The Original Hipster Dictionary

Anyone under the age of 40 know what I’m talking about here?

Courtesy of my pal Bob Fergusson comes the “Slim Gaillard Vout- O-Reenee Dictionary”.


Slim Gaillard was an American jazz singer, songwriter, pianist, and guitarist, noted for his vocalese singing and word play in a language he called “Vout”. Hence the dictionary. Some of the pages are missing, but its worth taking a look to relive a classic bygone age (oh for a time machine) and revel in his ingenuity and creativity.



~ by john on April 9, 2009.

26 Responses to “The Original Hipster Dictionary”

  1. I’d never heard of this – cool. I’m guessing 1940s? I admit to Googling for the answer, but didn’t find it.

  2. Love this blog I’ll be back when I have more time.

  3. thanks! glad you like it, come back and visit soon.

  4. Wasn’t this publication the one the actors in ‘Swing Kids’ were reading out loud in that film?

  5. I have not seen the movie, but will check into it. I know that there is a Slim Gailliard song on the movie soundtrack though, “Flat Foot Floogie”. Thanks for stopping by, hope to hear from you again.

  6. Cool! Any chance to find the page for “A” & “B”? Or was there some taboo-a-reenee on words starting with those letters 🙂

  7. I’ll keep looking, but I haven’t been able to find that page anywhere….thanks for stopping by though!

  8. How much do you think this book is worth? I have one for sale.

  9. I don’t know how much the book is worth, guess depends somewhat on condition and if all the pages are still there etc.

    How much are you asking?

  10. The dictionary looks as good as the one pictured here. All the pages are in tact. I haven’t determined an asking price, yet. As far as I can tell, mine is the only one available.

  11. Let me know when you do settle on a price, I might be interested in buying it.


    John My Website

  12. From what I can gather, this dictionary is worth $20,000. But for you…I’ll take $19,000. Thanks, Hahn Furst

  13. JUST reading this…Nice try! 🙂 I am Slim’s daughter so I know what’s up with the dictionary…I can assume no takers at 19,000…Happy to know that people still speak of him and that he brought a lot of fun into music. Miss him…Vout.

  14. Hey Jan, Has anyone ever offered to buy your copy? Do you know what people will pay? I’m not looking to sell mine, but I’m curious to know if I’ll be spending my golden years in Hawaii or Piscataway:) Also, is there still a film about Slim in the works? I’d love to see it. Have you seen the BBC documentary?

  15. Hi Jan – thank you so much for stopping by my blog, your father is very much still thought of and I play his music on my radio show whenever I can. He was so far ahead of his time and a real inspiration to many.
    I certainly don’t have $19,000 to pay for a dictionary, but hope to pick one up someday. Vout!! Cheers, John.

  16. I often used to see Slim Gaillard late at night in the WAG Club, (Whiskey-A-GoGo), in Wardour Street, London, around the late seventies / early eighties. At that time Slim had a room in The Chelsea Arts Club, who provided accommodation for him. Slim would turn up at various venues around London to see The Chevalier Brothers perform. Occasionally he’d join them for a few numbers on piano or guitar, which was just amazing. I feel so very very privileged to have seen him play. Incidentally The Chevalier Brothers still play if you’d like to look them up!

  17. Incidentally, I notice a word missing from the Vout Dictionary… Stashframe… Slim’s word for his bed, ha ha ha

  18. Andrew, many thanks for stopping by, I wish I had seen Slim live!

  19. I am proud to say I was a friend of Slim’s I was in my early 20’s and he was in I guess his 70’s and we would hang out at the chelsea arts club we just got on and used to laugh alot or go dancing at Ronnie Scots, wow what a dancer, what a musician. he had so many friends because his attitude was one we should all learn from, to keep things easy and be free with what you have. Therefore if you have the whole dictionary please replicate all of it so we can learn the language and share it with the world! If I ever get a club Im going to call it Vout o Reenee’s in his honour and I shall invent a cool slim cocktail after him. He was an extremely special person. Jan if you read this, he used to speak about you with a lot of love and pride. Thanks for this piece and the memories.

  20. many thanks for stopping by and so glad you like the story. I’ll fwd your comment onto Jan and I’ll visit Vout O’ Rennee’s when you get it open!

  21. Dear John, If you could forward this on to Jan.
    It looks like we have a premises for Vout-O-Reenee’s in London, and you will be welcome any time.Please do get in touch. .
    It is a club for the surrealistically distinguished, for true artists, as Slim was. We will be keeping a piano in the corner for him.
    i’d like at some point to reprint the dictionary and get all the members to learn the language, what would be the copyright permission on it Jan?
    If you’re ever in London let me know,
    Sunny Regards

  22. Hi Sophie – I will pass along to her and any response I get.

    Thanks so much for doing what you’re doing and I will absolutely stop by if ever in London.


  23. 2 portraits of Slim Gaillard by the wonderful keeler and Tornero are in the hall way of our club at the crypt of 30 prescot st London E1 8BB called Vout-o-Reenees in homage to slim. Every night we play at least one of his albums. Fans of Slim are welcome to come and see what this wonderful man inspired for the Surealistically Distinguished.

  24. very cool Sophie, I’ll def be stopping in whenever I get back to London….keep up the good work and keeping his memory alive

  25. Mike Barnett the bassist told me how Slim was introduced to the actor Mickey Rooney. “Slim Gaillard, this is Mickey Rooney.”
    Rooney: “Hey, Slim, how ya doin’?”
    Slim: “Hey Mickey, what’s your last name?”

  26. […] I’m looking at, but it seems like 20th century cartoonists enjoyed poking fun at swing jive enthusiasts and beatniks way more than they did hippies or punk rockers. I don’t have any […]

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