Author Archives: Eddus

Polari for Beginners: Unit 1 ‘ello Duckie

Unit 1: ‘ello duckie 


‘ello duckie and welcome to Polari for Beginners, a short little bite sized podcast where I teach you how to speak Polari. I’m eddus your host and your local omi palone 


By the end of this unit you will be able to say hello, goodbye and ask people you meet how they are doing. Before we start a quick note about Polari itself. The word Polari comes from the Italian to speak. Polari is a language that grew up in the LGBTQ community in London in the twentieth century with influences from the various languages spoken in London, such as Italian, french, yiddish, and gaelic. Cockney rhyming slang and backslang were also huge influences on the language. Having a common language meant that LGBTQ folks could speak to each other in a secret and protected way without raising suspicions about their behaviour to the wider society. Expressions of queer behaviour in public were illegal for most of the 20th century hence the need for a private, safe space to which to communicate.  


Now enough of that my luvvies, let’s get on with it! 


Repeat after me: ‘Ello Duckie 


Here Duckie is a term of endearment, but can be used for anybody you meet who seems friendly and is perhaps so or a fellow fruit (more on those words later)


You can also say: Coo Eee which one says when you meet someone unexpectedly or you’re just popping around to someone’s house for a quick chin wag or a lovely cackle


Now for a full sentence, repeat after me: 

‘ello duckie, it’s loverly to vada yer eek.  Literally translated this means, Hello there my friend, it’s lovely to see you. In this sentence vada means to see, a loan word from Italian. Eek is a shortened version of ecaf which is an example of backslang, where a word is spoken backwards, this word being of course face. Notice how you leave off the aitch in hello, you add another syllable into the word lovely “loverly”. You say yer instead of your. Remember to keep your words loose and flowing, it’s a tonal and musical language. Let it flow, duckie.     


So you meet a fellow omi on the street and say, ‘ello duckie or even coo ee. What you do you say next? Either a simple, u alright darling? or having a bona day of it darling? or for close friends, hey bitch, or alright, you slag? Bona is one of those words you’ll hear a lot in your adventures in polari. It means good, and it’s another word we get from Italian. It also fulfills one of the other important aspect polari, the potential for double entendre. Bona sounds like the word boner, which as I’m sure you can all agree is hilarious. Spread your bona all around as much as you can. Share it with cherished friends and loved ones. Remember the bona deep within you. Look for that bona in each and every da.  when you wake up each morning praise that bona right there in front of you grasp it by the hand.    


So after you’ve had a quick cackle with your omis on the street, she’s got to get off for an appointment or you have to run for the bus, how do you say goodbye? 


Ta’ra duckie repeat after me Ta’ra duckie 

other ways you can say goodbye are Fare Well or even a grand Arrivederci for those you may not see for a while. Arrivederci is another Italian loan word, but remember you don’t need to put on an Italian accent to say it. 


So what words have we learned today? 


‘ello or coo ee for hello or hi 

Duckie for darling or my friend 

Vada means to see 

Eek means face 

Bona means good

Ta’ra or Arrivederci for good bye   


So now I must say ta’ra to you my duckie. I hope you’ve enjoyed Unit 1 of Polari for Beginners. I’m eddus your local omi palone. You can find me at eddus on twitter or on my website   


Thank you for listening to this podcast.  If you’re looking for more resources about polari, I recommend going to youtube and listening to the Julian and Sandy sketches which were performed by Hugh Paddick and Kenneth Williams, these sketches are an amazing way to hear the musicality and beauty of the language. As always this podcast is dedicated to the patron saint of polari, Kenneth Williams. Thank you so much for listening and I look forward to taking you through unit two very soon, my omi palones, ta ra!

Poem: George


Last night I dreamt of Club Tropicana again.
The pool house with inflatable donuts on the heated water,
at the end of his garden in Highgate,
with a view across Hampstead Heath.

He’d wake late, smoke a joint, record demos.
He loved throwing his acrobatic voice
around the basement studio.
After lunch he’d look for men online.

He’d bought the bed especially, it fit three of us, sometimes four.
Afterwards we’d sit by the pool and he’d ask what we were up to.
He knew what normal life was, about charity shops
and running out of data. He’d flown Easyjet.

It was hard to know him as you had before.
Seeing the vaseline lensed camp of Last Christmas
knowing how fully you’d kissed his lips,
how you’d held his body with your body.



The poem originally appeared in my pamphlet, The Living Museum, published by Selcouth Station Press. Available here!


