Posted by ESC (U.S.) on July 05, 2004
In Reply to: Don't bother posted by Lewis on July 05, 2004
: : :
: : : Hi, I learn English as second language. I was watching this DVD movie 'The Gangs of New York' and came upon this phrase 'back-alley amusers'. Who or what are they? Are they thieves or pick-pockets working in the back alley? Many thanks for your answers.
: : I never heard of the expression but from the context of the script your guess seems pretty much correct. A "back-alley amuser" sounds like a low level street punk.
: : "But if Bill hadn't spent the last five
: : years taking over more and more of Goodge's former duties and actions within the Nativists -- everything ranging from collection and enforcement to running rival gangs out of the Points -- Goodge would never have
: : been able to accomplish his own transformation: From back-alley amuser, to gang chieftain, to respected citizen and "community leader."
: the film is largely rubbish and misleads people about the history. another heap of stinking poo like "Braveheart", but without the charm.
: Leonardo de Crappio? Best ever moment on film? Drowning in Titanic.
: Talent-deficient pretty boy.
: Do not waste your time translating "Gangs" - just make it up and it will be almost as valid.
I couldn't find "back-alley amuser" in any of my regional slang books. I did find:
back alley -- noun. late 19th century. U.S. black. The main street of an otherwise run-down or "red-light" area. A term of approval "back alley" is another variety of the Black reversal of White values.
back-alley deal -- noun. late 19th century. U.S. black. a deal between one unsuspecting victim and the person who intends and succeeds in cheating him.
From "Cassell's Dictionary of Slang" by Jonathon Green (Cassell, Wellington House, London, paperback edition, 2000).