Words are so good. I love words.
I especially love learning new and somewhat obscure words, and then imagining how I would integrate them into everyday life, without sounding like an uppity twat.
About a year ago, I stumbled across a buzzfeed entitled
25 Everyday Things You Never Knew Had Names
What a gold mine! I was delighted, and wrote down these top five words to learn:
# 5 Crepuscular Rays: those shining-through-the-clouds sunbeams that look like God is about to drop round.
#4 Gynecomastia: heehee, manboobs!
#3 Semantic Satiation: saying a word over and over till it loses its meaning.
#2 Phosphenes: the little lights you see when you scrunch your eyes up tight.
And coming in at first place is ……*drumroll*……. Mondegreen!
What the heck is a Mondegreen? Don’t google it yet, I’ll tell you.
Mondegreen is the official term for a misheard and misinterpreted lyric, that gives the song a brand new meaning. The mix-up is usually caused by how similar the two phrases sound – how “homophonous” they are, in uppity twat language. Children are particularly gifted at coming up with Mondegreens. I remember in the mid 90’s, my youngest sister Nooma belting out Peter Frampton in the car.
“Ooooh baby I looove your wings” she sang.
“That’s not right, it’s “oooh baby I love your ways.” I corrected her, in classic bossy-big-sister fashion.
“No it’s wings,” she insisted, “he’s singing to an angel and he loves her beautiful wings”.
I gave up.
Not that I was mondegreen free, mind you… I have very vivid memories of giggling my head off with my best friend Josh, as we jumped on his bed to Michael Jackson.
“I’ve never been so in love before, I want you baby right down in my applecore!”
Probably the most famous mondegreen is the line “Excuse me while I kiss the sky” from Purple Haze by Jimmy Hendrix. Indeed, the mondegreen became so well known that Jimmy often used to sing the misheard lyrics in his live performances.
One fan remembers seeing Hendrix perform at the Ambassador Theatre, Washington D.C. in 1967. When the line came, Jimmy lifted his hand, pointed to bass player Noel Redding and grinned as he sang
(story from Zaner, 2011)
Other fans of the intentional mondegreen were good old Credence Clearwater Revival, who helped their listeners find the amenities by singing the misheard version of their 1969 hit
“Don’t go around tonight, well it’s bound to take your life. There’s a bathroom on the right”
So, have you too been “blinded by the light, wrapped up like a moose driving a Rover in the night” ? Or do you know your Manfred Mann better than that?
Can you correct any, or all, of the following mondegreens?
“The ants are my friends, they’re blowing in the wind. The ants are blowing in the wind”
– not Bob Dylan
“You got blood on your face, you big disgrace, waving your bladder all over the place”
– not Queen
“Hold me closer Tony Danza, count the headlights on the highway”
– not Elton John
” With the lights out it’s less dangerous, Here we are now, in containers”
– not Nirvana
“Might as well face it, you’re a d*ck with a glove”
– not Robert Palmer
“Cows want milk, 6 minutes later, cows want milk”
– not Duran Duran
“Charlie L. Smith’s forty, someone spiked my rice, the rest history”
– no wait, that actually is Ben Folds
“Hide it in a hiding place where no one ever goes, put it in your panties with your cupcakes”
– not Simon and Garfunkle
“The sheep don’t like it. Rock the Cat Spa, rock the Cat Spa”
– not The Clash
“We caught some kids on microwave ovens, custard kitchen and liver hey”
– not Dire Straits
“Without you… It’s not as much fun to pick up the pizzas”
– not Nine Inch Nails
Well, I’m going to go now. I’m pretty hungry, and it’s a long way to the shop if you want a sausage roll.