Friday, March 17, 2023

Read the text

Read the text on this one.  It's interesting.  I get a Wyngate and Bevins feel
from this, but I don't recall Jaybirding being part of their brand.



  1. Well, that was a new one on me. We have imported "jaywalking" from American English, which always seemed logical given how birds tend to walk, but "naked as a jaybird" and "jaybirding" I don't remember having come across before. I remember an aunt and uncle say that they had invited new neighbours, an American couple, to dinner one evening and all parties struggled to understand exactly what was being said, so much were American and British English idiomatically so different. That was in the early 1960s. This is far less so today, as American vocabulary has moved across the Atlantic, largely through cinema, television and increased communication. It's not a linguistic one way street, however. When Margaret Thatcher went up to Oxford University, she quickly lost her Lincolnshire accent and, in the words of theatrical director Jonathan Miller, her diction thereafter sounded like a "perfumed fart". (That didn't stop the KGB teaching its agents English by listening to her speeches!) She came to office at the same time as Ronald Reagan, born and raised in the rural backwater of Tampico, Illinois, and Australian Labor prime minister Bob Hawk, a former union boss in the docks. And yet, their accents gravitated toward the British Received Pronunciation to the point that they were all immediately comprehensible to each others' populace and the entire world. Thank heavens we didn't have to see them naked. (BTW, the American couple, he posing as a corporate executive, turned out to be in the CIA. Uncle Stanley had a habit of plonking foreign agents next to relatives in this way, so "the family" could keep a quiet eye on them...)

    1. I think the term "jaybirding" was invented by the owners of Jaybird Journal to describe their particular brand of freewheeling nudism. Like any number of invented terms, it moved into the idiomatic lexicon to a certain extent. "Naked as a jaybird" was and is far more common.

      I had an astute political science professor friend (now sadly deceased) who said that Thatcher and Reagan both were both unfortunate necessities to correct some excesses. He quickly added that both lingered in power long after they had ceased to be useful.

  2. I heard of going naked as "jaybirding" a long time ago. Going naked as a jaybird...