade, I am content in the knowledge that I do know some things of value already. However, I expect to make some horrible gaffs along the way. I only hope that folk will find them funny, and not offensive.

From Gaff to Goff:

The artist who painted these lovely branches is, to us, Van "Go". However, to those in the UK, he is Van "Goff". I don't know how many times old Van Gogh will come up in conversation, but I'll be ready.

Some newly learned and already known knowledge:

People from the UK, in general, are not to be called "Brits." That would be the equivalent of all us in the US being referred to as "Yanks." And, no, the Republic of Ireland is not a part of the British Isles. If you want to piss of a chick from Co. Dublin, then tell her that.

"Panties" are only for girls, and not the kind you'd find taking such things off for money at clubs with names like "Lace," "Gold Club," and "Lusty Lady." Women wear "knickers" in the UK, but, really, when I hear "knickers" I think of the girls on Little House on the Prairie. I'll probably just stick to wearing underpants.

<---"Half-pint" goes full. 

Being made "redundant" means that you've lost your job. Buildings, too, can lose their job, as it were, and, all over the country, one can hoist a pint in a former House of the Lord. Say two "Hail Marys" and drink a Whitby Ale!

When I last visited Douglas, granddad (not grandpa) to a friend's child, he asked me how life was in "Barkley". Knowing that he meant "Berkeley" made answering fairly easy. Up until now, I had thought that his was a particularly So. London pronunciation, given that that's where he's from. However, having recently checked the book "Rules, Britannia" on English/Scottish/Welsh pronunciations of place names, I now understand that when most folk over yonder say any word with "erk" in it, then it sounds like "ark". Although I'm still not too sure how to say "Berkshire". "Barkshu"? "Barksha"?  

Jacko, Macca, and Madge

I much prefer the way musical celebs are named by UK press. Michael Jackson goes from "MJ" to "Jacko" abroad. "Jacko" sounds like "wacko" and, when I think of MJ dangling his baby over the balcony of a German hotel, this British moniker fits.

"Macca", actually, seems the least inspired nickname given that I'd recently read it's common for those with a surname beginning with "Mc/Mac" to be called "Macca".  Maybe Paul McCartney should be called "Sir Macca" in order for him to stand out just a bit.

Madonna, a one-named music making machine on the scene for much of the last 25 years, is taken down a notch, and made, somehow, accessible to the "little people" by being called "Madge" in the press.  I guess it's meant to be, sort of, a term of endearment bestowed upon her by enamored Britons.  Whenever I hear the name, "Madge", I think of the national dish soap commercial from the 70s that had manicurists talking about "Palmolive", I think it was.  The tag-line was something like, "Madge, you're soaking in it!"  Ha.  I'd like to see Madonna give someone a mani/pedi. 

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