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By Ashleylister @ashleylister
Nonsense is 'yang' to the 'yin' of sense, a playful antidote to an all-too-serious world, and a coded recognition that absurdity is (paradoxically perhaps) an ally in our attempts to make sense out of this mad, mad world; or serves at least as a suitable form of defence and self-assertion.
Others have blogged this week about the literary provenance of Nonsense, from the works of Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear up to modern heroes like Dr. Seuss and Roger Hargreaves. We love their writing because it is inventive, playful and frequently absurd, somewhat anarchic and cheerfully disrespectful of rule and reason. It holds enormous appeal for children and, I suspect, for the child that remains in all of us as we step up to the all-too-serious world.
I'm going to focus this post on the work of a man who not only mangled words, he created a whole new vocabulary of nonsense, a clever and curious way of speaking the Queen's English (or basic Engly as he called it) with which to bemuse and entertain us all - the inimitable 'Professor' Stanley Unwin.
The spark which ignited Unwin's lifetime love of  manglewordling came courtesy of his mother when Stanley was a youngster. As he recalled, she told him one day that she'd "falolloped over and grazed my kneeclabbers". His concern for her accident was outweighed by the delight he took in how she'd described it. So this was what you could do with language - morph it like playdoh in playful and humorous ways. It was when he had small children of his own that re-telling bedtime stories in Unwinese became both a passion and second nature. He developed the art to a level where he could talk pretty much on any subject in Unwinese, completely unscripted. What poured forth wasn't exactly nonsense but a mixture of straight words, malapropisms and neologisms and friends in the BBC, recognising the unique comic genius of what he was doing, soon put him on the radio doing it. He became a comic entertainer on the strength of this facility and records and TV followed in due course. If seen or heard him speak, you'll know immediately what I'm talking about. If you haven't, there a link below to his re-telling of the story of Goldilocks.


Stanley Unwin - King of Engly and honorary Small Face

He is forever immortalised in my ears for the role he played as the  'narrator' of the story of Happiness Stan on the Small Faces' classic 1968 album 'Ogden's Nut Gone Flake'.  He spent time with Marriott, Lane and company, listening to how they talked and then came up with his brilliant linking pieces between songs incorporating variations on many of the Faces' own idioms...
"Now, of course, like all real-life experiencestory, this also begins once apollytito, and Happiness Stan, who life evolved near ephemeral color dreamy most, had his pure existence, and this being the deep joy of the multicolour of the rainbold. Oh yes. Yes, homes of Victoriana charabold (this is a four-wheeled folloloft’t’t’t out of the backgrown). Now, as he done his deep approachy, his eye on the moon alltime, sometime, deep joy of a full moon scintilladen dangly in the heavenly bode, but, now only half. “Oh, blow your cool man!” he did this deep thorcus, “what is the folly of this half disappearing of the moony most?” And, as the lightdly scintilladen change through timely most, stop it still and he did a deep thorcus, what! Absolutely smashit and flakit he was. So, gathering all behind in the hintermost, he ploddy ploddy forward into the deep thundermold of the complygaden forey to sort nit this one out matey. “Where at man?” he thorcus, “where at man?”. Oh dear!" etc
Nonsense (or gobbledegook as many termed it) and yet not! Deep joy.
(No Poem As Yet...) Instead, listen as promised to the inimitable Stanley Unwin re-telling the story of Goldilocks in Unwinese (musical accompanied by Joe Pass). Hearing is believing: Goldiloppers
"Everything will be absurd in the end and if it's not absurd, then it's not yet the end." (Anon anon anon).
Thanks for reading etc, S ;-) Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to Facebook


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