Friday, 5 February 2010

You scullion! You rampallian! You fustilarian! I'll tickle your catastrophe!


I recently gave a friend (in fact the man who represents the Scottish police to the world) a birthday card that I'd been hoarding since the mid 60s, never finding quite the right occasion to send it until the other day.

The text was a long list of insults - kindly and inoffensive, I do assure you: my friend is the kindliest of men - with a box beside each, so that you could tick the ones which you felt applied. There was also a spare box for you to write in an extra one if you felt the insult compilers had unaccountably left one out. I'm happy to try to reproduce it (from memory) for the greater delight of the multitude of gentle abusers who come here every day. It went something like this:

Fraud.... Tinker.... Cormorant.... Slug.... Cannibal.... Greenhorn.... Sourguts.... Reptile.... Don Juan.... Tartar.... Hillbilly.... Torpedo.... Landlubber.... Butterfingers.... Hellhound.... April Fool.... Lotus Eater.... Drone.... Weevil.... Vampire.... Toady.... Scribbler.... Lie-abed.... Crumb.... Egghead.... Babyface.... Imperialist.... Sassenach.... Rake.... Puritan.... Tom-cat.... Loafer.... Sponge....

and so on. I'm particularly happy to include 'sponge', because I understand this is what Simon Cowell once accused Prince Philip, giant among the multitude of gentle abusers, of calling him.

It's hard to beat King Lear for colourful insults:

Coward.... Brazen-faced varlet.... Whoreson zed.... Unnecessary letter.... Wagtail.... Finical rogue.... Pandar.... Cullionly barbermonger.... Eater of broken meats.... One-trunk-inheriting slave.... Worsted-stocking knave.... Jakes wall-daubing....

Thank you, Will. I feel the better for that.

17 comments:

Rog said...

I don't envy you when Z reads this Christopher!

Christopher said...

You're referring to 'Lie-abed' and 'Lotus Eater', of course? She'll take it in her stride, at least she will when her hip gets better.

I, Like The View said...

crikey, I'm feeling a little weak after that

no scally-wags?

Dave said...

I go no higher than Life of Brian's 'very naughty boy'.

Sarah said...

What's a 'crumb' ? hardly an insult....is it??

Christopher said...

Well, that's pretty bad, Dave. It's only one step down from 'bum'. Another I've just remembered. You'll have to ask Z - gently, now - what this word means.

Sarah: No, you're right, 'crumb' is pretty tame, babyface. But have you never fallen off a table?

Christopher said...

I: No scallywags. But I've since remembered fly-by-night, skinny-malink and blackleg. Oh, and blue stocking. I think of you - with the utmost kindliness, of course - as more resembling one of these than the other three.

I, Like The View said...

skinny-malink!! haven't heard that in a while

(that's what me old ma used to call me)(not that I'm calling you old, you understand)

Christopher said...

Just to make certain - did you mean 'me old ma' or was this a typo for 'me old man'?

I, Like The View said...

ma

Christopher said...

Ah. Well, I'm rather pleased. Old mas have certain privileges denied to old men.

I may once have made an infamous inference to you, infamous.

I never did National Service.

Z said...

Whoreson zed? Oh.

I'll just go and daub the walls of a jakes while I get over it.

Christopher said...

Well...maybe it would help to keep your hand in until the wall-building gets under way again.

I, Like The View said...

ragamuffin?

Christopher said...

Well, I quite like raga in moderation, and muffins too, especially with butter (muffin-tops being something that skinny-malinks know nothing of) but being considered a snappy dresser in these parts 'ragamuffin' doesn't quite fit the bill.

KAZ said...

Cormorant??
That's only an insult to a keen angler.

Christopher said...

Hello, Kaz. You're very welcome...

...some of those 'insults' had a 60s ring to them: some I omitted were beatnik, duffer (even earlier - straight out of Arthur Ransome), bolshevist, gold-digger, square, nit and several now considered racist that didn't get past the censor. As for 'torpedo', it's only an insult to a child molester banged up in Dartmoor.