Join Max for a talk on the surprising history of slang, revealing the origins of some of the English language’s most colourful words and phrases.
Tracing the threads over several centuries and across international borders, this is the story of how the English language of Shakespeare’s day fragmented and twisted into all kinds of shapes, as people like pickpockets, beggars, sailors, musicians, gangsters, whores, politicians, gypsies, soldiers, gays and lesbians, policemen, rappers, cockneys and biker gangs seized the King’s or Queen’s English by the throat and took it to places it would probably regret in the morning.
The story of a many-headed outsider language, which regenerates and mutates with every passing year. Wisecracking, smutty, cynical, pessimistic, knowing: from the narrow alleys of Elizabethan London to the urban sprawl of 21st century LA, Vulgar Tongues takes a long hard look at the way people really speak when the barriers are down, where PC is just another word for computer...
Max Décharné is an author, songwriter and musician. He has recorded numerous albums and singles, and eight John Peel Sessions as the singer with The Flaming Stars. A regular contributor to Mojo magazine since 1998, his books include Hardboiled Hollywood, King’s Road, the jive-talk dictionary Straight From The Fridge, Dad, and the definitive history of rockabilly music, A Rocket in my Pocket (Serpent’s Tail 2010). He lives in north London.