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  1. Junior Member
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    #1

    What does ”Bird” mean here?

    (source: Iceberg Slim – Pimp, The story of my life)

    Please help me to identify the meaning of ”Bird” in the following section:

    ”I tiptoed and peeked through the bottom of the window blind. The joint was jumping. Pimps, whores and white men crowded the circular bar. Some skinny joker with scald burns on his face was fronting a combo. He tried to ape the Bird’s phrasing and tome. His tan face turned black. He was choking on his horn.”

    With some google research I got to the conclusion that the section means that a white man teases the black musicians by pretending as he was Charlie ”Bird” Parker the famous saxophonist who could be popular at that times (The story plays int he 1930s) The white guy tries to distort his face as if he was black and imitates saxophone playing primitively. Is my interpretation right or I missed to comprehend something?

  2. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #2

    Re: What does ”Bird” mean here?

    There's nothing primitive about the way Charlie Parker played- he was one of the great saxophonists. If the guy's face turned black it might have something to do with the strain of trying to imitate him.

  3. Junior Member
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    #3

    Re: What does ”Bird” mean here?

    Of course Charlie Parker was a helluva player. The word primitively referred to the way the white guy wanted to imitate him and to insult the musicians. Sorry if I were not clear enough. I am not a native English speaker.

  4. 5jj's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: What does ”Bird” mean here?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrghd View Post
    Sorry if I were not clear enough.
    Subjunctive 'were' is used only for present or future hypothetical conditions:

    If John were here now/tomorrow, he would confirm what I am saying.

    In your sentence, you are in effect saying 'I am sorry for possibly not being clear enough (in the past)'. 'Was' is the correct form.

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