Roger iron rusted

Matching Mole

Senior Member
England, English
This has been bugging me ever since I first saw the film "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" and comes from a famous scene (famous amongst fans of the genre, at least) where a barman relates a scene in a pub using the most contrived collection of Cockney rhyming slang I've ever heard. Most of the slang is understandable by initiates, and others can be looked up, but the one the phrase "Roger iron" still mystifies me.

I've lived in the East End of London for 15 years or so and I thought I'd heard them all, but not this one.I can find no satisfactory answer on the web, either.

The full sentence is "A few nights ago Rory's Roger iron rusted, so he's gone down the battle cruiser [boozer: pub] to watch the end of a football game". The story revolves around Rory's difficulty in watching the pub TV and his violent solution to the problem; all the evidence points to "Roger iron rusted" meaning "his television broke".

It's possible this is a mishearing, but all the transcripts I can find agree that it is "Roger iron rusted" and that is what I hear, too. Two other slang terms are used for TV: "jelly" and "Lisa", which, of course are obvious ;) but Roger iron? (It may not be rhyming slang, as other slang is also used in the speech.)

Can anyone help?
 
  • akak

    Senior Member
    USA
    UK, India- English, Urdu, Hindi
    It could be an amalgam of "Roger Mellie" - telly and and "Iron Rusted" - busted. (I'd post links, but I am too junior.):)
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    Thanks! I had a feeling there might have been mistaken in thinking it was Roger and iron, rather than iron rusted. It makes perfect sense. And of course, I should have asked here in the first place :)
     

    Moglet

    Senior Member
    UK
    British/Hiberno-English
    I find it a bit bizarre that they use "Roger" instead of "Roger Mellie", then subsequently use "battle cruiser" instead of plain ol' common or garden "cruiser"! :confused: Contrived rhyming slang, indeed.
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    Ah well, Cockney rhyming slang comes in two forms, in many cases only the first word is used, so the actual rhyme is obscured. In others both words are used. I would say that the former is probably the preferred form as it makes it difficult for outsiders to understand. I don't know why some are said in full and others not, but it is traditionally the case.

    However, I won't argue that to use it in the density that it is used in this speech is contrived, and I think some of the rhymes are invented for the piece. People do use it in every day speech, but not to that extent.
     

    Moglet

    Senior Member
    UK
    British/Hiberno-English
    Erm... I suppose now would be a pretty good time to say that I grew up in London... ;)

    My apologies, Matching Mole for not better expressing my puzzlement over the quoted film dialogue. What I was trying to get across was that, based on my experience, the use of "Roger" would be less common than "cruiser" and thus be less likely to be understood by the film's audiences. Therefore, that the scriptwriter(s) chose to use the shortened version of "Roger Mellie" and the full version of "battle cruiser" struck me as very odd.

    In real life dialogue, I don't think I've ever heard anyone use the term "battle cruiser" other than to explain "cruiser" to someone unfamilliar with rhyming slang!

    Great summary explanation of how rhyming slang is typically used, Matching Mole! :)
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    I agree "Roger Mellie" is a tough one, not exactly a household name (like "Liza"). For those not in the know Mellie is a character from a strip in the British adult comic magazine "Viz". However the rhyme is in the comic strip's title so it's not just a random rhyme. This makes me think that Roger may be an authentic neo-Cockney rhyming slang word, which is why it is not given if full. On the other hand nuclear sub [pub] and battle cruiser sound unlikely to be authentic, which would explain why they are said in full. Then again, I doubt that full comprehensibility was foremost in the writer's mind.
     

    gasman

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    Roger iron rusted,

    I would wonder if his sexual activities had become somewhat difficult.
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    Sorry, Ewie. That song of hers never worked on me. (Actually I was reading it from another source without thinking about the spelling.)
     
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