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A scene from an English Comedy

Posted by TheFallen on May 21, 2003

In Reply to: A scene from an English Comedy posted by Henry on May 21, 2003

: : the comedy is gimme gimme, two characters: Linda, a sex-driven masculine girl and Tom Farrel, a gay.
: : She tells him:
: : "Here have a face pack. Do you want Hello Vera of See Ya Cilla?"
: : I understand that Hello Vera refers to Aloe vera facial mask but I don't recognize the other one. I guess the see ya is in contrast to Hello, but What is the reference in Cilla?

: : I'll quote some very problematic paragraph:
: : Tom:
: : "I'm just admiring Thora Hird's box room actually. Acturally can I just take a little bit of time out to admire Thora Hird full stop. She's a lass from Lancashire with a heart of glold. Half hip replacement, half got pot. Hello Vera please. In fact I can't say I've ever met or heard of another Thora. I mean what's that all about? Maybe I'd get on in acting if I had a unique name."

: : My endless questions:
: : that is a box room?
: : what does he mean by half hip replacement, half hot pot? (I know hot pot is a lamb stew), and Dame Thora was a famous English comedy actress (already passed away).

: : My deepest thanks to any help.

: Cilla may be Cilla Black, presenter of the popular TV programme Blind Date. See ya means I'll see you soon, in other words Au revoir or just Goodbye.

: Thora Hird came from Lancashire, where the local food is hot pot. Perhaps the phrase means she is half authentic, half artificial.

: To me, a box room is a small room where spare furniture and possessions are stored. It is obviously something quite different here! Tom may be admiring Thora as an actress.

Miri, they gve you such difficult things to translate! The passages you quote here are full of uniquely English references that wouldn't mean much at all to non-UK residents.

'Allo Vera / Seeya Cilla. I know the TV show in question, and the character Linda is deliberately portrayed as both lower-class and thick. You're right about the 'Allo Vera / Aloe Vera thing, which works because Linda drops her h's, a deliberate reinforcement by the writers that she's not well-educated. Seeya Cilla is a contrived contrast to 'Allo Vera - it doesn't refer to any real product, but the "seeya" highlights the "'allo", and Cilla, as referred to above, is the name of an ageing English female variety and TV star (Cilla Black), which fits in nicely with Vera, since that's also an old-fashioned English woman's name. There was a famous female English singer of the 1940's called Vera Lynn who may be being alluded to here. Basically, both "products" contain the connotation of being suitable for elderly women.

Dame Thora Hird was indeed a famous English comedy actress, although in recent years basically she was most famous simply for being old, given that she fronted a large number of TV commercials for such things as stair-lifts and other products for the elderly, an allusion that a British audience would pick up on. Her other most noticeable characteristic was her strong Lancashire accent, so if one is to be humorously dismissive of her, then the phrase "half hip replacement, half hotpot" caricaturises her two primary attributes.

A boxroom is a small room in a house, usually upstairs, which is typically used for storage. Sometimes these are turned into bedrooms, but there's only ever barely enough room to fit a bed in there. If someone is reduced to sleeping in a boxroom, then one has some pretty lousy accommodation.

Best of luck - I've had to translate texts before now, but with such a specific allusion-filled piece, I don't have a clue where I'd start.