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In the 2nd episode of the 3rd season of Would I Lie To You?, a fragment is shown from a 1985 episode of London Weekend Television's The Six O'Clock Show, with someone purporting to be a former Teddy Boy saying the following:

"1955, Saturday night, off to Tottenham Royal. So it was crash, bash, sausage an' mash, two kip[per]s and a bonbon, little dab will do you. Really so, on the Barnet. And the combination was Old Spice on the German, little bit of Old Spice, tiddly-winky-woo, with the Brylcreem, bee's knees."

It's at the 6:33 mark.

Since they talk about a Cockney Bible afterwards, I assume this to be Cockney. And a rather contrived bit at that. And while I think I'm getting the general drift of what he's saying, I'm sorry I haven't a clue what he's actually saying.

From what I gather, in preparation to go out to the Mecca Dance Hall in Tottenham on a Saturday night, he ate (sausage and mashed potatoes), then put on some Brylcreem (of which "a little dab will do you" was the advertising slogan) on the sides of his hair and Old Spice on his face, after which he fancied he looked good. But I'm probably missing half of it.

What is he saying?


A comment pointed me to another question about the same fragment, that focused on a couple of phrases from that monologue. I'm interested in the meaning of the entire bit. For instance, "on the German" is not explained there.

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    I believe 'Barnet' is Cockney rhyming slang for 'hair' (Barnet Fair). After those preparations he looked the bee's knees Jul 18 '21 at 14:00
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    True Cockney rhyming slang, like Glaswegian (Glasgow) rhyming slang, is a code that one either knows or one doesn't, the whole intention being to drop the actual rhyme and to quote the non-rhyming part as a 'code'. 'Apples and pears' refers to stairs but I then drop the 'pears' and I 'go up the apples'. In both London and Glasgow the criminal fraternity used rhyming slang to speak of matters they did not wish to disclose. My now deceased mother was born within the sound of 'Bow Bells' St Mary le Bow and we lived together in Glasgow in the 1960s.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 18 '21 at 15:38
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    Also, I'm thinking, could he be describing his hairdo with the "two kips and a bonbon"? Or perhaps even the entire phrase? Because he goes straight into the "little dab will do you" from there.
    – SQB
    Jul 18 '21 at 21:20
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    @NigelJ Can you give me an example of Glaswegian rhyming slang? I have lived here for forty years and never heard of it. My contact with the criminal fraternity is limited to Taggart, but…
    – David
    Jul 20 '21 at 20:53
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    @David Andy Murray - curry ; Corned beef - deif (deaf) ; Alan Rough - guff (awful/ terrible) ; Alan Wells - smells ; Potted heid - deid (dead) ; Arthur's Seat - feet ; Auld Reekie - freaky ; Berwick-upon-Tweed - heid (head) ;
    – Nigel J
    Jul 20 '21 at 21:30
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+200

So this is a 1985 send-up of 1950s British Teddy boys' (≈greasers') personal hygiene as part of a general bit on Brylcreem, although it doesn't seem like that whole episode of the Six O'Clock Show has been uploaded anywhere to allow the full context.

1955, Saturday night, off to Tottenham Royal.

An old live music venue and dance hall that was playing rock and roll in the '50s and '60s, best known for hosting the Dave Clark Five later on.

So it was crash, bash, sausage an' mash, two kip[per]s and a bonbon,

This bit is the messy part. Sure, it could theoretically be a hastily-slapped-together dinner of fish, potatoes, sausage, and chocolate. More likely, it would be about slipping in references to pissing (via slash) and/or amorous strippers past the censors. Still more likely, though, it's going through the exact same routine he's about to describe in nonsense mockney. At the same time he's saying these words (which appear in actual rhyming slang for entirely separate ideas), he's miming washing or scenting his hands and then applying a spot of pommade to his hair.

little dab will do you.

Tagline for '50s Brylcreem ads.

Really so, on the Barnet.

Hair.

