Friday, 20 January 2012

Jaba juntz

Well, the Times Literary Supplement likes our recent set of New London Editions' books. That will do our reputation a power of good, even if the headline was "Drugs, murder and books", thereby destroying our respectability at the same time. For seventeen years I worked at Mushroom Bookshop in Nottingham which, when I started, sold scales and skins as well as high quality literature. The shop was also raided by the police under the Obscene Publications Act - for drugs books, not sex books* - and although we won costs against the police and most of the books back (the magistrate impounded the Child's Garden of Grass joke book lest any unwary child bought it instead of the Child's Garden of Verse) the shop was forever linked in the public mind with drugs. The name did not help. I've mentioned of course that Five Leaves is unwittingly also a drugs reference, which shows my innocence rather than guilt, but most people don't know that, and here we are again, on the drugs front. Still, I knew that when we published Terry Taylor's book so I can hardly complain. Here's the TLS review: http://www.the-tls.co.uk/tls/public/article858510.ece. The reviewer draws attention to the contemporary language in the books, all first published in 1961, asking though if anyone remembers the phrase "jaba juntz" which failed the google test. The team of linguists working in the Five Leaves undercroft has never heard the phrase either. So let's get it into circulation. What does it mean? With a very vague memory of the drug era I would say: whatever you want it to mean.


* The police haul did include one sex book, a manual on female masturbation. This was eventually returned to the shop by the police. But whereas it left in mint condition it was returned very dog-eared and unsaleable. How did that happen?

3 comments:

Jimp said...

jaba juntz ... stoned burble/lazy speak .. "i got the stuff/gubbins/ did the business and poured three stiffies.."

Ross Bradshaw said...

Right, we are well on the way to putting it into common use!

Jimp said...

talking of common use.. "a tola's worth" - would that be "a dollar's worth" (5 bob in old money)?
Was the capitalisation of the drugs (Charge, Indian Hemp etc but not amyl) a copy of the first edition's typography? It's seems too quaint, even for 1961... and L.S.D. instead of LSD is odd as well.
I promise to get out more if you can answer these ...