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Fantabulosa: Dictionary of Polari and Gay Slang
by Paul Baker
Polari has been the secret language of gay men and women throughout the twentieth century. But more than a language, Polari is an attitude. From the prisons and music halls of Edwardian England to Kenneth Williams, American GIs in London, and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Polari has been used to laugh, bitch, gossip, and cruise. Like all slang, Polari is an ...more
Paperback, 242 pages
Published by Continuum Books
(first published December 2002)
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I heard about Polari while watching a programme about Kenneth Williams and it fascinated me that a secret language was used to talk about homosexuality on the radio. Over the years some of these words have become mainstream. One of my favourite words was “Naff”. If you ever need lots of synonyms for penis then this book will prove exceedingly useful. I read a lot of books about words and this is one of the best, funny and with just the right level of detail.
The more "pop" of Paul Baker's two books on Polari (I haven't checked out the other one.) Interesting view of British gay slang. See also the audio recordings of the radio show "Round the Horne" which both popularized Polari and killed it through allowing everyone to understand it.