Discussion:
Knees up
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Tony Cooper
2018-06-10 23:19:47 UTC
Permalink
I've seen, and known the meaning of, the expression "knees up" for
yonks. Coming across it today, though, made me wonder how the
expression came to be and why it signifies a lively time or a party.

Webchecking, I found a reference to a song in an a.u.e. post in late
1999.


Under the table you must go
E-aye, e-aye. e-ay Oh!
If I catch you bending
I'll saw your legs right off.
Knees up, knees up
Never get a breeze up
Knees up, Mother Brown

A later post shows some disagreement:

"As to its origin, that's a different matter. I associate "Knees up!"
with people teaching the revival of English country dancing, like
Cecil Sharpe -- they were fussy about posture and technique -- but
that may not be the source.

Best --- Donna Richoux"

Katy Edgecombe followed with:

"I doubt whether the Mother Brown song owed much to Cecil Sharp, and I
have always supposed that to be the origin of the expression. The
image is more of exuberant high kicks than of conscientious observance
of tradition.

Freely associating, this led me to wonder how many other parts of the
body go metaphorically "up". You can put someone's back up, they can
turn their toes up or turn up their nose. Heads up? Balls-up? Any
more?

Katy"
--
Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
Katy Jennison
2018-06-11 06:33:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tony Cooper
I've seen, and known the meaning of, the expression "knees up" for
yonks. Coming across it today, though, made me wonder how the
expression came to be and why it signifies a lively time or a party.
Webchecking, I found a reference to a song in an a.u.e. post in late
1999.
Under the table you must go
E-aye, e-aye. e-ay Oh!
If I catch you bending
I'll saw your legs right off.
Knees up, knees up
Never get a breeze up
Knees up, Mother Brown
"As to its origin, that's a different matter. I associate "Knees up!"
with people teaching the revival of English country dancing, like
Cecil Sharpe -- they were fussy about posture and technique -- but
that may not be the source.
Best --- Donna Richoux"
"I doubt whether the Mother Brown song owed much to Cecil Sharp, and I
have always supposed that to be the origin of the expression. The
image is more of exuberant high kicks than of conscientious observance
of tradition.
Freely associating, this led me to wonder how many other parts of the
body go metaphorically "up". You can put someone's back up, they can
turn their toes up or turn up their nose. Heads up? Balls-up? Any
more?
Katy"
The OED dates "Knees Up, Mother Brown" to 1939 and says "A light-hearted
popular song beginning thus; a popular dance in which the knees are
vigorously raised to the accompaniment of the song. So ellipt., as
knees-up n. spec. a lively party or gathering. Also occasionally in
extended uses.

English country dancing as revived by Cecil Sharp doesn't include this
particular move.

(I haven't looked for the rest of the thread, which may say precisely this.)
--
Katy Jennison
Madrigal Gurneyhalt
2018-06-11 11:15:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tony Cooper
I've seen, and known the meaning of, the expression "knees up" for
yonks. Coming across it today, though, made me wonder how the
expression came to be and why it signifies a lively time or a party.
Webchecking, I found a reference to a song in an a.u.e. post in late
1999.
Under the table you must go
E-aye, e-aye. e-ay Oh!
If I catch you bending
I'll saw your legs right off.
Knees up, knees up
Never get a breeze up
Knees up, Mother Brown
"As to its origin, that's a different matter. I associate "Knees up!"
with people teaching the revival of English country dancing, like
Cecil Sharpe -- they were fussy about posture and technique -- but
that may not be the source.
Best --- Donna Richoux"
"I doubt whether the Mother Brown song owed much to Cecil Sharp, and I
have always supposed that to be the origin of the expression. The
image is more of exuberant high kicks than of conscientious observance
of tradition.
Freely associating, this led me to wonder how many other parts of the
body go metaphorically "up". You can put someone's back up, they can
turn their toes up or turn up their nose. Heads up? Balls-up? Any
more?
Katy"
--
BrE: a leg-up - assistance (often illicit) in achieving a goal
thumbs-up - a sign of approval
LFS
2018-06-11 11:32:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by Tony Cooper
I've seen, and known the meaning of, the expression "knees up" for
yonks.
I had the great pleasure of attending a recent performance by Chas 'n'
Dave at the Royal Albert Hall, in the company of a bunch of young
Americans living in London who were seeking to get to grips with British
culture and keen to find out what a knees-up is.

The behaviour of the audience was exactly what you would find at a
knees-up in a more conventional venue. The beer was more expensive, though.


