Talking Strine

Lyrics of the song With air chew
Lyrics of the song ‘With air chew’ (translation below) (NAA: A1336, 66765)

In 1965 Afferbeck Lauder – a pseudonym of the Australian author, graphic designer and abstract painter Alistair Morrison – applied for copyright of the lyrics of a song which he called ‘With air chew’, Strine for ‘Without you’.

The application and registration is held in the National Archives of Australia.

Morrison was inspired to invent ‘Strine’ by a report in a Sydney newspaper in 1964. A customer at a book signing by a visiting British novelist had pushed a copy of her book towards her. ‘Emma chisit?’ the customer asked. Mistaking an inquiry about the price of the book for the customer’s name, the unsuspecting author wrote ‘To Emma Chisit’ and signed the book!

Afferbeck Lauder (say it quickly and run the words together) was ‘Professor of Strine Studies at the University of Sinny’. In 1965 he compiled a handy Strine-English phrase book, Let Stalk Strine. By 1979 the book was into its sixteenth impression and had sold over 140,000 copies.

Let Stalk Strine was followed by other Strine phrase books – Nose Tone Unturned, Fraffly Well Spoken and Fraffly Suite. Morrison also illustrated the books, under the pseudonym Al Terego.

Born in 1911, Alistair Morrison established an international reputation as an artist, typographer and designer. His work was published widely in art catalogues and journals.

He was chairman of the Currency Note Design Group, the committee that advised on the design of Australia’s first decimal currency banknotes in 1966.

With air chew (Without you)

A translation for non-Strine speakers

Without you, without you,
I can hardly live without you,
And I dream about your kisses night and day.
If only we could be alone,
Just you and me and on our own,
And we'd dream about the moon up in the sky.

Without you, without you,
How am I gonna live without you?
While you're only in my dreams I'm always cryin'.
And as true as heaven above
You must know I need your love
'Cause without you in my arms it's no use tryin'.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2014