Sunday, November 14, 2010

TEAch yrself ENGLISCH: 1) "Drum and bass is playing, and the beer is open"


Drum and bass is playing, and the beer is open is a common UK slang expression, which has been in existence for nearly 400 years. It is typically used to denote the fact that things are 'going rather well'. It can also be used to describe events that would be considered 'fun', 'cool' or 'wicked'.

The popularity of the phrase declined somewhat in 1997, around the time that 'drum and bass' degenerated into sock-hatted students nodding off to Brown Paper Bag. However, it has enjoyed a brief revival as of 10th November 2010, when arsenal supporter and renowned retard KAY BURLEY used it to describe a student riot in London.

Casting a rheumy eye over the Flickr gallery of history, we click on 3453233.JPG - aka the year 1604 - and discover that genius wordsmith, master boozer and distinctly amateur sword-fighter CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE was the first to popularise the phrase:

GOOD ANGEL: O Faustus, lay that damned book aside
And gaze not on it, lest it tempt thy soul,
And heap God's heavy wrath upon thy head.
Read, read the Scriptures. That is blasphemy.

EVIL ANGEL: Go forward, Faustus, in that famous art
Wherein all nature's treasury is contained.
Be thou on Earth as Jove is in the sky;
Lord and commander of these elements. [Exeunt]

FAUSTUS: How I am glutted with conceit of this!
Shall I make spirits fetch me what I please,
Resolve me of all ambiguities,
Perform what desp'rate enterprise I will?
I'll have them fly to India for gold,
Ransack the ocean for orient pearl,
And search all corners of the new-found world
For pleasant fruits and princely delicates.
I'll have them read me strange philosophy,
And tell the secrets of all foreign kings.
Drum and bass is playing, and the beer is open.
Come, German Valdes and Cornelius,
And make me blest with your sage conference."

However, Martin Bernal, author of the controversial tome Black Athena, argues that the phrase actually originated in Persia, where it was first coined by OMAR KHAYYAM while penning his Rubaiyats. Unfortunately, as the phrase didn't scan, Khayyam scribbled it out.


eg - Dublin / Kings Cross, August 2009, via SMS
MRS DROID:How is the clash going?
DROID: Drum and bass is playing, and the beer is open ;-)
(transl: "I am beating John Eden, and have discovered a stockpile of Colgate to boot")

* When one's just copped off with a crush at a weekend-long warehouse rave
* Hurtling down Route 66 and playing Cutty Ranks at full blast
* When Thatcher's death's finally announced
* 5pm, Friday
* Winning a pub quiz
* Going on holiday
* Smashing up Millbank
* At Notting Hill Carnival
* Surviving a bus crash in which all the other passengers perish
* Nayim scoring against *rsenal from the half-way line
* Thinking you've lost £50, then realising you changed your jacket
* The time those cage fighters in drag panelled the piss-taking drunks in Swansea
* Watching Fatal Deviation (it's on BoobTube now!)
* Creating an urban myth and watching it spread like wildfire
* Just chilling out


* Working with people who CC the boss in on every email
* Listening to Intelligent Drum and Bass Vol. 1
* Walking into a Goa Trance night by accident
* Listening to somebody talk about horoscopes
* Waking up in Morden on the last tube home
* 7am, Monday
* When a prized, rare dancehall 7" starts skipping all over the place
* Catching 20 seconds of Mock the Week
* Getting kettled
* Actually signing up to 'Comment is Free'
* Being late for a WOOFAH deadline


As everyone is aware, the most plausible excuse for any offence, from vomiting all over a host's sofa to microwaving your partner's Radiohead CDs, is always, "THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT". But, in certain circumstances, Drum and bass is playing, and the beer is open can also fulfil this requirement. For example:

NASA: Mission Control to ISS...Mission Control to ISS, are you receiving?
ASTRONAUT: Uh...International Space Station, receiving...
NASA: What the hell's going on up there?
ASTRONAUT: Uh...loss of power...O'Mahoney's been sucked outside...can't...quite see him...
NASA: Sucked outside? What's going on? Can you confirm systems failure?
ASTRONAUT: Er...not sure...
NASA: Who's in charge?
NASA: So what's going on?? Why isn't the docking port secured, damn it??
ASTRONAUT: (long pause)...drum and bass is playing, and the beer is open.


It's highly unlikely Kay Burley has kept up to date with developments within the 'hardcore continuum'®, so she probably can't tell her Photeks from her Peverelists. Needless to say, Burley has displayed constant symptoms of deep bewilderment over the course of her career at Sky News – which isn't that surprising, given that the rolling news format's just a blatant copy of the Grandstand template. It is more likely that Burley's internal voice continually relays the line "WHEEP! WHEEP! WHEEP!" on a 24/7 loop, and she probably didn't even know what she was looking at when she opened her trap. So, in a fit of startled ad-libbery, she just chucked in the first cliche'd phrase that sprang to her tiny mind. Pretty much how senile football pundits come up with lines like, "And there's no way Villa can come back from this one! Unless they manage to turn the game around."
You have outdone yourself with this one! Awesome!
i have mentally lifted you onto my shoulders and I'm parading you through a thronging crowd of admirers even as we speak.
Burley realy is a total bitch
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