POLARI
A queer sort of language
This is the story of how I first came into contact with Polari

As a young man coming out onto the Gay scene in Nottingham in the 60s, I was amazed by the strange language I heard. All these gay men talking in gobbledegook. Oh varda that bona chicken the one with the lovely dark riah, such a handsome eek. When one of them asked me if I was gay I said in all innocence that yes I was a happy person. It slowly dawned on me that what I was listening to was Polari, the secret language used by gay men at the time. I had of course listened to Julian and Sandy The two camp queens on Round The Horne, a radio program that went out on a Sunday Lunchtime . Julian and Sandy were masters in Polari, if you get the chance do try and listen to them. You must remember that being an active homosexual was against the law untill the law was changed in 1967 and this was a way of talking so that people around you didnt have a clue what you were talking about. The photo on the left is The Flying Horse Hotel which was the only place to go on the gay scene in those days.
Below is a summary of Polari words with their meaning
This list is by no means complete
Basket or Packet............The bulge in a mans jeans
Betty bracelet...............Policewoman
Bijou..........................Small
Bod............................Body
Bold...........................Daring
Bona..........................Good, Nice
Buns..........................Ass cheeks
Butch.........................Masculine
Camp.........................Effeminate
Capello........................Hat
Carsey........................Toilet
Chicken........................Young man
Charper.......................To Search
Charpering omi................Policeman
Cottage.......................Public Toilet
Cottaging.....................Looking for sex in a cottage
Crimper.......................Hairdresser
Dish ..........................Nice looking man, Nice arse
Dizzy..........................Scatty
Dolly...........................Pretty
Drag...........................Women's clothes
Eek ...........................Face (Backslang ecaf)
Esong..........................Nose
Fantabulosa ..................Wonderful
Fruit...........................Old queen
Gay............................Good as you
Gelt............................Money
Glossies........................Magazines
Hoofer.........................Dancer
Kaffies........................Trousers
Lallies..........................Legs
Latty...........................House
Lills............................Hands
lilly Law........................Police
Luppers........................Fingers
Mangarie.......................Food
Mince...........................A camp walk
Naff ...........................Awfull ( Not Available For F--king)
Nanti...........................None, no
National handbag .............Dole money
Oglefakes......................Glasses
Ogles.......................... Eyes
Omi.............................Man
Omipolone......................Camp man
Palliass.........................Back or rear
Polari...........................Talk , to chat
Polone...........................Woman
Pots,...........................Teeth
Riah............................Hair
Riah shusher...................Hairdresser
Shush bag.....................Bag or Holdall
Slap..............................Makeup
Thews..........................Thighs
Trade...........................Sex
Troll .............................To go walking
Varda...........................See, To look

 

I will add to this list and put more on here about my life in Gay Nottingham
as I get the time