When there were no safe spaces to be gay, Polari allowed gay men to identify and communicate with each other, and to keep things secret from outsiders. Professor Paul Baker, author of the Polari dictionary and the new book Fabulosa! The Story of Polari, Britain’s Secret Gay Language, explains how Polari emerged from criminal cant and London’s theatres and docks to be used a code language for gay men in the oppressive 1950s - and then, not long after, it entered the slang lexicons of the general public, via popular sketch comedy and the mouth of an annoyed princess.
Find out more about this episode at theallusionist.org/polari.
The all new Allusionist live show, No Title, is touring in New Zealand and Australia. We’ve added extra shows in Christchurch and Melbourne, and will also be on in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin. Leg it to theallusionist.org/events to get tickets.
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