Fabulosa! The Story of Polari, Britain’s Secret Gay Language

Author Paul Baker will be at the Carnegie library on Tuesday, 13 December - 7pm to 8:30pm

Polari was a form of language adopted chiefly by gay men in the first half of the 20th century as a form of self-protection and a way of expressing humour. For many speakers it consisted of a small vocabulary although some people used it in a way that began to approach a full language. In the 1960s it was popularized in the BBC radio comedy series Round the Horne. But in the 1970s it started to be abandoned.

This book traces Polari’s historical roots and describes its linguistic nuts and bolts. It then outlines the ways that it was used by its speakers, the reasons for its decline into obscurity and the ways that aspects of the language have been rediscovered and repurposed in recent decades.

Relying on a wide range of interviews and textual sources, Professor Paul Baker tells the story of British LGBTQ+ history through the lens of Polari as well as reflecting on the ups and downs of researching this fascinating form of language over the last 25 years.

Event organised by the Friends of Carnegie Library

Attend at the library - or register with eventbrite for livestream.

2 thoughts on “Fabulosa! The Story of Polari, Britain’s Secret Gay Language

  1. Is the Polari talk available online?
    I thought Steven said that it was.
    Many thanks,

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