Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Monday, 18 April 2016

"To swan" and "to front out" - Help please!

Dear You,
my silence - sorry - has to do with my work.
At the moment I am working on "New Tricks" (love it!) - and would appreciate your help to translate this:

Brian: "Listen, if we go in there now, we’re the ones breaking the law. The days of swanning into villains’ houses and fronting it out are over, Gerry.” Gerry: “Yeah. You’re right.” (Turns and enters). „I feel 30 years younger. Come on!“

I LOVE Gerry Standing! (Dennis Waterman).
And I understand what Brian says, but what exactly does "swanning/swaning into" mean? (I think: entering a house - without permission - with more than one person?)
And "fronting it out" - does it mean "to sit it out", if a Chief Superintendant tells you, that that was unlawful?
Thank you!

31 comments:

  1. Swanning in - to enter in a dramatic or attention seeking manner.
    Fronting out - putting on a brave face.

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    1. Oh thank you, Rosemary: that makes (of course!) sense, and I will translate it this way. It is always a bit difficult with colloquial or slang expressions, especially when they are a bit dated. (Not these ones).

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  2. 'Swanning' into somewhere is to casually wander in without formality. I have never thought of it before, but this is how swans move - very casually. 'Swanning around' is to casually wander around without obvious purpose. It is the opposite of 'marching in'.

    'Fronting it out' is to maintain your position in the face of opposition or doubt from others, even if you think you may be wrong. It is the opposite of turning your back - hence 'fronting it out'.

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    1. Thank you too, Tom: so "swanning" is a very graphic, visual expression. (I just met a swan in Kaufbeuren, who protected his Lady who was hatching. He had impressive wide wings! And I love to hear them when they fly). So it means: entering a house with no search warrant, and without a concrete suspicion - more a vague feeling. Of course nowadays that would cause some "fronting out"-situation, later in the office!

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    2. Yes, I believe so. I know other people above and below are talking about ostentation, but I think it means something more relaxed than that, and not necessarily to do with confidence. It is more careless than confident, I think.

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    3. Ah! Gerry possesses both, I think. Have a fine time in Spain, Tom! (Just read your header on my blog list here)

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  3. Hi Britta,
    To swan means to go ostentatiously, with full confidence, i.e. entering the villians' houses without a care in the world, and 'front it out' means to put a bold face on it, stand up to the situation without faltering.

    Mise

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    1. Thank you too, Mise! Dennis Waterman/Gerry does not lack confidence - and though I know that he has his nickname "Last man standing" because he did not accept bribes when working for the vice squad, regarding Gerry's character I sometimes doubt whether this name might a double meaning - so sexy and with three ex-wives who collect sometimes cosily around his dining table... :-) (At least in German we have this second meaning).

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  4. To swan in means to go in like you own the bloody place without a fucking care in the world.
    To front it out means to be bold and not falter whatever anyone might say or think.
    I am at work, no time to go into further detail, but really needed anyway.

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    1. Or even not really needed.

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    2. Dear Rachel, thank you too! From now on I will "swan" into the nice little bar/pub nearby. Did you like "New Tricks"?

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    3. "Indeed, when ambitious superintendent Sandra Pullman (Redman) first took charge of the Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad it was only for a one-off pilot.
      But the reputations of Waterman, Bolam, Armstrong and Redman pulled in enough viewers for the BBC to grudgingly commission a full series – and then something strange happened. These curmudgeonly coppers, baffled by new technology, hating modern policing methods and clearly in no state to mount a rooftop chase, proved gripping to viewers across the globe." At their best episode, they had 9,75 million viewers on BBC1 in GB - and 12 series à 10 episodes is something. Maybe interesting for you: "Roy Mitchell, Creator of the series; being a supporter of the English football team West Bromwich Albion, named numerous characters after past and then-current players. The original three main male characters derived their names from the club's oldest stand, "The Halfords Lane Stand".

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    4. With all due respect, and I know you sometimes think I am being rude, but I would like to say that we are not all glued to the BBC, or tv at all, in Great Britain and of the 10 or 12 million who may watch something that you adore and think epitomises life here, there's 50 million of us not watching.

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  5. This is interesting, Britta. I'm learning. I was wondering, could the term be associated to policemen or investigators? - They move around in a casual manner, as if not interested on what is going on, but they are actually looking for evidence. Greetings Maria x

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    1. Thank you too, Maria! Yes, very clever: the TV series is a police drama - very, very funny and highly recommendable (so I think - I watch the whole series - and these are 12 series with 10 episodes each! So I must be a fan). It was shown in 25 countries, so I bet in Italy too - but, as we both discussed before: maybe under a completely different title.. Please look at Youtube if you know them. Greetings, Britta x

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  6. I love this kind of question! You probably have enough answers by now, but I will add my 2 cents anyway. Rachel has got the best definition for "to swan". I've never heard "to front out" so I assume it's a Britishism.

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    1. Dear Shawn, I hadn't expected so much help, and I can use it well, thank you too! I think that "to confront" is the start of that colloquialism - maybe mixed with "to sit out"? Whatsoever: I do have a very good guideline for my translation, so:
      THANKS TO YOU ALL!

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  7. I have never heard of swanning so I cannot help you there. To front it out means to be brazen and act as if you are the one in control of the situation. Now I will have to read the rest of the comments to see if I can learn something.

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    1. Dear Emma, your comment just came in, thank you too! "Brazen" describes the person who uses it very well. By the way: I know that "New Tricks" had a big American fan club - did you see it too? (Run from 2003 - 2015 in England).

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    2. Sorry. I had not heard of it before.

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  8. I am sure you'll have had a zillion answers. I've always thought of swanning in as making a confident yet self-consciously casual entrance - a certain amount of bravado is assumed but never overt.

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    1. Thanks to you, too, Pondside! I'm really surprised at the many answers. It is just the way a person like Gerry would enter. (unlawful, of course).

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  9. Dear Brigitta, I'm not familiar with "swanning" but it reminded me of an American colloquial gerund --possibly the opposite of swanning-- "pussyfooting", which describes a cat's tentative and indirect route into a room. Swanning suggests a more deliberate and confident grand entrance.

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    1. Dear Geo., thank you! "Pussyfooting" I have heard before - and it is as graphic as "swanning". I think the stare of a swan is quite haughty and confident - he believes in his power.

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  10. Swanning is to enter brazenly without permission. When challenged. "Hey, you what are you doing swanning in here?" Then you'd front it out, "Oh, I was just looking for my dog. He ran this way. You haven't seen him have you. If you do his name's Bobby."

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    1. Thank you too, Gwil! So interesting: when you are on the look-out for something you often find it: I saw the new BBC version of "Mapp & Lucia", and there Diva says about Miss Mapp. "She was swanning in as if she owned the place." (If you know Miss Mapp, you know that she did just that - own it - but she let it every year).

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  11. I forgot to say there's also a thing called "swan necking". It basically means looking over people's shoulders to see for example what they are reading, often seen on the train or in the bus queue.

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  12. I wish I'd read this earlier! For centuries (I guess) it has been the case that British swans belong to the queen (or king). Consequently, "swanning", in English, has a suggestion of a sort of royal aloofness about it.

    http://www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/discoverandlearn/birdguide/name/m/muteswan/swans_humans.aspx

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    1. This is very interesting (and helpful), thank you! "Annual swan-upping" is a tradition in Hamburg, too (well: Hamburg is the most Anglophilic city in Germany, so it is no surprise).

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  13. I can recommend a film I saw at the cinema yesterday:

    "A Hologram for a KIng".

    I think you'll find it interesting.

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