QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “There was me, that is Alex, and then my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim.” This is the introduction of Alex Delarge and his three friends and the second line in the book. The four are at The Korova Milkbar enjoying milk mixed with different drugs in order to prepare them for a night of crime. The quote is also the first use of the odd vocabulary prevalent in the entirety of A Clockwork Orange. Their slang is derived from Russian, and I will translate each word after a quote it’s used in or at the end of the blog entry.
The four boys, enjoying their drug-laced milk are dressed in “the heighth of fashion, which in those days was a pair of black very tight tights with the old jelly mould, as we called it, fitting on the crutch underneath the tights” The outfits they’re dressed in are this entry’s cover theme. It’s a picture of the four boys from the movie version of A Clockwork Orange made by Stanley Kubrick.
At the bar, Alex spots three devotchkas, young women, with colored wigs and makeup and dresses to match. “These sharps were dressed in the heigheth of fashion too, with purple and green and orange wigs on their gullivers, each one not costing less than three or four weeks of those sharps’ wages, I should reckon, and make-up to match (rainbow round the glazzies, that is, and the rot painted very wide).” A gulliver is a head, glazzies are the eyes, and the rot is the mouth. Next to the boys is a drunken chelloveck (man) spewing off something unintelligible. After a long soliloquy about the feeling one would get from drinking a moloko-plus (the drug-laced milk), Alex calls his droogs to leave the bar and begin their night of ultra-violence.
Alex previously mentioned that their pockets were full of deng, so there’d be no need to commit crime for the sole purpose of money. The foul crime Alex and his droogs commit that night were for fun.
Their first victim is a poor old man leaving the biblio (library) with a few books in his hand. “It would interest me greatly, brother, if you would kindly allow me to see what books those are that you have under your arm. I like nothing better than a good clean book.” Alex asked for the books the old man had, which I believe are all educational books. For one, the titles of the three named books are Elementary Crystallography, The Miracle of the Snowflake, and The Rhombohedral System. I believe Alex is lying when he says, “Then I said in a very shocked type goloss: ‘But what is this here? What is this filthy slovo? I blush to look at the word. You disappoint me, brother, you do really.'” I also don’t believe Georgie when he says, “There’s one slovo beginning with an f and another with c.'” Why should I trust teenage delinquents freshly buzzed from milk mixed with several different drugs? Regardless of what was really in the books, Alex and his droogs beat the old man in a violent sequence of action. “Pete held his rookers and Georgie sort of hooked his rot wide open for him and Dim yanked out his false zoobies, upper and lower. He threw these on the pavement and then I treated them to the old bootcrush, though they were hard bastards like, being made of some new horrorshow plastic stuff. The old veck began to make some sort of chumbling shooms- ‘wuf waf wof’- so Georgie let go of holding his goobers apart and just let him have one in the toothless rot with his ringy fist, and that made the old veck start moaning a lot then, then out comes the blood, my brothers, real beautiful. So all we did then was to pull his outer platties off, stripping him down to his vest and long underpants (very starry; Dim smecked his head off near), and then Pete kicks him lovely in his pot, and we let him go.” The new words from this line of quotes are goloss, which is a voice, slovo, a word, rookers, which are arms (and mentioned earlier, but I didn’t have a quote with them), zoobies, teeth (or in this case the old man’s dentures), horrorshow, which is a very contradictory word since it actually means something is of high-quality), chumbling, which means hard to understand/ mumbling, shooms, which is just noise, veck, also meaning man or person, platties, which are clothes, starry, which means old, and smecked, which is laughing. To translate just what Alex and his droogs did to this old man: Pete held his arms back while Georgie ripped out his dentures and Alex crushed them, then Georgie sucker-punched the man and he started to bleed, then they strip the old man, and to finish him off, Georgie kicks him straight in his stomach. They also tore out pages of the books, but that’s not as bad as beating a defenseless man. After stealing the man’s money and ripping up his clothes, Alex and his droogs are now in need of an alibi to keep themselves from the reach of the law.
Moving on to make their alibi, Alex spots a few babootchkas (old women) and orders them Large Scotchmen. The old woman thank Alex, but they can’t help but feel that something is off, which is totally understandable considering four teenagers walked in, ordered drinks for you and your friends, and provided money to get food and alcohol delivered to their houses for seemingly no reason other than to just do it. I’m sure there’s a reason why, something to do with their alibis the four still need. The four are then back on the street and reach one of their old hot spots for delinquency.
“Well, we went off now round the corner to Attlee Avenue, and there was this sweets and cancers shop still open. We’d left them alone near three months now and the whole district had been very quiet on the whole, so the armed millicents or rozz patrols weren’t round there much, being more north of the river these days. We put our maskies on-new jobs these were, real horrorshow, wonderfully done really; they were like the faces of historical personalities… and I had Disraeli, Pete had Elvis Presley, Georgie had Henry VIII and poor old Dim had a poet veck called Peebee Shelley; they were a real like disguise, hair and all, and they were some very special plastic veshch so you could roll up when you’d done with it and hide it in your boot- then three of us went in, Pete keeping chasson without, not that there was anything to worry about out there.” In this quote, Alex introduces one of their old spots to rob three months prior. With all of their money spent on the babootchkas, they donned plastic masks and entered the store. Pete watched out for any police while the other three went inside do perform some ultra-violence. New words in this quote are millicents, which are police officers, rozz, which are also police (this word is derived from cockney rhyming slang instead of Russian like many other words), maskies, which are obviously masks, veshch, which is just a general word for thing, and chasson, which is to be on guard.
I’ll finish off what happened in the store and what happened afterwards in my next blog post, just to keep some suspense building. Until next time readers (I’ll also start the glossary next entry, there are A LOT of words I have to add into my computer’s dictionary so I don’t get those annoying red lines every single time I quote the book!)