Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Another Book, Trullibubs and Kallithumpian Bands




As I have been terribly lazy about updating the dear old Inky Fool, I think I should inform you all (if you're still there) that I have signed a contract with Penguin to write another book that will come out a little before Christmas this year.

But whereas before I've written about etymology for Christmas, words for Christmas, and rhetoric for Christmas; this time I'm writing about Christmas. For Christmas. A whole book upon the origins of Christmas traditions, rituals and Brussels sprouts (which first appeared in an English recipe book in 1845).

I've been reading A Dissertation on Mistletoe and The Department Store: A Social History and the original poem of Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and I currently know more about Santa Claus than can possibly be healthy.

In my researches I have come across a couple of lovely words. Trullibubs means entrails, but can also be a "jeering term for a fat man". And a kallithumpian band is one composed of a bunch of drunk people banging pots and pans and blowing whistles.

I also know, for absolute certain, that Coca Cola did not invent the modern Father Christmas with their advertising campaign in the 1930s.

December 12, 1923 - Click for high resolution image
This is from 1923, and it's an advertisement for White Rock ginger ale.


11 comments:

  1. Yay!

    Yes, I have been checking back from time to time in the heretofore vain hope that you had not forgotten your fans. Wishing you fleet typing fingers.

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  2. Ditto what Rodney's Saga said!

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  3. Yah, we're still here.

    I bought all three of your boxed set separately. Do you have any spare boxes?

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  4. Still here, still dog(berry)gedly checking your site every couple of weeks, convinced that one day you'll come back to us with regular posts again. Your unique style of updating our lexicons and etymologies is worth waiting for!

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  5. Your blog is a continuous enlightenment as well as great fun to read. Very glad that you are back and have another book to write.

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  6. I have just finishd reading 'The Elements of Eloquence', and enjoyed it very much (though I think I'd have to read it many more times before I remembered all the terms). but there is one anomaly; you are meticulous in citing authors of all works except "Have Some Madeira, M'Dear' in the chapter on Syllepsis. Is this a slight on Michael Flanders, or a printing error in the volume I read?

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  7. I remember angering my college room mate fiercely when I told her that our modern image of Santa had roots in the trickster image of the devil from the Middle Ages. His red suit, his little elves/demons, etc. all stem from those images. She said I ruined Christmas forever, but I found it fascinating.

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  9. Still here. I recommend Elements of Eloquence to anyone who mentions they wish they were better at writing. I vary my frequency of visits to your frequency of posting. So I have been popping by every three months or so. I am glad you are writing another book. Cheers from California.

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  10. Delighted to hear about the Christmas book for Christmas - very seasonal. Sounds like a promising stocking filler. Good luck with it

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