Playing Za-za on Blackboy Hill

08Sep10

This here is something I came across when looking for something else altogether. Da youth in Bristol playing chicken in the 1950s. Wonder if this was a proper craze, and whether it was always known locally as “Za-za”, or whether it was only a name cooked up by these two irresponsible young ruffians (now pensioners, if still alive). I can’t find any reference anywhere else to a game by this name.

It’s from The Times, August 16 1956

YOUTHS PLAY ZA-ZA IN BUSY TRAFFIC

“MOTIONLESS UNTIL NERVE BREAKS”

Bristol Magistrates were told yesterday of a game called “Za-za” in which youths stand motionless among traffic until their nerve breaks.

James Uzzell, aged 19, and John Keenaghan, aged 21, both of Danbury Crescent, Southmead, Bristol, were each fined £2 after they had pleaded guilty by letter to obstructing deliberately the flow of traffic by standing in the highway.

Chief-inspector Sims said in evidence that they were standing in the way of traffic in Blackboy Hill late at night so that vehicles – “and there were quite a few” – had to clow down and make their way past them. Eventually one car could not go round them, and the driver was sounding his horn and flashing his lights.

One of these two grown men, continued the inspector, said that they were playing a game called “Za-za”. Apparently the idea was to stand in the road facing the traffic until one became alarmed and gave up. He would then use the words “Za-za” and the other man would be the winner. He added that Uzzell told a police constable: “It was only a bit of fun”.

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