Hungry Boy

Verbal Indigestion


Verbal Indigestion for Ambrosia Magazine

Verbal Indigestion: A Guide to Cockney Rhyming Slang is a commission for the London issue of Ambrosia Magazine. The essay and accompanying photo series visualizes the dual meanings of Cockney Rhyming Slang phrases from East London. This is the second iteration of “Feast Your Eyes,” an ongoing collaboration with Isabel Lea that explores the relationship between food and language. 


In 19th century Cockney Rhyming Slang, food phrases take on dual meaning as in the famous example '“to fall down the apples & pears” meaning “to fall down the stairs.” This photo essay traces the linguistic history of these playful rhymes and brings the following phrases to life in a London pub aesthetic; “Custard & Jelly” is “Telly,” “Bread & Honey” is “Money,” “Mince Pieces” are “Eyes,” “Baked Bean” means “The Queen,” “Tea Leaves” means “Thieves.”