Rose's Fruit Squashes - Translating British.

Technically, Americans and The British speak the same language, but the dialects are miles apart. This is made plain by this 1952 ad for Rose's Fruit Squashes, which appeared in Picture Post (like LIFE magazine, but English). There's a lot to unpack in here, so let's translate some British to American.

Fruit Squashes - For one thing, there's the description of the product. Presumably, fruit "squash" is juice, right?

Good wicket - "Wicket" is a word that comprises about 75% of Cricket terminology (Cricket being the national sport of England, and massively popular throughout India, thanks to the propagation of the East India Company in the Nineteenth century.

Primarily, the "wicket" is the little assembly of wooden sticks that stand just behind the batsman. In effect, it serves as the strike zone in American baseball. The "bowler" has to knock down the wicket with the ball, while the batsman tries to hit the ball. The parts of the wicket are the three vertical "stumps" and the smaller "bails" that bridge across the tops of the stumps. It looks a little stonehengey.

Also, the pitch (field) upon which Cricket is played is called "the wicket".

Also also, "losing a wicket" refers to a batsman being dismissed by the bowler.

Shew! So, the ad having the title "Good wicket" might be interpreted as "nice play" or "nice hit".

"Bags I don't fetch the ball"https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/bags

bags: children's slang , British and Australian
an indication of the desire to do, be, or have something
So, obliquely, the boy really doesn't want to go next door and get the ball... I think, since "Bags I don't fetch the ball" seems to imply he really wants to not get the ball. Something scary is next door.

"That man next door's got a long red beard and a black hat. Looks like an ogre." "No, idiot, he's a famaous artist. He draws pictures of ladies with one eye and three legs." -  From the description of the artist's work, they should be describing Picasso. He did stay at a farmhouse in Sussex in 1950, which at the time was the home of his painter friend Roland Penrose.

Self-Portrait with Uncombed Hair, by Pablo Picasso.

However, the part about the red beard and black hat sounds exactly like Vincent Van Gogh (which, for some reason, is pronounced "Van Goth" by every British person). A quick Google search shows that Picasso had brown-to-black hair. He wasn't a ginger.

Van Gogh. Red beard. Check. Long? Meh, not really. Black hat? I'm sure he had a black hat somewhere. Most people do.

However, the description of the painting style ("ladies with one eye and three legs"), sounds like Picasso. Van Gogh's style was a little more traditional than Picasso's.

Portraits by Van Gogh.

Portrait of Woman, by Pablo Picasso.
So, the question of which artist is the scary dude next door is a bit confused. Safe to say that traditional English society wasn't sure what to make of "the new painting style", which, at the time, had only been around for about a hundred years. They could be forgiven for confusing one scary painter for the other.

"Soppy, I call it."http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/soppy  Being overly emotional or sentimental. No surprise that a couple of kids would see any painting of a lady as "soppy".

"It's a cert." - http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/cert UK, informal. "Certain" or "certainly". Duh.

"But if he shows you his pictures, just say 'very interesting', like father does". - Oh, hah hah hah hah. Conservative English culture was freaked out by modernist painters. If only they had something more important to think about at the time, like finishing the rebuilding of London.


Anonymous said...

Er, I'm afraid I don't quite follow you, Squadron Leader...

Mr. FancyDon'tUnderstandYourBanterPants_2 (Mrs.), Retired

[lrf] said...

Children should be wary if the creepy "artist" next door wants to show them some pictures. And for God's sake, don't drink his squash.

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

Well done, Algae.


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