A policeman called Ward (I hope his number was 10, then you could have said ‘Emergency, Ward 10!’ to him) was said to have posted a message on Facebook that he was looking forward to some action: “Can’t wait to bash some long haired hippys (sic) up @ the G20″, the message apparently read.
It is quite odd to think that the word ‘hippie’ is still on anybody’s lips. But then even WordPress asks you if you’re ‘already hip’ when you go to log in, so hip, hippie and hippy (although not their grandpa, hipster, I don’t think) would all appear to be alive and well and in circulation, where other words (yippie and yuppie, for instance) have pretty well bitten the dust. There again, even earlier coinages like mod and rocker are still around, more the latter than the former. Mod seems only to exist in the phrase modfather, regularly applied to Paul Weller, who is repeatedly lauded in the music magazines (is it just me, or are there others who just don’t get what is so allegedly good about him?)
It’s quite hard to think of words that have vanished, because they do it in a sneaky way. On the hippie theme, I think freak has gone, but that heavy is still with us, although adding man to every sentence is surely unheard of outside heavy metal circles, and possibly within them (I wouldn’t dare go there). Nothing is a gas any more, or groovy – a lot of songs have dated because of it – but I suspect there is still some splitting done. And maybe the very odd bit of digging, but only in remote areas of Devon. Does anyone crash? (I think they might crash out, but that’s sleeping, not staying over.) On the other hand, the word cool has survived at least six decades. Nothing is far out, but a fair amount seems to be a drag. Perhaps that’s a sign of the times. Totally.
Hey has made quite a comeback – I often get emails from people under the age of 35 which start ‘Hey Bill’. At the other end of the message, you don’t see luv any more.
About really amazing, I am a bit more dubious, not least because I may have actually said it myself in the last year. You would have to be over forty to do it, and unconscious of doing it, I think. Probably that translates, in my daughter’s generation, into that is so random. A very large number of words relating to the police have vanished – rozzers went while I was a child, and coppers have gone more recently (as have pigs, I think, and Plods). Bobbies are only used by politicians when they refer to ‘bobbies on the beat’ (lack of). The fuzz and the filth may still be with us, more the latter than the former, but I think ‘The law’ is probably in regular use.
But one thing does still seem to be going on (see para 1). Some people are joining the police force to enjoy wielding a baton. Omigod, that is so gay.