“One big fellow box, ‘e got plenty black tooth, plenty white teeth belong ‘im, time master ‘e fight ‘im, fight ‘im, ‘e sing out, sing out!”
From “A Young Traveller in the South Seas” (Iremonger)
The above phrase is given by the author as the translation of the word “piano” into Pidgin English. And what a glorious way to name this object through language. I loved it when I read it and have remembered it ever since.
I am experiencing a similar thing when I watch the Downing Street Briefings. There is always a po-faced person on the left, gravely appraising our situation and then on the right there is what I would like to think of as the speaker of Pidgin English. Look at the expressive faces this smaller person pulls. He is mouthing what appear more to be obscenities than to be offering an exaggerated lip-reading synch to emphasise the speech for those who cannot hear the words of wisdom emanating from his larger friend. Look at the evocative hand gestures that accompany the face-pulling. He is using his whole body to communicate.
As a result of this, I find myself captivated by the visual drama of the diminutive character to the right, to the extent that I soon start to drift off and cease to listen to the person on the left at all.
If you could take Pidgin English and put it into visual form, then this would be it.
I wonder if anyone else has become obsessed by these rather small people who so often pop up on our TV screens and are much more interesting than the politicians and experts at the moment?