Coming across it today, though, made me wonder how the
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by Tony Cooper
expression came to be and why it signifies a lively time or a party.
Webchecking, I found a reference to a song in an a.u.e. post in late
1999.
Under the table you must go
E-aye, e-aye. e-ay Oh!
If I catch you bending
I'll saw your legs right off.
Knees up, knees up
Never get a breeze up
Knees up, Mother Brown
"As to its origin, that's a different matter. I associate "Knees up!"
with people teaching the revival of English country dancing, like
Cecil Sharpe -- they were fussy about posture and technique -- but
that may not be the source.
Best --- Donna Richoux"
"I doubt whether the Mother Brown song owed much to Cecil Sharp, and I
have always supposed that to be the origin of the expression. The
image is more of exuberant high kicks than of conscientious observance
of tradition.
Freely associating, this led me to wonder how many other parts of the
body go metaphorically "up". You can put someone's back up, they can
turn their toes up or turn up their nose. Heads up? Balls-up? Any
more?
Katy"
--
BrE: a leg-up - assistance (often illicit) in achieving a goal
thumbs-up - a sign of approval
Bottoms up!

Wikipedia tells us:


"The song dates back to at least 1918 and appears to have been sung
widely in London on 11 November of that year, Armistice Night, at the
end of the First World War.[1] The 1938 version was attributed to Bert
Lee, Harris Weston and I. Taylor.[2]

The song became popular in English public houses and was particularly
associated with Cockney culture. During the Second World War it was
performed frequently by Elsie and Doris Waters.[3] It was also later
performed on television by Noel Harrison and Petula Clark singing as a
duo.[4]

The expression "knees up" came to mean a party or a dance. Originally,
the phrase referred to the position of the woman in sexual intercourse."
--
Laura (emulate St George for email)
RH Draney
2018-06-11 12:49:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by LFS
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by Tony Cooper
Freely associating, this led me to wonder how many other parts of the
body go metaphorically "up".  You can put someone's back up, they can
turn their toes up or turn up their nose.  Heads up? Balls-up?  Any
more?
BrE: a leg-up - assistance (often illicit) in achieving a goal
thumbs-up - a sign of approval
Bottoms up!
"Toes up" is most often the bowdlerized form of "tits up", meaning
"dead"....r
Madrigal Gurneyhalt
2018-06-11 13:04:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by RH Draney
Post by LFS
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by Tony Cooper
Freely associating, this led me to wonder how many other parts of the
body go metaphorically "up".  You can put someone's back up, they can
turn their toes up or turn up their nose.  Heads up? Balls-up?  Any
more?
BrE: a leg-up - assistance (often illicit) in achieving a goal
thumbs-up - a sign of approval
Bottoms up!
"Toes up" is most often the bowdlerized form of "tits up", meaning
"dead"....r
Except that tits up doesn't mean dead! It means having descended
into chaos or error.

Peter T. Daniels
2018-06-11 11:52:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by Tony Cooper
I've seen, and known the meaning of, the expression "knees up" for
yonks. Coming across it today, though, made me wonder how the
expression came to be and why it signifies a lively time or a party.
Webchecking, I found a reference to a song in an a.u.e. post in late
1999.
Under the table you must go
E-aye, e-aye. e-ay Oh!
If I catch you bending
I'll saw your legs right off.
Knees up, knees up
Never get a breeze up
Knees up, Mother Brown
"As to its origin, that's a different matter. I associate "Knees up!"
with people teaching the revival of English country dancing, like
Cecil Sharpe -- they were fussy about posture and technique -- but
that may not be the source.
Best --- Donna Richoux"
"I doubt whether the Mother Brown song owed much to Cecil Sharp, and I
have always supposed that to be the origin of the expression. The
image is more of exuberant high kicks than of conscientious observance
of tradition.
Freely associating, this led me to wonder how many other parts of the
body go metaphorically "up". You can put someone's back up, they can
turn their toes up or turn up their nose. Heads up? Balls-up? Any
more?
BrE: a leg-up - assistance (often illicit) in achieving a goal
thumbs-up - a sign of approval
I've no idea what "knees up" is, but "give a leg up" is perfectly ordinary
AmE.
Harrison Hill
2018-06-11 12:17:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tony Cooper
I've seen, and known the meaning of, the expression "knees up" for
yonks. Coming across it today, though, made me wonder how the
expression came to be and why it signifies a lively time or a party.
Webchecking, I found a reference to a song in an a.u.e. post in late
1999.
Under the table you must go
E-aye, e-aye. e-ay Oh!
If I catch you bending
I'll saw your legs right off.
Knees up, knees up
Never get a breeze up
Knees up, Mother Brown
"As to its origin, that's a different matter. I associate "Knees up!"
with people teaching the revival of English country dancing, like
Cecil Sharpe -- they were fussy about posture and technique -- but
that may not be the source.
Best --- Donna Richoux"
"I doubt whether the Mother Brown song owed much to Cecil Sharp, and I
have always supposed that to be the origin of the expression. The
image is more of exuberant high kicks than of conscientious observance
of tradition.
Freely associating, this led me to wonder how many other parts of the
body go metaphorically "up". You can put someone's back up, they can
turn their toes up or turn up their nose. Heads up? Balls-up? Any
more?
Katy"
--
Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
The wiki article seems very detailed:

'In 1980 Fozzie Bear performed this song in an episode of The Muppet
Show with his mother, Emily, portraying "Mother Brown."'

<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knees_Up_Mother_Brown>
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