‘The little book of Slang, Sayings, Jargon and Humour’

‘The Little Book of Slang, Sayings, Jargon and Humour’ – just released.

CONTENTS OF THE BOOK: Introduction, Dedication, My ‘Mums’ Sayings, My ‘Dad’s Sayings, A bit more ‘Brum’ Slang, ‘Black Country’ West Midlands Slang, Coventry & Warwickshire Sayings, East Midlands Sayings, Other English Sayings, Some Bristol Phrases, Rhyming ‘Cockney’ Slang, Slang from Manchester, Merseyside Slang & Sayings, Yorkshire Sayings, Sayings from other UK Countries, Sayings/Slang from other Countries, UK Military Sayings, UK Police Forces Miscellaneous Sayings, British Transport Police Sayings, Post Office Investigation Branch Sayings Her Majesty’s Prisons Slang, Health Slang & Sayings, Sporting Sayings & Nicknames, Choir/Theatre Sayings, School Abbreviations, Money Sayings, Weather Slang, Toilet Slang, Acknowledgements/References, Other books published, A note from the authors

Introduction: The use of sayings, abbreviations, and slang is not unique to one culture, race, faith, place, or profession. Some of the words or phrases listed in this book have a serious intent and others are designed to be humorous or light-hearted. Most have evolved over time and some are enshrined in history. This little book is not designed to be an academic study of the origins of these phrases nor indeed a comprehensive dictionary in its own right rather it has been created to provide some light-hearted reading and hopefully to rekindle some positive memories of past experiences in life. We should not seek to judge the merits or otherwise of some of these sayings by the standards and expectations of today’s society. We learn from our history which provides the template from which others will learn to create their own history and to determine their own ethics and standards appropriate to that period. From our experience classifying phrases and sayings into specific categories or based on geographical locations always creates a forum for debate as to who ‘owns’ their origins. This becomes no more evident than when it comes to who ‘owns’ Birmingham and Black Country sayings, with vigorous debates and strong views on both sides of the arguments. Our answer is that in many cases we simply don’t know but what we do know is that as people migrate to different places for example for employment or a change in family circumstances, they take their language with them and it should therefore be no surprise that the same, or similar, phrases will be used in more than one location. We leave that debate to the experts! Clearly in more recent decades as transport and communication links have improved the potential for greater population movements have increased still further. Some may ask how the specific categories were arrived at in this book and the answer is relatively simple – for the most part they represent places, people, friends, family past and present, and colleagues that we know and therefore feel connected to. Many of them participated in providing material and had some fun along the way in doing so, whilst reminding us of the richness of the diverse nature of our connections. The categories are as such in many ways a personal reflection of who we are and our life experiences and, in that context, if another family were writing this book, we would expect the categories to be somewhat different. Language is an important part of our sense of identity and variations in terms of slang and sayings provide a unique insight into how we communicate with each other at different levels. In the UK alone it is estimated that there are at least fifty-six regional accents. As a born and bred ‘Brummie’ I have over the years learned to live with the ‘pain’ of people who have tried and usually failed to ‘mimic’ the voice of Jasper Carrot in a poor attempt at recreating a Birmingham accent. We ‘are what we are’ and thus I remain hugely proud of my ability to ‘talk through my nose!’ The challenges are the same the world over as communities grapple with local dialects, for example my wife and co-author Andry originates from Cyprus where they routinely speak the national language, which is Greek, mixed in with a blend of so-called ‘Cyprus Greek’ and ‘Cyprus Village Greek’. #slang#sayings#memorylane#jargon#humour Available on Amazon or from Brewin Books or please DM me direct for a signed copy. Huge thanks from Andry and I to all those who contributed to the book.

Preserving Policing History – a few thoughts on some of the BTP officers who feature in books

This extract comes from a blog I wrote in 2016. Since then I have gone on to write/co-write other books with a number of former colleagues from both the West Midlands Police and British Transport Police. This has included a number of historical crime fiction books such as ‘Keep Right On’ where BTP ‘characters’ have been created.

‘I retired from the British Transport Police in 2011 and whilst I had no intention of severing my links with the police service little did I realize at that point how close and fulfilling those relationships would continue to be.

   In 2013, somewhat by accident, I started writing and since then have been fortunate enough to have worked closely with a number of former colleagues, in both the British Transport Police, and West Midlands Police, which has resulted in a number of books being accepted for publication.

   In particular both the British Transport Police History Group, and the West Midlands Police Museum Group, have played a crucial role in supporting these ventures and I remain indebted to those individuals who make these two voluntary groups the vibrant bodies that they are today.

