Wherefore Art Thou "Scallymanger"?  

Illustration from the Scallymanger T-Shirt As the word 'Scallymanger' is rather an odd one, and appears prominently on my homepage (in the form of the image just to the left), you may be wondering what it is and why I put it there.

Well, as with so many things, there's a long version and a short version. The short version is that I drew it, I happen to like it, and it's my bloody website and I'll do what I like with it!

And then there's the long version...  A few years ago, a good friend of mine, whose name is Marsh, for reasons that are unlikely to become apparent at the moment - started a fanzine which was written for and by Marsh, myself and a few other friends of ours.  The main focus of the fanzine was games: roleplaying games, board games, play by mail cricket (which was a lot better than it sounds by the way), and anything else we wanted to put in it.  It was entitled Scallymanger, and lasted for about seven or eight issues, but is affectionately remembered by those few with whom it was concerned.  The picture above is one of a number of pictures I drew for Scallymanger, and one which made it to press as a T-shirt, which some of us still wear.  The motto "Usque ad mortem recreatum" is dog-latin for "we play until death", and was shamelessly stolen and mutilated from the old (and much missed) Firkin pubs (before their tragic fall into the perfidious hands of Whitbread).  The Firkin version was "Usque ad mortem bibendum", and if that constitutes an egregious misuse of the subjunctive, tell someone who could give a damn!

Incidentally, the different parts of the picture represent the different sorts of games we played; roleplaying, strategy, dice-rolling, fantasy, horror, sci-fi and play-by-mail-cricket.  And why is Cthulhu holding a fish?! Because I have a waterpistol that resembles a fish, which was my weapon of choice in a Scally-run game of Killer.  Marsh did tell me once that he'd set up a Scallymanger website, with artwork and articles from the 'zine, but to the best of my knowledge it never showed up on any search engines.
Dodgy Practices Cartoon Strip
Dodgy Practices; a humour strip that I drew for Scallymanger
Only 3 or 4 were finished, but I wrote ideas for loads of 'em.

So there you are.  Happy now?  No?  Oh, you still don't know what it means...  well the word "scallymanger" was first coined (at least to my knowledge) on a cold winter's night, many moons ago, in a house just southeast of Whitby, about half a mile from the old - and now defunkt - lighthouse.  Marsh (who happened to live in the aforementioned house) and I were spending the evening getting drunk and repeatedly playing two-player games of Micromachines on his dad's PC.  Basically, "Scallymanger" was a random and nonsensical insult that we started lobbing back and forth as we descended into insobriety.  I don't know which of us first uttered it, or what we intended to say before the word came out, but all of a sudden, "Scallymanger" (that's 'ska-li-man-ger' by the way, not 'ska-li-main-jer', by the way) became the expletive of choice in our circle of friends. And a very useful word it is too, as it can be used as a noun (meaning 'disreputable cad'... or something...) or a verb (meaning to snooker, scupper or generally shaft someone as they attempt to do something, or more precisely, to knock someone's car off the table in the Micromachines computer game, while they try to get over a bridge between two tables that is made of a ruler).

I bet you're sorry you asked now, but at least you now have the satisfaction of knowing the etymology of the word Scallymanger, and can use it to impress your friends at parties!