Such a lovely word for such a lot of misery. Life would be paradise without all the ROMPSLOMP, that’s for sure.
Picture by Peter Vos for the book ‘Trio voor één hand’ by Simon Carmiggelt,1986
Originally in the sixteenth century ROMP SLOMP was an interjection and not a noun. It was used for slapdash, hit-or-miss movements. It could also refer to a slipshod person. Early 20th century the word was used as a noun meaning ‘beslommering’ (worry, bother). Just as lovely and just as botherful as ROMPSLOMP is BESLOMMERING, don’t you think?
Ask a Dutchman over fifty to name a writer who is famous for writing about every-day misery, gloomy BESLOMMERINGEN and other ROMPSLOMP and there’s a good chance that the name CARMIGGELT will pop up. Who was this Carmiggelt?
On 2nd March we celebrated the hundredth birthday (VERJAARDAG) of Godfried Bomans, the author born in The Hague (see previous post) by unveiling a plaque on the Bierkade where he was born. Bomans’ witty remarks made everyone laugh out loud.
On 7th October of this year we will celebrate the hundredth birthday of his colleague Simon Carmiggelt (Den Haag, 7 October 1913 – Amsterdam, 30 November 1987). His writings were humorous as well but not in the style of Bomans’ wit. Carmiggelt’s observations of daily life were funny in a dry, melancholic way. Bomans and Carmiggelt were brothers in art but opposites in temperament. Bomans was more outgoing (catholic), Carmiggelt more introvert (protestant). Bomans was an exaggerator and Carmiggelt a minimalist.
HALLO Mr Mayor, hallo Mr Jozias van Aartsen, let’s not forget Carmiggelt’s VERJAARDAG in October. Let’s take away the ugly black plaque on Loosduinsekade 206 and honour him with a blue ‘London’-style plaque like the one Bomans received.
Carmiggelt’s favourite word must have been ROMPSLOMP. He had an eye and ear for everyday bother. He wrote his columns which he called ‘Kronkels’ (twistings) for the newspaper (Parool) and read them on the radio and television. He was immensely popular.
His columns are still very funny. Learning Dutch? You can buy his books in any second hand bookshop. Excellent practice. Full of idioms and expressions.
Here is one of his many aphorisms: ‘Alimentatie is huishoudgeld zonder rompslomp. Ik blijf het betreuren dat mannen er niet voor in aanmerking komen.’ (Alimony is a housekeeping allowance without the bother. I still regret that men aren’t qualified for it.)