Above: A very fine example of a hardworking Aussie BBQ, somewhere in the donga I would suspect.
The word “barbecue” comes from the Caribbean word “barbacoa.” Originally, a barbacoa wasn’t a way of cooking food, but the name of a wooden structure used by Taino Indians to smoke their food. It’s likely that the first barbecue consisted of some sort of fish, creatures from the sea obviously being plentiful in the Caribbean.
Besides used for cooking, the structure of sticks could also be used as an area for sleeping, storage, and shelter.
Spanish explorers took the word barbacoa back to Spain, where it appeared in print for the first time in 1526. For a while, barbacoa still referred to the structure that food was cooked in, but after a while people started using it to refer to the process of cooking food.
The first known instance of barbecue appearing in English print was in A New Voyage Round the World by Englishman, Captain William Dampier, (who landed in what is now known as Western Australia) in the 17th Century.
By 1733, “barbecue” had started to mean a social gathering during which meat was grilled, as evidenced in B. Lynde’s diary that year: “Fair and hot; Browne, barbacue; hack overset.”
About two decades later, in 1755, the word “barbecue” was entered into Samuel Johnson’s The Dictionary of the English Language.
The entry reads:
“to ba’rbecue. A term used in the West-Indies for dressing a hog whole; which, being split to the backbone, is laid flat upon a large gridiron, raised about two foot above a charcoal fire, with which it is surrounded”.
Today, there are just as many spellings for barbecue as there are meanings for the term. Many people use barbeque, BBQ, Bar-B-Que, and other variations thereof. That said, the “official” spelling is generally considered to be “barbecue” with a “c”, similar to the original.
While people may debate over what should be the correct spelling or what exactly constitutes barbecue, there is one thing we can all agree on: a barbecue is definitely no longer a shelter or a sleeping structure!
Hot Metal Comps. had a unique way of saying goodbye to a workmate who was retiring from the trade.
There was a hell of a lot of racket in the Comp Room when it happened!
The journeyman Comps. and their Apprentices would scatter everywhere grabbing small chases, metal galleys, quoin keys, furniture or anything remotely metal and line up around the work “stone” or “stones” and wait.
Wait for what, you may ask? Yes, it was for some poor old bastard who was retiring.
The noise was deafening as the blokes went ballistic by banging away with their chases and galleys at a furious rate.
It was bloody wonderful fun and a fitting tribute to the comp for his years of slaving away with lead type and ink.
Gradually with the advent of new technology the clang-out slowly subsided.
There wasn’t much fun in trying to slap two paper bromides together.
It was a bloody sad time! The trade was changing as the new technology swept over us!
He doesn’t know whether his behaviour was unusual, he didn’t drink but took large amounts of cocaine.
This remark is taken from the medical file of Georg Trakl and is part of a brief account of the poet’s movements and behaviour in the month or so preceding his committal for observation to a psychiatric hospital in Kraków in early October 1914.
Just six weeks earlier, towards the end of August, the 27-year-old Trakl had undertaken the 1000-kilometre train journey from Innsbruck, at the western end of the Habsburg Empire, to the far eastern crownland of Galicia, where he was to be deployed as a military pharmacist.
His frontline experience was brief but traumatic.
During the Battle of Grodek-Rawa Ruska, he was assigned sole care of ninety badly wounded soldiers sheltering in a barn, a task for which he had neither the training nor the equipment.
As he later recounted from his hospital bed in Kraków to his friend and publisher Ludwig von Ficker, when one of the wounded men had ended his own suffering by shooting himself in the head, Trakl had fled outside only to be confronted by the sight of local peasants hanging lifeless in the trees.
One evening during the westward retreat of the defeated Austro-Hungarian forces, he announced his own intention to shoot himself, but was forcefully disarmed by his comrades.
His committal followed on 6 October and he died in hospital on 3 November.
His medical file lists the cause of death, complete with exclamation mark, as “Suicid durch Cocainintoxication!”