Call for Submissions! IRONIC: Writing about the 90s


IRONIC: Writing about the 90s

Please submit your poems, short fiction, short non-fiction, and short essays about the 90s for this new anthology! I’m also really interested in publishing any 90s recipes you’ve written or that have been passed down to you from family members that have a 90s flavour to them.

In 1995 Alanis Morrisette released her era-defining album Jagged Little Pill. Her third single Ironic became a mega worldwide hit when it was released in February 1996. The song and it’s video were inescapable, hitting at the same time that MTV came to define this strange new era. Looking back on the 90s, it’s an era when home computers and brick-sized mobile phones were creeping into our daily lives and the idea of the internet was starting to take hold. It was an era when Girl Power was a presiding ideology and the sophisticated sarcastic humour of American TV shows like The Simpsons, Friends, and Seinfield infused their quippy lines into our everyday language. Looking back it feels like everything was starting to get complicated, everything was starting to have it’s own slippery double meaning, like Alanis’s song and her much debated use of the term “Ironic”.  

Please submit your work on the 90s for this new anthology from House of Eddus! Submit pieces that document, capture, question, and celebrate this complex decade. Give me everything you’ve got! Whether you were there the first time, don’t remember it or weren’t even born yet, I want to know what the 90s mean to you. I am so excited to read your submissions! 


Poems: Please send up to 6 

Short Fiction/Non-Fiction, Essays: Please send up to 3 pieces. Each piece must be a maximum of 1,300 words.  

Recipes: Please send up to 3 original or family recipes. If passed down from within your family, please let me know the name of your family member for correct attribution.   


  • Email submissions within the body of the email to  
  • Please also include a brief biography in the email, including how old you were in 1995 (I was ten).
  • Simultaneous submissions are fine, just let us know if they get snapped up before we get to them.
  • House of Eddus will always reserve space for voices from the LGBTQ+ Community, voices from BAME communities and voices from working class and other under-represented backgrounds.
  • SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 23:59 on 30th September 2019


Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think? 

Much Love, 



Edditor, House of Eddus   

WERK: Poems for Drag Race


Welcome to the WERK ROOM

Werk: Poems for Drag Race

Calling all Queens!! Pageant Queens, Comedy Queens, Messy Queens, and Manly Queens!

I want your poems inspired by the world of Rupaul’s Drag Race for a new anthology! Whether it is a sonnet to your favourite winner, an ode to the pit crew, or a free verse exploration of time and space in the style of Ms Laganja Estranga. Form doesn’t matter, just make it werk.

Poems must be original and unpublished in print or online. Simultaneous submissions are fine, just email again if they get snapped up before I get to them.    

I setting up a very very very small new press called House of Eddus. This anthology will be my first project, but I am brimming with ideas for future anthologies. I aim to donate a proportion of the profits from this anthology to LGBTQ charities.  

My aim for this anthology is to showcase the incredible talent that is out there in the poetry world, as well as paying homage to the beautiful world of Drag Race, and earning some much needed funds for LGBTQ Charities.

I’ll also be looking to commission an illustrator to create an arresting and beautiful cover for our anthology, so please contact me if you’d like to do that. This will be a PAID GIG.

Please send me a maximum of three poems to: 

Poems in the body of an email or as Word or PDF attachment. Please also include a short biography and the name of your favourite queen!

Deadline for submissions is 31st August 2019 


Everybody Say Love,

Ed Garvey-Long,

House of Eddus


P.S. Miss VANJIE   

Poem: Me and Kenneth Williams

Me and Kenneth Williams

We met over suds in the Russell Square laundrette.

Afternoons, we lie together on his single bed
slacks, socks, shirts and v-neck sweaters on.
Watching or not watching each other’s closeness.
The national anthem plays on the television.

The Beeb keeps us in taxis and sensible shoes.
I feel favourite for now, I’ve been given the spare door key
but also a list of times it’s O.K. for me to pop by.

I speak affected, I’ve hoovered up the language of Ken,
my PhD supervisors would prefer a spoken English
typewritten, clear with square-edged vowels.

Mother claims not to understand in our weekly calls.
Ken insists I use his ‘phone in the hallway
but I tell her I am in the booth on Coram Street.

He sings again on a chat show,
his Edith Piaf send up Ma Crepe Suzette
in amongst the jokes the code I listen for:

Corsage, Massage, Frere Jacques
Salon, Par Avion, Petula Clarke
Fiancee, ensemble, laundrette
Entourage, ma crepe suzette.



