On 15 November 1992, the New York Times printed a ‘ Lexicon of Grunge’, a list of slang terms from the Seattle music scene. ‘Harsh realm’ = bummer. ‘Wack slacks’ = old ripped jeans. ‘Swingin’ on the flippity-flop’ = hanging out.
Not familiar with any of these? It’s OK, it’s not because you’re a cob nobbler (= loser). They were all made up. By Megan Jasper. Now the CEO of Sub Pop records, she explains why she pranked an unsuspecting journalist.Read More
‘Idle’, ‘trivial’, ‘scurrilous’: the word ‘gossip’ is often accompanied by uncomplimentary adjectives. But don’t dismiss it; from childbirth to Hollywood to political analysis to whisper networks, gossip may be more useful and serious than you realise.Read More
There's a word that has become shorthand for 'the war on Christmas' with a side of 'political correctness gone mad': Winterval.
It began in November 1998. Newspapers furiously accused Birmingham City Council of renaming Christmas when it ran festive events under the name 'Winterval'. The council's then-head of events Mike Chubb explains the true meaning of Winterval.Read More
iTUNES • RSS • SOUNDCLOUD • MP3
Your online dating profile is the latest spin on a 300-year-old tradition of advertising yourself in order to find a spouse, a sexual partner, or someone to take care of your pigs.
Francesca Beauman, author of Shapely Ankle Preferr’d: A History of the Lonely Hearts Ad, digs into lonely hearts ads to see how British society and desires have evolved over the past three centuries.
WARNING: Some of the content is a little saucy, but not, like, swimming in sauce.
- Reviews of hundreds of different dating sites? You got it.
- I love reading the Blind Dates in the Guardian each Saturday, and The Guyliner’s dissection thereof shortly afterwards.
- Atlas Obscura tests the Victorian seduction technique of reading aloud.
- Not so much a lonely heart ad as a curious soul ad, but it resulted in one of the most intriguing books I’ve ever read: The Life Swap by Nancy Weber. Read about it here (NB spoilers).
- Warlock: offensive term?
- The transcript of this episode is at theallusionist.org/transcripts/wltm-i.
A WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS:
2. Our generous benefactors Squarespace.com want to help you realise your online dreams in the form of beautiful, well-designed websites. To get 10% off yours for the first year plus a domain thrown in, use the code ALLUSION at checkout. Unlike my mug of a husband.
MAILCHIMP'S RANDOMLY SELECTED WORD FROM THE DICTIONARY:
- Find Francesca Beauman at francescabeauman.com and buy her books, including the excellent Shapely Ankle Preferr’d, from your usual book-buying places.
- This episode was produced by me, Helen Zaltzman.
- Martin Austwick provided all the music.
- Matthew Crosby provided his voice.
- Allusionist listeners provided their dating profiles, for which I am extremely grateful.
- WLTM you at facebook.com/allusionistshow, twitter.com/allusionistshow and twitter.com/helenzaltzman.
This is a two-parter, and the second half is an absolute belter, so return next week to hear it.