   ‘Hunting the Hooligans’ co-written with Robert Endeacott was published in August 2015 by MILO and tells the true story of Operation Red Card which I ran as a Detective Sergeant in 1987 to address the activities of Birmingham City’s notorious hooligan element known as the Zulu Warriors. They wreaked havoc over a number of years at football grounds, in city centres, and on the transport networks, and were one of the top hooligan ‘firms’ in the country in the 80s even standing their ground against some of the most violent groups based in London. In January 1987 they simply went too far however when an off-duty police officer had a broken glass pushed into his face, resulting in wounds which required thirty two stitches. Thus the operation was born.

   The Zulus often travelled in numbers by train to away games and were well-known to the British Transport Police. The book contains accounts from BTP officers who on a weekly basis put themselves in ‘harms-way’ to confront their violent activities

   One of the recollections in the book is from ‘James’ a BTP officer who worked as one of my undercover officers on the operation and who played an important role in gathering evidence which eventually led to the arrest of sixty seven people. ‘James’ was one of the ‘pathfinders’ for this type of activity and acted as a role model for others including ‘Steve’ another BTP officer who likewise worked as part of a West Midlands Police team on an operation called ‘Growth’ – Get Rid Of Wolverhampton Town Hooligans which followed soon after and was also hugely successful. The book also contains a recollection from ‘Steve’ who survived several ‘close shaves’ only to find himself being assaulted after giving evidence after the trial of one of those arrested.

   During Operation Red Card one of the other undercover officers was forced to witness the true nature of hooligan behaviour on one occasion when, whilst travelling on a train from Birmingham New Street to Witton, for a game between Aston Villa and Birmingham City he witnessed a Villa fan with learning difficulties covered in spit by opposition fans as he sat isolated and terrified in a coach. The undercover officer was powerless to intervene without the risk of blowing his cover.

   ‘Tracking the Hooligans’ was co-written with former BTP Assistant Chief Constable Alan Pacey and was published in January 2016 by Amberley. It details more than forty years of football violence on the UKs rail networks, London Underground, and on ferries when BTP still had jurisdiction. The activities of hooligan elements attached to nearly one hundred football clubs is covered with detailed comment from nearly fifty retired BTP officers who tell it ‘how it was’ particularly in the dark years of the 70s and 80s.

   In 1972 the then BTP Chief Constable Mr Gay commented “On an average Saturday some thirty trains carried police escorts of between two to eight officers. They sometimes reached their destination with their uniforms soiled with spittle, and other filth, burnt with cigarette ends, or slashed…” This is how it was, and often still is, for a very thin blue line of officers and the book is a testament to their routine bravery.

   Due to recent problems with football hooligans the current Chief Constable has made combatting the problem the forces second highest priority after terrorism.

   ‘Police Dog Heroes’ co-written with BTPHG stalwart Bill Rogerson MBE details the intriguing history of the British Transport Police Dog Section, the oldest in the country, from its inception in 1908 through to modern day policing, and will be published in May 2016 by Amberley. It is packed with recollections from retired BTP officers, many of them dog handlers, two of whom are now in their nineties. One of the most poignant is that of retired officer PC Dave Coleman who tells the remarkable story of his explosives search dog ‘Vinnie’ and their search of Russell Square Tube Station following the terrible events of the 7/7 terrorist attacks in 2005. ‘Vinnie’ was subsequently awarded a PDSA Gold medal for his actions which was presented at a special investiture ceremony by HRH Princess Alexandra. New accounts of public order incidents, including football violence, are recounted as are cases of tracking by dogs who simply would not give up. Whilst these were working dogs, they also in many cases became part of the officer’s families and their passing was mourned in the same manner.

   ‘Birmingham’s Front Line – True Police Stories’ details my account of life in the West Midlands Police CID in the 70s and 80s, predominantly working in Birmingham City Centre. It will be published in 2016 by Amberley and details crimes of violence, robbery, murder and public order during the ‘hey days’ of skinheads, mods, rockers and bikers – and of course football hooligans. It also provides an insight into the days of ‘cottaging’ and the activities of so called ‘rent boys’ offering sex and operating in and around New Street Station. Once again previously unpublished accounts are included by former BTP officers that clearly illustrate how local police and those working with a railway environment, in the main worked closely together.

   They say that within everyone there is at least one book and I would encourage anyone who has stories in their heads to make that step and to start writing. Whilst clearly it is extremely challenging it is also exciting, and hugely satisfying.’ #wmp #btp #police #history #football #dogs #hooligans #historical #crime #fiction #birmingham #westmidlands #lovetoread #buymorebooks #onefamily