And the combination was Old Spice

At the time, still a cologne rather than an aftershave, deodorant, body wash, or whatever else they have out now.

on the German,

Hand(s).

little bit of Old Spice, tiddley-winkie-woo,

A period version of "Skinnamarink". Recorded in 1950 by Guy Lombardo and Sammy Kaye but seems to have also been a postwar standard at Brighton. Could be standing in for "How do you do?" as he's patting his cheeks and looking in the mirror or just a verbal flourish like ta-da or o la la.

with the Brylcreem, bee's knees."

Great stuff.

The most likely version of what he's saying is (ooc) that he's a posh twit mocking '50s working class young men and (ic) that a splash of American cologne on the wrists and cheeks and a touch of British pommade in your hair was just the thing to have a good Saturday night on the town.

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  • There are various other compilations of Cockney rhyming slang online. Here's another from Rice University that I didn't use in my answer. All such sources, though, will either be accurate but limited or expansive but inclusive of one-offs and minor variants without much guidance. (Many leave out the racial slurs, too, even though they were/are common in daily use.) You're probably best off sticking with the crowdsourced one even though its internal search is a bit nonexistent.
    – lly
    Jul 24 '21 at 9:12
  • Re: the mockney in the first go-through, if you really wanted it to mean something, it could be approximating something like splish-splash, done in a flash, two [dabs on the] face (via Mari-Lou A's Italian source here) and [up in the] hair (via bonney fair) some Brylcreem. None of that is standard, though, and it's more likely he was just using common terms randomly (kippers = slippers) through this part of the routine.
    – lly
    Jul 24 '21 at 9:29
  • Excellent! Thank you very much. Could I persuade you to incorporate your two comments in the answer as extra information?
    – SQB
    Jul 24 '21 at 11:32
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So, from the other question about this fragment and some helpful comments with unsourced but plausible explanations, I think it is as follows:

"1955, Saturday night, off to Tottenham Royal."

As mentioned in the question, this was the name for the Mecca Dance Hall in Tottenham at the time.

"So it was: crash, bash, sausage an' mash, two kips and a bonbon,"

According to the accepted answer on the other question, this means crash, bang, wallop or "after a short (often unexpected) period of tumult". Which means I was wrong about him eating.

"[...] little dab will do you."

The advertising slogan for Brylcreem, as noted.

"Really so, on the Barnet."

Barnet -> Barnet Fair -> hair So a bit of Cockney rhyming slang, meaning hair. Thanks to Kate Bunting.

"And the combination was, Old Spice, on the German,"

Another bit of rhyming slang: German -> German bands -> hands, with thanks to KillingTime. Old Spice being a brand of after shave.

"[...] little bit of Old Spice, tiddly-winky-woo,"

Again according to the accepted answer, "like so" or "ta-dah!"

"[...] with the Brylcreem, bee's knees."

Really, the cat's meow.

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    Which means I was wrong about him eating. - I don't think you were. I think "crash, bash" is referring to the hasty preparation of a quick meal (imagine the clatter of pots and pans) prior to dressing to go out. The meal being "sausage an' mash, two kips and a bonbon" - sausage and mash, two kippers and a dessert (bonbon -> sweet -> dessert). Jul 18 '21 at 14:53
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    I can't imagine anyone eating sausages and kippers at the same meal! Jul 18 '21 at 15:06
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    @KateBunting Possibly not in the real world but I can imagine this was for comic effect. That said, this is set in 1950s Britain where food rationing only ended the year before. Wartime shortages did lead to some odd food combinations hitting the table. Jul 18 '21 at 15:19
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    Are you sure that "crash, bash, sausage and mash" isn't a semi meaningless piece of rhyme, a bit like "bish, bash, bosh" and doesn't have anything to do with eating "bangers and mash" at all. I tend to think that sausage and mash doesn't isn't a quick meal to prepare and that eastenders tend to call sausages 'bangers' anyway (think of the music hall song "give us a bash of the bangers and mash me muvver used to make".
    – BoldBen
    Jul 18 '21 at 19:38
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    The point I'm trying to make is that the guy is recognisably (by accent) not a Cockney. He is mocking, caricaturing, or 'sending up' Cockneys by saying a stream of Cockney-sounding nonsense, Jul 18 '21 at 21:05

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