gandydancer: (falling.)

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Created on 2009-11-11 21:48:47 (#457464), last updated 2011-11-24 (386 weeks ago)

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Birthdate:Jul 17
There's much doubt and confusion about this wonderful expression for a member of a track-laying or maintenance crew. It is first recorded in 1918. Since then it has had various slang meanings, including a petty crook or tramp, an Italian, a jitterbug, or a womaniser or active socialite. But the original sense referred to a worker who tamped down the ballast between the ties using a special tool. This involved vigorous stamping on the tool while turning in a circle, an action which might be taken to resemble dancing.

The tool was seemingly called a gandy, but where the name came from is a mystery. It would seem it was based on some bit of railway slang now lost to us. The idea that it referred to a Chicago business named the Gandy Manufacturing Company—which supposedly supplied a variety of tools to railway workers—seems to rest on a reference in a book called Railroad Avenue by Freeman H Hubbard, published in 1945. Several people have searched for this business, but have failed to find any trace of it in railway trade journals or Chicago city directories of the period. However, a number of otherwise reputable works continue to give this as the source.

Some writers have suggested that gandy may be a corrupted form of gander, from the nodding heads of the workers using the tool, implying that the tool was actually named after the gandy dancer who used it.

Interests (150):

active socialites, aimee mann, alain robbe-grillet, alexander mcqueen, andre de lorde, armelle pioline, blaine alan, blind spots, boyd rice, buster keaton, c'est plus pareil, carolyn stoddard, carth (sigh), cathy and heathcliff, chandeliers, changeling, creep by daylight, cries of ecstasy, dare wright, dark shadows, david cronenberg, defenestration, dogs, drive-ins, drowning, edward fairfax rochester, electric six, emily brontë, english cocker spaniels, errol morris, eugenie de mistival, exhaustion, eyeglasses, feigned affections, films. movies. sinny, fire walk with me, flying guillotines, forgetting, frank quitely, friend=chaos, fuzzy sedgwick, gandy manufacturing co., geisha smiles, go ask alice, god is just desire, grain silos, grand guignol, grant morrison, grey eyes sporting life, harmony made into flesh, hidden treehouses, hiroshima, his mustard seed, hitomi nagao, holden, hong kong danger duo, hostage to dishonour, houdini, huell howser, humbert humbert, i missed the glance, ich vergesse, italians, j.g.ballard, jane eyre, jap bikes kick ass, jellyfish, jimmy cagney, jitterbugs, joan and jimmy otp, joan blondell, john simm, johnny rotten's sweater, last flowers till hospital, lee hazlewood, lemora a child's tale..., librarian in dreams, life on mars (uk), lighthouses, lila lee, michael jayston, michael palin, miles and flora, mimo, mr. dick valentine, my hands are paws, my iron lung, nagasaki, nevada-tan, new romantics, night nurse, nightmares (cauchemar!), not being real, obsessions, old english fairytales, older men, orgy at the lighthouse, ostende, owls, patrick mcgoohan, petty thievery, pho, pills, polish food, pomegranates, poorly executed plans, preachers with dark desires, prestidigitation, professors and kissing them, quint and jessel, railroads, railway slang, rainbeaux smith, richard blackburn, robert oppenheimer, rotary dial phones, rye fields, saints, sally wentworth, sam and annie, sass, saucy dames, scott walker, scratch moded, sea and cake, sea shanties, sleeping sickness, teller of penn&, the baron samedi, the big sadness, the black water depth, the flowers of romance, the four horsemen, the gytrash, the lonely doll, the rust belt, the singin' angel, timothy dalton, trains, tramps, trotter, violet winspear, we all love columbo, willie loomis, wind and blustery days, womanisers, world of warcraft, worrying, yate meachem, you go first
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