The Full Monty

the full monty

The full monty is a British slang phrase of uncertain origin. It is generally used to mean “everything which is necessary, appropriate, or possible; ‘the works’”,[1] and has been in common usage in the north of England for many years.

Many theories are proposed as to the origin of this phrase, but none of them is supported by reliable historical evidence. Perhaps the most plausible is that it is from a colloquial shortening of the name of Montague Maurice Burton (1885-1952), men’s tailor, and referred originally to the purchase of a complete three-piece suit.

Also popular but unsubstantiated is the belief that the phrase is somehow derived from Monty, the nickname of Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery (1887-1976).

One useful side effect of being stuck in Hong Kong, is that I’ve had a suit, spare trousers and shirts made to measure. Hong Kong tailoring is not cheap, but the fabrics are high quality, the tailoring is excellent and being rather large, it is not easy for me to find stuff off the shelf.

In Hong Kong’s humid atmosphere, pure wool trousers and pure cotton shirts are much more comfortable than synthetics. This time I chose a tailor (or let a tailor choose me) who is in the same building as the Sefardic synagogue. He knows all about the prohibition of mixing wool and linen (shatnez) and times of Shabbat.

I’ve long suspected that there is one sweat shop that makes suits in Hong Kong and all the “tailors” with their trademark stacks of cloth and small shops are first cousins. There is no real competition. Maybe I exaggerate, but not by much. This time, I ascertained that there are at least two brothers and two cousins that each have shop fronts and use the same tailor, and another cousin in the next building.

The film of the name “The Full Monty”, is, in my opinion, far inferior to other British films of the same genre working class Britain under Thatcher genre. I recommend “Brassed Off”, “Billy Elliott” and “Kinky Boots”  as more enjoyable films based against the same background. I am aware that the Full Monty is very popular though.

Someone once categorized all American films as being varieties of the Western. There is some truth in this generalization. A lot of films end up with Police cars chasing the villains and there is little doubt of the origin of the phrase “cut to the chase”. Personally, I prefer British films to American movies. This may reflect growing up in London, but my Israeli wife prefers UK films and TV dramas as well. There is no comparison between Waking the Dead and CSI, and she enjoys the Midwife, Danton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs. I am not sure why Israelis like Are you being served?, but no accounting for taste. Blogging my travelog may be off subject for an IP blog, but it is my blog and I can do what I like on it. Like my criticisms of IP decisions, no one has to accept my views which are mine alone. However, I suspect that the growing following of my blog is indicative that some people enjoy my writing. Doing one blog post is easier than sending a dozen emails to different family members, friends and clients explaining why I have disappeared.

Anyway, unless something untoward happens, I will be back in Israel Sunday night and will start writing up the slew of decisions from the Israel Patent Office.

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