More rhyming slang came my way this week, and it was interesting for several reasons.
Two different friends used it casually in conversation:
Marie: "I’ll be there on Saturday. It’ll give me a chance to have a butcher’s at the hundreds of photos of Su’s 40th."
Butcher’s = Butcher’s hook = look
Charlotte: "You should wear your whistle."
Whistle = Whistle and toot = suit
The other one is a film poster than I see on my way to work:
It’s all gone Pete Tong
Pete Tong = wrong
The fact that people in their thirties who were born in Dorset and Manchester use so easily this London-born form of slang illustrates how widespread it is. Second, it shows that it is alive and kicking, as the film title above proves: Pete Tong gained fame in the 80s, so it shows that this form of slang is still being enriched. Other examples that rhyming slang continues to evolve to suit its times are:
Big mac = getting the sack (80s)
Shovels and spades = AIDS (80s)
Britneys = beers (90s)
Brad = excrement (90s)
Kryptonite = Website (2000s)
I doubt the main driver for these new terms is still the Bow population; cockney rhyming slang has been so readily adopted by the whole of the UK that, although it is near impossible to trace back the geographical origin of a new term, I wouldn’t be taking too much of a risk by saying that it could be anywhere.