Foggys' Friday..what seems like bad gammar is a Google thing
Now it's time for a spot of Etymology..aw no, not bloody insects I can hear some of you saying...well no, I want to record for posterity the etymology of the word Foggy and the concept of Foggys' Friday which I believe is 'unique' to some Gateshead Secondary Schools, the Grammar & Elgin, to name two but which originated in, and emanated from, the Grammar School for Boys, Gateshead.
When did it start? It was certainly going strong when I was a Foggy in 1960. Could it pre-date 1953 when the school became boys only? If you've got any information, please use the guestbook As some of you may know I am a Google groupie and I have great faith in it's ability to tell me anything Here's an example...is playing the wag a Geordie expression as, at least one, online Geordie dictionary believes it to be...Well, no it's not, as you will discover if you google it. You'll discover that in modern parlance it means acting like Victoria Beckham or Coleen Rooney but in the old fashioned sense it means playing truant...an expression definitely not confined to the North East.
On the other hand, I can find no reference (except here) and of course, here, a poem from the 1952 Caprian, to a newcomer, a newbie, a first former, a Johnny Come Lately being called a Foggy or Foggie (as in newbie) or the last Friday of the first term being called Foggys' (Foggies' ) Friday, involving the toileting of the heads of all foggies stupid enough not to have played the wag that day (NB Foggies never played the wag.That sort of bravery didn't start till 2nd year. )
It's very easy to see why a first former was called a foggy because I recall the word 'fog' was Geordie slang for 'first' . 'Fog man back' was/is the expression used in 'jumpers for goal posts' footie when the first player back to goal could/can handle the ball. I'm told it still survives to this day in Charver speak. To fog-on is to claim the first scrounged drag on your mate's cigarette.The last one to 'couple on' , if he is to get any kind of drag at all, has to also add “Leave iz the white, not the shite.” Apparently.
Was the head toileting an urban myth? Foggies were certainly given the 'bumps', had their caps destroyed and generally intimidated but were they ever head toileted? I was once fag roasted by some Flashman types in the Common Room at North Dene...not held close to an open fire, like Tom Brown was, but held against one of those big chunky radiators. Me legs got all mottled like me Grandma's were.
In these politically correct and nanny state times it is difficult to reconcile the institutionalised ritualistic bullying that was Foggys' Friday. It was well known to prefects and staff alike who turned a blind eye Can you imagine this today? "Headmaster, may I see your Risk Assessment for Foggys' Friday?" "Have you considered turning off the water on that day to preclude the drowning risk?" "Oh you have! Then, Headmaster, may I see your Fire Risk Assessment for that day?" And while I am here, may I see your safe systems of work viz a viz blackboard rubber hoying, pupils being made to spend a double period standing on a Victorian window sill 8 feet from the ground and the practice of boys being made to hang from the wall bars for an entire Gym period. May I see your security system for the storage of calcium carbide? I'd also like to review your Safe Lifting procedures and training as I am concerned at the risk of back injuries sustained by adolescents upturning staff cars ... and... since boys will be boys... I believe scaffolding should be erected around the bell tower to provide safer access and egress for puplis wishing to hang your effigy, from time to time