Posted by: Jack Henry | August 26, 2016

Editor’s Corner: Loose Kangaroos

Happy Friday!

Today I have another tidbit for you from the book I Never Knew There Was a Word for It, by Adam Jacot de Boinod. Today is about the Australian brand of English, from p.531.

Loose Kangaroos

Australians, in particular, specialize in scorn for the intellectually challenged. In the 1950s you could have been as mad (or silly) as a cut snake, a hatful of worms, or a Woolworth’s watch. More recently, in the 1980s [KC – Okay, this book was published nearly 10 years ago.], you might have been a couple of tinnies short of a slab or a few snags short of a barbie (where a tinnie is a beer can, a slab is a stack of cans, and a snag is a sausage). Then again, the real idiot or drongo couldn’t blow the froth off a glass of beer, knock the skin off a rice-pudding, pick a seat at the pictures, find a grand piano in a one-roomed house, or tell the time if the town-hall clock fell on them. Other memorable expressions of Antipodean* scorn include there’s a kangaroo loose in the top paddock and the wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead.

*The Antipodeans were a group of Australian modern artists who asserted the importance of figurative art, and protested against abstract expressionism. They staged a single exhibition in Melbourne during August 1959.

Kara Church

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