Sunday, 27 March 2016


Atlas Obscura has an interesting feature on the antiquated though not wholly forgotten and not wholly exclusive homosexual canting dialect called polari—from the Italian to chatter.
Camp as camp is, that’s one of the core vocabulary derived from polari (so too fruity), along flair for the theatric with ajax for near by, naff for drab and plain, troll, and zhoosh to smarten-up, it was once used as code for when the practise was considered illegal among polite company and was part of the steerage for men in the merchant-marines and waiters on cruise-lines. The parlance fell out of favour once it started to be parodied on a popular BBC production in the 1970s and became main-stream, as it were, but polari has seen a revival—with some endearing terms lasting all this time, with latter-day glam rock and specifically the final album from David Bowie.