The poem originally appeared in my pamphlet, The Living Museum, published by Selcouth Station Press. Available here!

REVIEW: The Europeans – David Clarke & Shrines of Upper Austria – Phoebe Power


No doubt the poets of the future will look back on the era we currently suffer through and wonder how any of us wrote any poems at all, let alone ones about politics. The ongoing and ever-evolving horrors of Brexit have infused themselves into our lives almost completely and I would find it impossible to write about a subject so contentious, difficult, and evolving every day. These two poets have written interesting, intriguing and passionate books with Europe as their central theme, in these books we travel out towards dark Austrian lakes and back again to dodgy and dingy British pubs in the rain.


“And yet we cannot fault the service
in the Hotel Europa.”

The Europeans – David Clarke

Published by Nine Arches Press {Link}

“The Europeans
had much to say of poetry and much silence to say it into.

I became convinced they knew something
they would not tell me, but I did not dare
to ask the veterans on the parched square”

 – The Europeans

David Clarke’s second collection probes the politics of English and European identity from a variety of angles. The collection explores these ideas from a particularly working class “non-metropolian” perspective which at times views the continent with suspicion and exoticism.

Travel is a major concern in the collection, and Europe itself is often seen as a hotel, in the opening poem:

“And yet we cannot fault the service
in the Hotel Europa. Even though it’s just after
or before a war and long-retired
waiters have been pressed back into the ranks

of the white gloved.”

– An Invitation

In this poem we see the community of the European Union as a Hotel, something European Nationals buy into like a service, which works as efficiently as it can, built as it was in the chaos of Post-World War Two Europe. This poem enjoyably captures a relaxed and intriguing continental atmosphere. Clarke is adept at turning phrases and bringing surprise into the poems.

In the poem “The Europeans” quoted at the beginning of this section, Clarke explores the idea of Europe as the standard bearer for culture, placing isolationist Englishness as a counterpoint to this. The idea of Europe as a cultured and free place is explored against the constrained and uncultured Englishness that the poet experiences in their daily life.

The pub is a symbol of Englishness that the poet keeps returning to, “In the Snug” takes on Far Right attitudes, and, seemingly, Nigel Farage:

“Little man, you are my grinning birthright,
frog-faced in your better bookie’s coat.
You lean against the ale-damp bar of England

and stroke the giggling landlady’s chubby hand,
Cooing words that stick in bigot’s throats.”

-In the Snug

If the Hotel is the poet’s metaphor for the European community, efficient, interesting and liberal, the Pub is poet’s metaphor for Englishness, isolated, bigoted, intoxicated and divorced from reality. Alongside Pubs, the rain is a consistent theme and an easy shorthand for a lot of English experience. It’s not all bad though, in one of the closing poems of the collection “Land of Rain” Clarke explores a nostalgic view of rain and a desire to return to those earlier memories, even if they were rainy.

The poems in this collection have a confidence that one would expect from a second collection. I enjoyed the questions it was asking of the reader and it was commendable that the poet decided to explore these big ideas, however in exploring this big ideas and the anger surrounding them, I felt the poems themselves lacked an emotional engagement, outside of the anger that runs through the collection. There were a handful of personal moments, but overall the book was about exploring these large questions about Englishness and Europeanness, ultimately though enjoyable, I feel the collection could have done more to explore the poet’s personal connection with the subject matter.

* * *


“if you wanted you could stay / till the flame burned down.”

Shrines of Upper Austria – Phoebe Power

Published by Carcanet {Link}

“There’s a Schloss in the town
I’m living in, named for
my constituency

‘Cumberland, a lake-rich
county of England’,
where I vote by proxy”

-In and Out of Europe

In Phoebe Power’s debut collection, which won the Forward Prize for best first collection, and was also nominated for the T.S. Eliot Prize, there are an incredible array of poetry on display. We see and hear the Austria of today through a poet travelling through the region, the Austria and the Britain of the past through the voice of a grandmother who married a British soldier after the Second World War. The collection also brings in themes of climate change as a contemporary concern and the deep cultural connections between the UK and Austria, through similarities in language and the Schloss Cumberland which is mentioned twice in the collection:

“it’s a fake fairy castle
like disney logo

there’s one bit that’s old
curly locks on the door
white roses im Garten

goats who spoke to me loudly
and a hidden lake.”

