An expression used to describe a situation when everything is included. But perhaps most easily explained in terms of English breakfast. With English breakfast, the Full Monty means…well, everything. It means bacon, and eggs, and mushrooms, and potato cakes, and black pudding, and beans, and fried bread…and whatever else you might decide would make a proper Fully Monty. The English Breakfast which many people think we eat every day.
There was a popular film of 1997 called The Full Monty which, in a nutshell, was about a group of unemployed steelworkers fighting back against poverty by forming a strip group. And the main question was…would these men take off all their clothes? Would they go, indeed, The Full Monty? And hence the name. It’s rather a great film actually, and if you want to know whether they did or not … well, watch it.
But actually, this expression causes a lot of dispute. We all agree the Full Monty means “everything”…but no one agrees where it came from. Some say it comes from people corrupting the expression “the full amount”…but, honestly, how boring is that? Others say it is Very Definitely from a Spanish card game called monte.
Those who enjoy a bit of British military history will link it back to the famous Field Marshall Montgomery, either because he used to wear all his medals rather a lot, OR because the sensible man used to insist his soldiers had a decent cooked breakfast every day.
OR (really, this is it now) because the founder of the clothing chain store Burton’s, Montague Burton, a remarkably successful businessman who opened a small menswear shop in Chesterfield in 1903 and by 1929 had 500 more across the UK, sold a wedding suit or trousers a waistcoat and a jacket. Which became known as the Full Monty.
I MIGHT have been persuaded to go with the Montague Burton connection because it seems the most likely. But. A very learned colleague at my University, a colleague I trust, a lot, but who won’t be named now, just in case, researches this sort of thing and told me that there is plenty of evidence that a Full Monty breakfast was offered to London taxi drivers in the 1950s, and therefore the link to Montgomery and his breakfast…might be the strongest.
Which isn’t a bad thing, actually as it means we can talk about the English Breakfast, which is stupendous.
However, can we just clear something up now?
We are both English, Nicer Kate and Kayte…and we absolutely DO NOT eat English breakfast every day. And nor do any of our friends. Because if we did, we might die, very soon. We eat English Breakfast on Special Days; birthdays, maybe, or the mornings after a birthday, more likely. On on rare weekend mornings and especially when the night before was particularly, em, energetic. ..
Oh Ok. We MOSTLY eat English Breakfast when we are hungover.
It’s not difficult.
- Fry bacon, eggs, bread, mushrooms, black pudding and potato cakes, in the same pan.
- Heat beans. [Not in my house we don’t. Horrid things – Nicer Kate]
- Make coffee [NO. Not coffee. Tea. Proper English Breakfast tea. The clue is in the name. Honestly, Heathen! – NK]
- Talk about the night before.
- Sing God Save the Queen. Easy.
(c) Kayte & Nicer Kate 2017. Authors assert moral rights