[Dave Birch] I’m going to have to stop using the time-worn vernacular “as bent as a nine-bob note”. Up until decimalisation in 1973, the British shilling of twelve pennies was known as the “bob”. Hence the ten shilling note was the ten bob note. For some odd reason, and I really can’t remember why, I never saw the replacement 5p piece as a bob, nor have I ever referred to a 10p piece as two bob, but for a long time I called a 50p piece a “ten bob piece” (in fact I can distinctly remember once asking my younger brother for ten bob and being genuinely surprised when he had no idea what I was talking about). So ten bob was a sizable amount of coin of the realm whereas nine bob meant something that was clearly fraudulent (as in “the Enron P&L statement was as bent as nine bob note”). But it now transpires that there was in fact at least one nine bob note: the Irish “Newports Bank” issued a nine shilling note in 1799, and a specimen has just been sold at auction in the U.K. for three thousand euros. So what is to be our post-cash alternative: as bent as a… what? As bent as a card with a magnetic stripe on it… no, wait… as bent as an IBAN with an invalid check digit… as bent as an SDA clone with an invalid digital signature… they don’t seem to have the ring to them, do they?

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Our children will surely miss the rich language of cash once it evaporates into cyberspace. No more greenbacks or dimes, no more fivers or farthings. No appropriate slang term has yet arisen to mean — specifically — electronic cash. We need to put our thinking caps on: what is the 21st century addition to beans, bread, bucks, cabbage, chips, dough, lucre, loot, mazuma, moolah, wad or spondoolicks that will make its way into the thesaurus? I’ve always liked wonga, so I was thinking “vonga” (constructed from virtual wonga) or perhaps “wenga” (I don’t know why, I just like the “e” in there).

These opinions are my own (I think) and presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]


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