"Grundy morno - are we sitty-comfybold on our bottiwags?"

This is 'Unwinese', a seemingly-nonsensical language invented and propounded by Stanley Unwin. Unwin was born in 1911 in Pretoria, although he moved to Britain in the 1930s, and worked as a reporter for the BBC in the 1940s and 50s. A fan of Edward Lear's nonsense poetry, he developed an improvisational language whilst telling bedtime stories to his children. 'Unwinese' used a mixture of olde-worlde English, garbled vowels, and concatenated words to produce speech which replicated English speech patterns but, on closer examination, was not English - the audio equivalent of an optical illusion. Nonetheless, it made a certain kind of sense, and to modern ears seems to prefigure Anthony Burgess' Nadsat. Unwin could generate it spontaneously, and in previous centuries he would have been burned as a witch.

"Once a polly tie tode, when our young worle was fresh in univerbs and Englande its beauty garden, a young lad set out in the early mordee, to find it deef wisdom and true love in flower petals arrayed..."

Although Unwin's natural habitat was radio, he appeared in a few films as a guest star, essentially playing himself - 'Carry on regardless' and 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' being the most famous. On television, he starred in Gerry Anderson's bizarre, short-lived puppet / human hybrid 'The Secret Service'. Furthermore, he narrated the Small Faces' classic 'Ogden's Nut Gone Flake', thus ensuring himself a new audience of drug-addled hipsters.

Apart from this Unwin made plenty of public appearances, and was an enthusiastic ham radio user. Unfortunately, as with Peter Cook, there isn't a single definitive Unwin project that can be held up as an example for future generations, although he's instantly recognisable. Unwin himself passed away on the 13th of January, 2002, at the ripe old age of 90.

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