1. Patron saint of the city of Glasgow.
2. Cheap felted fabric made from waste wool.
3. A dumpster diver – one who extracts valuable things from trash.
4. A river in New Zealand.
5. A town and municipality in Huambo Province in Angola.
6. Mongolian monetary unit worth one hundredth of a tugrik (well, “mongo”)
The word has beautiful appeal, doesn’t it? All definitions I’ve found, the above. I think I like #3 the most. Something about the idea of looking for value in the commonplace, the discards and rejections of more refined tastes. Making beauty out of the hoi polloi.
I love this word – say it again, draw it out: m u n g o….
The sound of it, an everyman’s sound. Every village should have one. Makes me think of a bit character in a Shakespeare play, in the wings and mentioned once. A footnote in a history book. Someone’s brother, less accomplished and passed away somewhere. Once made it as an understudy. A lot of places in Australia.
Yet all those mungos have such disparate meanings! Maybe that’s part of the beauty of it, the random throw together of flotsam, it just needs a name. What to call it? Mungo! A reliable friend, a word impervious to judgement, a sound that won’t judge you for mispronouncing it. A perfect name for a dog.
But digging a little further, I find the original of the one hit wonder In the Summer Time, by muttoned Mungo Jerry and his hap-pap-py hirsute friends. Banjo and jug, foot stomp, yeah. It may be February, but skip the flippin’ ad, get yourself a neck scarf and start stompin’!
Sing along with us, dee dee dee dee dee
Da da da da da, yeah we’re hap-pap-py
Da da da dee da doo dee da dee da dee da da, yeah
Da da da da da, dee da da de da da