“The Germans Wore Gray, you wore blue.”

casablancaHow do you get to be a genius and write lines like these? –

Rick: “Not an easy day to forget. I remember every detail. The Germans wore gray, you wore blue.”

Ilsa: “Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By’. “

Rick: “Here’s looking at you, kid.”

There’s a fair amount of dispute about who actually wrote what for Casablanca. It seems that Julius J Epstein, Philip G Epstein, Howard Koch and Casey Robinson were all involved. Even Humphrey Bogart is given the credit for  “Here’s looking at you, kid”. But how do you produce these genius perfect lines? I could never do it in a month of Sundays. Possibly because I use phrases like ‘a month of Sundays’.

How do you produce similes like –

“By day the banished sun circles the earth like a grieving mother with a lamp.” Cormac McCarthy

“I was as hollow and empty as the spaces between stars.” Raymond Chandler

What about this one, by me – “He was tiny. As small as an underdeveloped baby dwarf ant who had been off his food for a week.”

Maybe not.

It’s context as well. Casablanca is set in …. well Casablanca. Transfer this to Risca and –

Ilsa says, “Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By'” would change to –

Blodwen says, “Play it, Dai. Play ‘Guns Don’t Kill People Rappers Do'”.

Local Welsh similes and idioms are often quite harsh or simply baffling –

“She had a face like a robber’s horse.”

“He was as angry as ten bears.”

And some of the idioms are particularly strange –

“It’s raining old ladies and sticks.” (“Mae hi’n bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn”)

“Don’t lift a petticoat after peeing.” (“Paid â chodi pais ar ôl piso” )

The English equivalent of “Don’t lift a petticoat…” is ” Don’t cry over spilt milk.” It does seem to lack the Welsh charm, though. Don’t you think?

 

  

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Published by: byron kalies

Writer, golfer and golf writer, I have developed and moved on (not permanently in case there are any publishers reading this) from the relatively straightforward world of management consultancy with motivation, leadership, change matrices, decision making, communication, customer care, bottom lines, double-loop learning, stress, attribution theory, behavioural interviewing, project management, group think and Johnson and Scholes’ Cultural Web, to the complex and unfathomable world of describing places where people can hit a ball into a hole. I have written for a number of golf magazines and newspapers including 'Golf International' , 'wales on Sunday' and am currently golf correspondent for Cambria Magazine (Wales's Magazine) and blogger for Wales Online.

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