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Phrases And Their Origins

Kettle Of Fish

"A whole new kettle of fish" or "a different kettle of fish". This is an expression that is used when a remark is made that relates to, or opens up, a new (and usually unrelated) issue. But where the bollockybuggertwats did it come from? Who on earth would keep fish in a kettle? And even if they did, what has that got to do with anything?

There's a teapot of herring for the best answer.



"Kettle Of Fish" has a meteorlogical origin. Do you remember in the days before computer graphics when the BBC weather was presented on a fridge door and the weathermen (they never had women doing it in those days) would stick on magnetic pictures of clouds and sun and snow and the likes?

Well, I had the good fortune to meet the man who used to make those stickers. He works on internet weather now and we had him in to calibrate the pooclub weather stations when we were installing them in our outlying regions. One day, after work we went down the pub and had a few beers together and chatted about the old times. He got very nostalgic about weather and began to complain how internet weather isn't as good as the old magnetic sticker weather.

He went on to reminisce about the days when he designed and produced the weather stickers for John Kettley and Michael Fish. He used to have a good relationship with the two young weathermen (have you seen how old Michael Fish looks these days?) and would always ensure that they had enough of each type of weather symbol for whatever weather would hit the British Isles. He made sure that the symbols were good and clean, still have plenty of magnetic "stick" to them and weren't beginning to curl up at the edges.

The stickers were kept in a cardboard box marked "Kettley And Fish" and this is where their relationship began to go sour. You see, other staff in the weather department would see the box and began to refer to the stickers as Kettley And Fish. Now, our stickerman was a proud man and he resented the fact that his stickers, his invention, were being branded with a name other than his. He turned from being a kind, caring man to a bitter and frustrated man as all his attempts to get people to change their names for his stickers failed.

So, one day he thought enough was enough. He was out for vengeance and so he created one new special sticker which was in the shape of a large ejaculating phallus. He slipped it into the box of stickers in the hope that one day either John or Michael would inadvertently slap the new sticker on the weather chart (preferably over Wales).

Unfortunately, his mischievous plan failed when one of the makeup girls decided to take a look in the box to see if any of the stickers need a buffing up. She saw the pud sticker and fell about laughing. Naturally, she could not keep this revelation to herself and so she held the sticker up for the rest of the office to see and remarked, "Hey, this is a whole new Kettley and Fish!"

Since that day, whenever a new issue was brought up, this expression was used, though with the passage of time it has now been slightly corrupted.

Phrases And Their Origins
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