(This is me at a tender age before Anglophilia kicked in. . .)
I like to use unusual words, words from other cultures and places. One such word is “lig” -- a “lig” is an opportunity for free stuff, esp. drinks and food. I intended to write about the free stuff that I lucked into back when I was a broke rock writer, student and new wave musician, but come on, humor me while I take off on a tangent. . .
Truth be told, I’ve always been an anglophile -- and who wasn’t, growing up in the 1960’s with the whole “British Invasion” on the radio and TV? Movies, too: we loved the sound of the native tongue -- English -- as spoken by the limeys. Oh yeah. And even though the Beatles spoke with working class Liverpool accents, they sounded charming. The Rolling Stones and their lot came with a different accent, that of middle class London.
As a kid, I remember “Mary Poppins” and “My Fair Lady,” the movies and the albums, very fondly. So at an early age, I knew what “cockney” sounded like. Even those careless and rough accents had a very romantic aura. Professor Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle had such an interesting exchange, when it came to accent, class, and attraction. I didn’t know what a Pygmalion was, but it seemed kind of like what happens between a prisoner and her captor. . . that’s called the Stockholm Syndrome.
Well, why not a new syndrome where people who aspire to a new life -- away from their cloying past -- and change their accents, change their lives? Why not “The Douglaston Syndrome” whereby people do just that? (I grew up in Douglaston, NY -- nice ring to it, eh, kinda?)
When I moved out of Queens, NY, I vowed to not sound like a “Queenser,” so I watched the way I spoke, and altered my diction so people couldn’t place me so readily. And then, when I finally did move to England in 1981, I developed (not consciously) a sort of British accent. But that qualified as “Linda McCartney syndrome,” whereby an American woman, a yank, undergoes changed speech because of culture shock/immersion in the new, somewhat preferred, culture.
Anyway, wow, this was a freaky tangent! Let’s review just a few cool new words from the lexicon of Londoners:
Buck’s Fizz -- like a mimosa, but with more orange juice (2 parts OJ to 1 part champagne)
Skint -- broke, in need of dosh (dough, money).
Loo -- rest room.
Barnet -- hair (“Barnet fair = hair, Cockney rhyming slang)
Lig / ligger / Ligging -- opportunity for free stuff / opportunist who looks for free stuff / the act of getting that free stuff on a lig while being a ligger, ligging
Now that I’ve explained what it is, I’ll continue with an excerpt on rock writer ligging, next. And in the foreseeable future, I’ll write about living in England in ’81 - ’82. Another great survival job adventure, overseas -- and a great cure for Anglophilia, living amongst the English!