-Schloss Cumberland

Like the Americanised ideal of the European castle that the Disney company built outside of Paris, during earlier moments in European cultural history, people have brought ideas from other places and these have been successfully transplanted and warmly received until their foreignness is not even seen any longer. This is one of the many subtle ways that Power brings forward the argument of unity within Europe.

As a German speaker I gained an enormous amount of pleasure from the use of German within the poems, especially using words which have shared roots in both languages. The use of “Garten” in the above quote does this perfectly, we can see from the context and the sonic similarities that “Garten” means Garden and using the German word instead stresses our shared linguistic history and makes the reader feel that they are participating in this other language as they read the poems. For me, this use of language added an extra level of enjoyment as I could feel the different words working together well, I appreciate however that those who do not speak German might find the use of the language in line amongst English with no demarcation of difference a little strange and that this might take readers out of the moment somewhat. A recurring word in the collection is “See” meaning lake. It is easy for readers to connect the German word with the English “Sea”. In a way this particular choice of bringing in the German word, gives the lakes a larger presence, linking it to the English word “Sea”. The lakes of Cumberland are contained in some way, but the huge See of Upper Austria seem to ebbe and flow more like the open water of a sea. There is a glossary of words and phrases at the back of the collection, giving it another function as a phrase book of sorts, if you’re travelling in Austria and keen to go to a Konditorei (cake shop) for Kaffee-Kuchen (coffee and cake) the book will be useful.

The sequence “from A Tour of Shrines of Upper Austria” gives us a series of impressionistic poems describing the religious shrines. Each one is a small and detailed world in itself (much like the poems in the whole collection) and we gain not only a sense of the places themselves but also of the traveller discovering them:

“Behind, the painting:
Mary gets a crown, ascension.
seven stars of straw
tucked in the top iron frame.

first I’ll draw
then photograph

if you wanted you could stay
till the flame burned down.

I have to kneel
inside to take a good picture”

-“From A Tour of Shrines of Upper Austria”

The shrines are beautiful, idiosyncratic places, each putting its own local customs and saints on display. Each shrine is like it’s own little member state of a union, welcoming  visitors, with a shared belief but also a variety of interpretations.

This sequence happens early on in the collection as a way of opening up the door for the grandmother to appear, the voice of someone who grew up in Austria, but moved to Britain after World War Two. Through the collection we gain an ever deeper sense of the relationship between the grandmother and the poet (there are two voices present in many of these grandmother poems). This sort of personal exploration is bold and exciting to explore as a reader. It’s a beautiful way of documenting a past which generations currently living feel ever more distant from and gives the contemporary exploration of Austria more purpose and poignancy.

Reading the collection is a breathtaking and eclectic experience. This book deserves the high praise in prizes and nominations it received. Like the shrines that give the book its title, the poems are idiosyncratic, intriguing, emotional and important.

Books reviewed:
The Europeans – David Clarke
Published by Nine Arches Press {Link}
Shrines of Upper Austria – Phoebe Power 
Published by Carcanet {Link}
Books photographed by reviewer on backdrop of the book: Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski {Link}

REVIEW: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed – Jon Ronson

So You've Been Publicly ShamedSo You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really interesting. Read this as a way to stay off twitter as much as possible. Ultimately the cases of public shaming Ronson gets into are very interesting and ones I remember from when they occurred. The link between twitter and the idea of a dark ages mob justice is interesting and adds weight to the book. Interesting bits about Prisons (both real and in psychological experiments).

The powerlessness in our day to day lives and the despicable politics of our current time make us feel the need to take control and deliver ‘justice’ for someone at least, so people’s lives are destroyed for tweeting unfunny things which can be read as being explicitly racist (when they truly didn’t intend this). It’s made me really aware of how quickly we pass judgement on people without appreciating the nuances of their situations.

One thing about the book that frustrated a little was the sheer volume of stories which were told. Within paragraphs some people were shamed online (or, in one of the most affecting stories, in court) and then their lives spiralled out of control, then, tragically they often committed suicide. All within a paragraph. We were often not given enough time to process all this before another shorter story occurred.

Sadly there is a lot of suicide and violence reported in the book, linking self harm and violence in general to feelings of shame. Please beware if this is triggering content for you.

There’s a real lack of empathy to a lot of online interaction and this book has really made me rethink how we should act online. We need to strive to me as warm and forgiving as possible, to be part of the internet’s calm ‘suburb’ instead of its chaotic violent centre.

Worth a read !

View all my reviews