OFAH: Del’s paint scam
So, in this scene, Del has got hold of a lot of paint of unknown colour – there is no label on the tin. He has to find a way of selling it…
Mr Chin: Well, have you decided what colour the walls will be?
Del: Colour? Oh, yes, yes. I mean, you don’t think that we’d leave an important decision like that last minute, do you? Get that lid off!
Rodney: I’m trying.
Del: Well, Mr Chin. The colour… that I’d thought of… now you may not agree with me but, somehow, I think that you will… you see, what I thought… you can shoot me down in flames in this one if you like, you know what I mean? What I… have you got that lid off yet?
Del: You see, what I thought the colour these walls should be…
Mr Chin: Blue!
Mr Chin: I like blue.
Del: Ah, blue! Jeux sans frontiers! That is exactly what I thought. I thought, “Why don’t we paint these walls a nice, subtle shade of blue?”
Mr chin: What shade of blue?
Del: And then I changed my mind. And then I thought no, no, not blue, no. What I thought we’d do is we would paint them gold.
Rodney: That is yellow.
Del: This is gold, Rodney. What is the matter with you? Are you illiterate or something? No, I thought of gold because I remembered the name of your beautiful restaurant. Gold for the “Golden Locust”.
Mr Chan. Well Mr Trotter, I’ll leave it to you. As long as my kitchen is painted and cleaned up before the health inspector calls, alright?
Rodney: Erm, sorry, sorry, erm… how do you know the health inspector’s calling? I didn’t think they warned you or nothing.
Mr Chin: Oh, I had a telephone call from a man. He did not give me his name but tells me, “Get your kitchen painted or you’ll be in big trouble, John.”
Del: Yeah, John, John. You know, John, it’s an expression, a Cockney expression, “Alright, John” and all that. Somebody up there must like him.
Rodney: I wonder who that anonymous phone caller could have been, Del.
Del: Yeah, we don’t know. Don’t think we’re ever going to find that one out, are we, Rodney, eh? Come on! We must now say “Chow mein” and let our men get on with the work, eh, Mr Chin?
Granddad: Do you think this anonymous person is likely to ring up any other Chinese restaurants and tell them to get their kitchens painted?
Del: Well I had to do something, didn’t I? Otherwise we’d have been lumbered with all this paint. Right, now listen. I’m going to take these boxes with me, right? So, Rodney, you’ll have to water that lot down a bit. No, it’s all right, it’s all right, ’cause you don’t want to put it on too thick, do you? ‘Cause the plaster’s none-too kosher. Just remember: a little dab‘ll do ya. Alright? A little dab’ll do ya.
Granddad: Here, what about all this grease and filth, Del-boy, have you arranged for anyone to clean it up?
Del: Course I have! What do you think I am, a cowboy or something? There’s a tin of Ajax and a rubber glove in that bucket. Go easy on the Ajax. See ya!
“Shoot someone down in flames” means to strongly disagree with someone’s opinion or plan.
“Jeux sans frontiers” is a difficult one to explain! Del often misuses French for, what he believes to be, impressive effect. So, there’s a term “It’s a knockout”, which means “That’s a great idea,” and there used to be a TV show of that title, which had a double meaning – the other meaning being a tournament knock-out like Wimbledon or the World Cup. Well, the French version of the TV show was called “Jeux sans Frontiers” which means “game without borders/limits” but Del probably thought it was a direct translation of “It’s a knockout”. OK, understand? That’s a convoluted explanation but I hope it’s clear.
“John” is often used by Cockneys (East Londoners) to refer to any man, regardless of his name.
“Nothing” – the double negative is a very common part of the London dialect.
“Somebody up there” means God.
“Chow mein” is a Chinese dish, but Del probably got it mixed up with the Italian “ciao”.
To be “lumbered” means to have to deal with something unwanted.
“None too-…” means “not very…”
“Kosher” is the Jewish food standards rule, but in London it is often used to mean “correct/legitimate”.
A “dab” is a small touch of something like paint, ointment etc.
“Do ya” means “do you” in which “do” means “sufficient”.
“Ajax” is a famous brand of cleaning liquid.
“Go easy on the…” means “Don’t use too much, be frugal.”