Thursday, 26 March 2009

"Hello, I'm Julian and this is my friend, Sandy..."

If you've ever called someone or something 'naff', gone down to the pub for a 'bevvy', sat on the 'khazi' or spoken the 'lingo', you've stepped unwittingly (or wittingly) into the world of Polari. It's a language created and spoken out of necessity, a coded gay lexicon in a time when it was illegal to be an omi-palone (gayer) and queer bashing was a national pastime. Morrissey may have brought the language back to prominence with his album Bona Drag (nice clothes) in the nineties and Queer Eye For the Straight Guy may have 'zhoosed' their victims in the noughties, but we have to go back to the sixties, for the best, and greatest exponents, Julian and Sandy.

Julian And Sandy were two gay characters on the BBC radio sketch show Round the Horne. Every Sunday afternoon, most of the country would listen to their cheeky, saucy London banter, mostly unaware of the true meaning. Their Polari was the theatrical version, where even an "Ooh" was a double entendre, dripping in inuendo. Hugh Paddick and Carry On star, Kenneth Williams played these two out-of-work actors who each week would be called on by Kenneth Horne for their services, usually found in the classifieds but almost entirely innocent. He'd usually be greeted by Sandy with a flourish and a "How bona to varda your dolly old eek" (It's good to see you).

Here's a sketch where Mr Horne is looking for an exotic pet and finds their shop, Bona Pets, in Chelsea...

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And this one is Rentachap...

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I'm sure Kenneth Williams would be horrified to be described as the "queen of camp". I've never heard ANYONE call him that. Anyhoo, here's a clip of a documentary about the Julian and Sandy sketches.


Paul said...

darren says i sound a bit like kenneth williams. he now has a fat lip :(

Phil said...

Stop messing abaaaaaaahhhht!