Thursday, December 29, 2005
Fags, Blags and Slags
My penchant for low-brow entertainment was given a treat over the past few days. While pre-Christmas browsing on Amazon, I located a double DVD containing both of The Sweeney movies for the bargain price of $14. So I settled down in front of the television with a nice single malt (well several, actually) and transported myself back 30 years to the era of flared trousers, kipper ties and autmotive icons like the Austin Princess (which makes the AMC Pacer look like a Rolls Royce). Now for those of you not resident in the UK or simply too young, The Sweeney was a wonderful TV cop series that really changed the shape of the genre. Its two lead characters "Regan" and "Carter" were played by the late great John Thaw and Dennis Waterman respectively (curious that the these characters' names were of American Presidents but as neither were elected before the start of the series this has to be a coincidence). The hallmark of this wildly popular programme as well as the two spin-out movies was a gritty realism that was carried by a gloriously pithy script by Troy Kennedy-Martin (yes he of the original Italian Job) -all fags, slags, blags and shags. For the time the violence, bad language and sexual content was quite shocking. American offerings of the period such as Starsky and Hutch couldn't come close. Unfortunately political correcteness has ensured that we'll never see the like of this material again. Oh, well...
Postscript. On re-reading this post I thought I'd add a glossary of some English slang words found in The Sweeney to aid comprehension by non-British readers. So from the Mad Dog Dictionary I offer the following definitions:
Fag = Cigarette.
Blag = Armed robbery.
Slag = Low class individual of either sex, likely to be a criminal.
Shag = Oh come on, you've all seen Austin Powers by now!