By Kenneth Hudson
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Additional resources for A Dictionary of the Teenage Revolution and its Aftermath
Bootboy. A member of an aggressive, usually skinhead street gang- 'Punks, skins, bootboys' (Sounds, 24 Jan 1981). Purely British and part of the vocabulary of the boot culture, the word is used, not without pride, by the bootboys themselves, but also by those who admire them and by journalists with a toe in the teenage world. It is also employed, somewhat derisively and patronisingly, by non-violent and socially more desirable young people to indicate that they are familiar with the word and the type it represents, but that the boys are concerned are a lower order of humanity.
Brown-tongued. Sycophantic, grovelling. ' (Sounds, 28 April1979). Brown wings. A decoration awarded to Hell's Angels on the occasion of their first homosexual intercourse. The expression originated in the USA in the 1960s and was soon being used wherever these unpleasant creatures existed. 'Most of the Frisco chapter earned their brown wings on this occasion' (Mandelkau: Buttons, 1971). Bruce. Australian. The word can be used either as a noun or an adjective, and has an interesting history. It derives from Stanley Melbourne (1883-1967), who became Viscount Bruce of Melbourne and who was Prime Minister of Australia for much of the 1920s.
There was another important difference. Everyone in a 'band' could read music, whereas it was common, perhaps normal, for members of a 'group' not to be able to read a note. So during the 1950s and 1960s, the young talked of 'groups' and their elders of 'bands'. From the early 1970s onwards, however, 'band' became increasingly used for small pop and rock groups, although not entirely seriously and with a strong flavour of pastiche. One has to be very sure of one's audience in order to be able to use the word on its own nowadays.