Allusionist 99. Polari

When there were no safe spaces to be gay, Polari allowed gay men to identify and communicate with each other, and to keep things secret from outsiders.

Professor Paul Baker, author of the Polari dictionary and the upcoming book Fabulosa! The Story of Polari, Britain’s Secret Gay Language, explains how Polari emerged from criminal cant and London’s theatres and docks to be used a code language for gay men in the oppressive 1950s - and then, not long after, it entered the slang lexicons of the general public, via popular sketch comedy and the mouth of an annoyed princess.

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Allusionist 22: Vocables

Hey! You! If you enjoy this show, or any of the other shows that are part of Radiotopia, please support the collective by donating at radiotopia.fm.

I'll be extremely grateful to you if you do! Here's why.

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La la la, dum di di dum, a wop bop a loo bop a wop bom bom - why are songs riddled with non-words masquerading as words?

Hrishikesh Hirway from Radiotopisibling Song Exploder and songwriter Tony Hazzard explain.

WOAH WOAH WAH-OH, DO BE DOO DOO, HERE'S SOME READING MATTER:

Still haven't donated to Radiotopia yet? Here's that link again for you. Slack have offered a further $25,000 provided we get 5,000 donors by Monday 26th October, so don't dawdle.

GAVIN'S RANDOMLY SELECTED WORD FROM THE DICTIONARY:
occiput

You wanna be a cool guy like Gavin and have the next randomly selected word from the dictionary dedicated to you? Then you'd better become a Radiotopia supporter at Radiotopia.fm. Don't make me tell you again.

Email your donation receipts to allusionistshow@gmail.com for the chance to be the randomly selected Radiotopia donor.

CREDITS:

Ella Fitzgerald - ‘One Note Samba’
The Spice Girls - ‘Spice Up Your Life’
Theme from The Old Grey Whistle Test - ‘Stone Fox Chase’
Little Richard - 'Tutti Frutti'
The Crystals - ‘Da Do Ron Ron’
Black Lace - ‘Agadoo’
JLS - 'She Make Me Wanna'
Betty Wright - ‘Shoorah Shoorah’
Brokeback - ‘In the Reeds’

Come back in a week's time for the next Radiotopial special edition of the Allusionist. I promise not to sing.

- HZ

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, which is supported by Mailchimp, the Knight Foundation, and listeners like you.

Allusionist 12: Pride

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"The poison is shame. The antidote is pride."

It’s June; the President of the USA has officially designated it LGBT Pride Month, and there’ll be Pride events around the world.

Activist and the publisher of Homosexuals Intransigent Craig Schoonmaker recounts how the word ‘pride’ was chosen, which eventually came to be the banner word for demonstrations and celebrations of LGBT rights and culture.

ADDITIONAL READING:

CREDITS:

This episode was sponsored by Animoto. Visit animoto.com/words to try out their fun and easy video-making tools; if you sign up for an annual pro subscription, get 15% off using the code WORDS.

MAILCHIMP'S RANDOMLY SELECTED WORD FROM THE DICTIONARY:
congeries

There'll be a new episode in a fortnight. Meantime, I'll be dispensing podcasting advice in California with Roman Mars and Colin Anderson: check here for details of the events.

- HZ

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX.