Sunday, June 6, 2010

On yer bike!

It's a lovely sunny weekend and you might want to go for a bike ride.

But what if I were to say, go on, on yer bike!

This would be an informal way of saying get lost; go away.

The phrase, on your bike. started off with a controversial politician called Norman Tebbit. He was Margaret Thatcher's right hand man and satirised as a Gestapo Officer.

When unemployement was high and people were complaining, he gave this speech at a Conserative Party Conference and the phrase became absorbed into the language.

'I grew up in the '30s with an unemployed father. He didn't riot. He got on his bike and looked for work, and he kept looking 'til he found it.'

Here he is on one of Britain's most brutal satire programmes of the time, Spitting Image. The phrase spitting image refers to someone who looks identical.

I saw a man in the supermarket who was the spitting image of your brother.

These puppets really are authentic and I don't mean just visually!