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Where to start???
OK! Why 'coconut'? Cyril was widely known as 'Cyril Coconut Duncan'. He loved the sound of the word itself, sometimes pronouncing it in unusual ways, often with a large emphasis on 'nuts' - cocoNUTS. To Cyril, a person's head (and his own) was a coconut. Well, they are both hard, and hairy, and can give out a hollow sound! He would often go up to people (only those he knew!!), squeezing their head with just one or maybe 2 hands, calling it a coconut, sometimes saying 'I'd love to know what's inside your brain!' If you were lucky (unlucky??) he might rap on your head with his knuckles so see if it sounded hollow (a bit like a coconut!!)
As Caitriona says in her story "He used to call me Caitrionabum and roundhead, which of course at first made me mad but later laugh!! He even measured the ‘circumference of my head’ to show its perfect roundness, something only Cyril could do." (see Travels/Travels with Caitriona)
He was quite likely to give people good advice, especially if they were going out into the world (wordld) - 'Don't sit under the coconut tree, 'cause the coconuts might kill you!'
To his family and friends the words 'Cyril' and 'Coconut' will forever be synonymous.
While most kids today aquire nicknames, Cyril had numerous, many made up by himself. The following is just a selection!
Cyrdil (or Cyrdle), Cyrildy Dyrdildy, Dirdle, Pirdle, Birdle (girdle was reserved for describing girls!!),
The name Squodge mutated into Dodge and from there to The Dodge, Cyril the Dodger,or just The Dodger.
Of course the last 'name' used for Cyril was that used by the pupils in his class, whom he loved so much - they called him 'Teacher Cereal'.
EXTRA!!! - from Richie Power
Heading on his Bebo Page - 'I'm a coconut!!!
Muc Muc - nose of a dog
'I think I'm going in reverse'
OUTERZONE"Cyril is this mentalist who comes from a whacky place called Cyrdle's world...."
Monkey Bum - He used to call his brother Garmon ‘Monkey Bum One’ and he called himself ‘Monkey Bum Two’. He also called his brother ‘Roundy’ and also ‘Round Ball’ and ‘Eight Ball’. He also called his brother Garmon ‘A Circle’ – being a variation of ‘Roundy’ .
The word Monkey bum also gave rise to Cyril's expression 'Monkey bum rash' - nappy rash occuring predominantly in Bar and Kitchen staff and on hot holidays (If you are in a hot climate walking around your legs become chaffed)..
In addressing his friends and family, Cyril often added the word 'bum', but only in an affectionate way - Brian Bum, Caitriona Bum.
He called his girlfriend Catriona ‘Chuck’.
One of his close friends was called (affectionately) ‘The Grump’.If Cyril didn’t like you he called you a name something like ‘The Cracken’. If he thought that someone was a bit 'for the brids' he would refer to them as ‘Lampshade’.
He used to call Portmarnock where he lived ‘The Projects’ as there had been a project carried out in Portmarnock and the people of Portmarnock were the actual project. It was akin to living in a little Island and the people were being used for experiments as part of the Project.
His grandmother was ‘Granny Duncan’ but more often he called her ‘The Queen of the Culchies’ (if she wasn't in earshot as she didn’t particularly like it! He called his Mum ‘Lekky’ and he called his Dad ‘Briano’. He also picked up some Thai expressions, some of which were not particularly nice such as “Eh Haa”. He would use this expression as a joke when with his friends.
He called the Duncan family car ‘The Space Wagon’ and he called Catriona’s car ‘The Hot Player Chick Mobile’.
He had so many names for the family dog, which was a brown Labrador called “Sandy” ........... ‘The Mo Mo Keeba’ , ‘Chestnut Keeba’, ‘Keeba Mo Mo’, ‘Keeba Bow Wow ’.
It seemed as if nothing could be called its 'proper' name!
He also used the word ‘Chocolate’ a lot . He would emphasise the word differently at different times - such as Chock-O-lit. He would use this word if anything was nice. If he thought a girl was nice he would call her ‘Chock-O-lit’ (probably with a bit of lip smaking). If somebody was a little bit too hip he used the expression ‘He is a little bit Pink Panther’.
He used the word ‘juice’ to describe something wonderful. If he thought a computer game was good he would call it ‘juice’ or ‘juiceee’. He would also use these words to describe a good movie. Cyril would refer to your head as being ‘juicy’ and would ask ‘Will I get the juice out of it?’ He reckoned he could squeeze his own brain and get the juice out of it!!
Cyril used to put a different pronunciation on lots of words, particularly when he inserted the ‘d’ after the ‘r’ in words like Cyril, world, orange, herald etc. He would have sentences full of these expressions. For example, the word orange would become ‘Ordange’; Herald (as in the Evening Herald) would become ‘Herdald’. Girls used to become ‘Girdls’, World would become ‘Wordld’. This started when Cyril used to try to copy his Dad’s country accent, and soon took on a life of its own. He used to come out with funny expressions all the time using in particular this device to construct sentence after sentence.
He used the word ‘squidgeon’ and also used expressions like ‘Doing a Humpty Dumpty’ which is a quick relieving movement of the bowels – especially after a hot curry!
‘Doing a Humpty Dumpty’ - some more information from Richard: 'I need a humpty dumpty' - Meaning - A declaration of need to relieve a motion of the bowels
A word often used by his Dad, Brian, was 'machine', but pronounced (West of Ireland style) as 'Maachine'. Cyril latched on to this expression, further emphasising it 'Maaaaachines' and using it for all technological devices of all complexities ranging from satellites to humble scissors.
Another expression which Cyril used was ‘odd ball’. He used to play around with words such as ‘oddball’ and if somebody called him an ‘odd ball’, which they did from time to time, he would say ‘No! I’m an Even Ball”. And as we said already he often called Garmon his brother '8 ball'.
He had 2 most unusual 'body quirks' - he could NOT bend his thumb!!! (that must have led to some interesting moments.) Particulary strange was his ability to turn his feet in an almost ‘Chaplinesque’ style, in that he was able to turn his feet around to almost 180 degrees angle (he would be facing forward, but his feet facing almost directly backward!!!)
As you can imagine, Cyril was not a person to just sit in silence! If there was silence in the room Cyril would do various ‘pops’ with his mouth and make different sounds, just to liven things up and make others laugh.
Also please go to the stories page to read 'Cyrdil's Wordld' by Brian Mc Partlan, and Robert McGarr's story called 'Sounds of Cyril' in which he says "He developed an alternative vocabulary to refer to all kinds of things, including himself. He became a visitor from another dimension called “burdledy-durdledy”."
© Cyril Duncan
Siam Children's Foundation