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Wrong use of rhyming slang?

#1
I recently read a book by Dean Koontz called “The Key to Midnight" in which the hero, Alex Hunter, and his Doris meet in London with a contact man from the baddies (pp 320/321).
He sidles up to them in the Tate Gallery and this little conversation went down.

“The stranger squinted at Alex and then at Joanna. ‘Yer butchers like yer pitchers. Both of yer’.
Alex translated: You look like your pictures. Both of you.
The word ‘butchers’ meant ‘look’ by virtue of Cockney rhyming slang. A butcher’s hook rhymed with look; therefore by the logic of the code, 'butchers’ meant ‘look’ when used in the proper context.
‘And yer butchers bent ter me,’ Alex said 'Wot yer want?’ And you look a little less than honest to me. What do you want?
The stranger blinked, astonished to hear an American speaking the East End dialect with such confidence.”

The thing is that, although many words of rhyming slang are used in everyday conversation, I've never heard “butcher’s hook” used as a verb. I’m certainly no expert on rhyming slang, so I thought I’d ask here for confirmation one way or the other, since I contend that what the contact man actually says wouldn’t be understood even by somebody familiar with the jargon.
 
#6
OLDBIGHEAD said:
Fcukin'ell mate, its really got to you hasnt it? :lol:
You're so right, mucker. I really am a sad fücker, ain't I?

The thing is that I work with languages for a living and stuff like this sort of keeps coming up in my mind until I've found the answer.

I particularly liked the little passage in the book about a Septic speaking the lingo with such confidence.

MsG
 
#7
Bugsy said:
OLDBIGHEAD said:
Fcukin'ell mate, its really got to you hasnt it? :lol:
You're so right, mucker. I really am a sad fücker, ain't I?

The thing is that I work with languages for a living and stuff like this sort of keeps coming up in my mind until I've found the answer.

I particularly liked the little passage in the book about a Septic speaking the lingo with such confidence.

MsG
What like Dick Van Dyke
 
#8
Working in Lebanon we had contracted to us a Mine Detection Dog (MDD) section. One of the handlers was a jock lad and we spent the evening teaching him rhyming slang which he never quite got the idea. One evening in a cafe run by a Leb who had spent a number of years in London he was asked if he wanted boiled potatoes or chips with his fish. He sparked up with (in Jockney) "Cor blimey, I'll 'ave it wiv Thrupenny bits Guvnor". Took all night for the tears to stop!

He then took to making up his own slang and would come out with things like "Let's go doon the smokey troosers" which we eventually worked out to let's go down to the boozers :D
 
#9
McNabb is a bit of a literary clown too. Nothing to do with rhyming slang - but in one of his recent books he constantly mentions a structure called a bung that has to be destroyed.

He means bund. As in the protective bund surrounding a fuel storage tank....... but I can't be bothered to email him about it.
 
#10
I must admit that rhyming slang sometimes comes in very handy on Septic sites when you can write: "stop being such a grumble and grunt, mucker", and it goes through the filter.

But does anybody know if "butcher's hook" can be used in the context that Koontz described?

MsG
 
#11
Havent got a clue about butchers hooks but,as you say, it is real handy. If I need a piss in a 'battle cruiser' I often ask the foreign bar staff if i can 'borrow the rag and bone for a quick jimmy riddle' or tell a girl shes got a stinking 'jack and danny'. I live in the east end and unfortunately the London accent is turning into some sort of chavvy whiny jamaican shit.
 
#13
I met a "Cockney" for the first time in 1964 at Arborfield - he educated us all about Titfers and so on - the best one was the origin of Berk - as in "He's a right Berk". Seems that in the day, they (Cockneys) referred to the Ruperts as Berkshire Hunts, shortened inevitably to Berks.

I've only ever heard Butchers as in Take a (look = butcher's hook).
 
#15
Bugsy said:
The thing is that, although many words of rhyming slang are used in everyday conversation, I've never heard “butcher’s hook” used as a verb. I’m certainly no expert on rhyming slang, so I thought I’d ask here for confirmation one way or the other, since I contend that what the contact man actually says wouldn’t be understood even by somebody familiar with the jargon.
It's utter bolleaux, but I don't think that there's a rhyming slang grammar.
And they didn't say 'apples and pears', 'frog and toad', 'skin & blister' etc, but apples, frog, skin, whistle, etc.

The reality is that the last Cockneys scattered when the London docks closed and East End villains now speak Bengali or Russian or summat. The last time anyone used it regularly, the Tate Modern was still a power station. It's probably intended for the American market, so they'll never know and will be suitable gratified to think their American hero is fluent in cockney. We'll know that he sounds like a cnut. I can't wait for the movie.
 
#16
I say this Koontz fellow sounds like a literary raspberry ripple !

Pipe and Book = Look !

Butchers hook became popular during the TV series minder circa 1979 and was never used before this (prep'd for incoming !)

Good old Arfah Daley !
 
#17
Bugsy said:
[I particularly liked the little passage in the book about a Septic speaking the lingo with such confidence.

MsG
Not the only American author to get it wrong - A line in a Tom Clancy about a british car "with government plates" and a couple of similar howlers made me put the book down, never finished it.
 
#18
arfah said:
Butchers hook became popular during the TV series minder circa 1979 and was never used before this (prep'd for incoming !)

Good old Arfah Daley !
That has to be wrong. I recall my parent's saying things like "take a butcher's" when I was a kid (i.e. pre 1965?)...... I was born in 1954. I recall being aware it meant "look", but didn't understand that it was short for "butcher's hook" until I was older.
 
#20
bovvy said:
arfah said:
Butchers hook became popular during the TV series minder circa 1979 and was never used before this (prep'd for incoming !)

Good old Arfah Daley !
That has to be wrong. I recall my parent's saying things like "take a butcher's" when I was a kid (i.e. pre 1965?)...... I was born in 1954. I recall being aware it meant "look", but didn't understand that it was short for "butcher's hook" until I was older.
I believe you're right there, Bovvy. My Da (and his muckers) used to use it all the time and he says he (they) picked it up in the "Bridsch Aamee". He served in the RAOC from 1939 to 1949, so that would well predate this "Minder" series (which I've never actually seen).

MsG
 

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