September 10, 2013

"Ally’s playing the guitar and I went ‘Who’s that pervert looking in the window?’ I got up, because I’m a bit blind, got to the window, telling him to sling the hook, with a few choice Scottish words..."

"... and at that moment I realised it was Bob Dylan.... I was so embarrassed, because then I had to phone Jake. I was like, ‘I’ve just told your dad to sling his hook.’ Which was really weird."
Later that night, Chrissie Hynde took [Sharleen] Spiteri to meet Dylan. “He’s talking away, never mentioning anything. And then he just turns to me and repeated what I said to him shouting through the window.” And despite what she says on camera, the phrase certainly wasn’t as innocuous as ‘sling your hook’. “I’ve never been so embarrassed in my whole life,“ admits Spiteri. Dylan, however, was apparently amused by the incident. “He’s got a dirty sense of humour,” according to Spiteri.
I had to look up "sling your hook" (even though we can see that "sling your hook" is not what was said, but a euphemism for it). More here:
It is a dockers phrase from the industrial revolution in the early 1800s in places like East London, Liverpool and Portsmouth. Much of the trade coming into these ports were in bales, especially bales of cotton and wool.... It was common practice for Dockers to have hooks in which they would impale the bales in order to make them easier to carry. Work was given out daily on an ad hoc basis depending on how many ships were in port and what cargo they were carrying. Queues of dockers would form, and when all the days jobs were allocated, the remaining dockers were told to 'Sling your Hook', or 'Sling yer 'ook', as in 'Throw away your hook or put it over your shoulder and leave, there's no work for you today.'

6 comments:

El Pollo Raylan said...

I never heard the expression, but it instantly reminded me of Cockney rhyming slang. The equivalent expression "Sling your Daniel" is murkier still: link. Someone suggested that "Daniel" is shortened "Daniel's Book."

Bob Ellison said...

El Pollo Raylan, interesting concept. It rings true.

I don't know much about the Cockney rhyming slang. I've heard it used and read about it a bit. Seems like an unusual language development, but what language developments are usual?

Wikipedia says "It remains a matter of speculation whether rhyming slang was a linguistic accident, a game, or a cryptolect developed intentionally to confuse non-locals."

Could it be instead primarily fired by a peculiarly English attempt to say baudy things with rhyming words in order to avoid fern books?

EDH said...

Told you Dylan creeps around in a hoodie looking like the Unibomber.

RiverRat said...

Bale hooks.

A very common tool all over America since way back. Alfalfa for winter feed. Wheat straw for barn floors?

Did anyone here actually grow up in America? Hell, you can buy them at Amazon...

http://www.amazon.com/A-M-Leonard-Hook-Hay-Bale/dp/B001FADJFM

tim in vermont said...

Just FYI, now whenever I hear Bob Dylan, Althouse comes to mind. Intertextualism, I guess.

eddie willers said...

Hell, you can buy them at Amazon...

Remember to use Ann's portal, y'all.