Tuesday, May 10, 2011

FIGJAM and the Wedge

Years ago, when I used to hang out with musicians (no, I wasn't a drummer) - I briefly worked alongside an Australian band. That was when I first came across the "wedge". (If this is a drinking term you've always been familiar with, please ignore the rest of this piece.) By "wedge" I don't mean a bit of wood (or something) with a triangular section used to lift, jam, or separate. I suppose the meaning is a related one, because, you see, a wedge is the drink that you buy in-between drinks in a round.

Consider: Alice has finished her drink, but it's Bob's round. Now, clearly, she's not going to sit with an empty glass while Bob savours his, and carry on sitting with no drink while he replenishes their supplies. But Alice is far too well brought up to hurry Bob along, and besides, that's poor drinking practice - for all sorts of reasons. So Alice announces, "No worries Bob, I'll get a wedge in." And off she goes to get herself (and only herself) a drink. The round is still with Bob.

This is a concept that surely exists wherever drinks are bought in rounds, but I didn't have a word for it. To the best of my knowledge, British English hadn't developed this term, and needed the vibrant, productive, booze including Australian variant to produce a beautifully apt way of pinning this down. Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, the Wedge.

FIGJAM? Well, I've been thinking a lot about marketing, building brands, and the business of selling beer. How "Bigging Up" oneself and the product seems seen as a shortcut to success. Again, back in the day, I've heard this kind of thing dismissed as "talking a good band". As in:
Alice: Charlie talks a good band doesn't he?
Bob: I saw them at Planet X and they were f-ing shite.
Alice: Is right.
Just so, we hear many people talking a good beer. It's not quite the same as "talking up", but I suspect that it's sort of merged in with that expression nowadays.

Anyway, FIGJAM: Another great antipodean contribution to the language. It's an acronym:
Fuck I'm Good. Just Ask Me.


Jeff Pickthall said...

Come on, you must know the Barrow term for a between-round drink, usually purchased on the sly to facilitate rapid intoxication.

It' a "monkey".

StringersBeer said...

The wedge is never sly.