AH GOOD THE SEA
This bit of chalk graffiti, found along Retreat Lane (a little alley somewhere between the university and the city centre), has long fascinated me. It is totally ungrammatical, but boldly asserts that – well, AH GOOD THE SEA.
I’ve often wondered what it meant. Adding to the curiosity was the fact that it’s been there all three years of my university life – and even before, according to the seniors! Surely there must be some deep meaningful story behind this mysterious phrase that causes people (students?) to restore it, year after year?
A Google search turned out a couple of sites, but all of them were specifically talking about the very same graffiti. ah-good-the-sea.com seemed to offer some hope at explaining this with the claim that it ‘was the working title for the Sponge Bob Square Pants movie’, but that turned out to be false. Apparently it used to (obviously, deliberately and hilariously erroneously) claim that it was ‘the first line of Moby Dick’.
So apparently nobody really knows the origin and meaning of the phrase.
Perhaps it’ll be interesting to add to the scrawl, maybe add to in using other languages. Some suggestions generated by Google Translate include…
Ah profundo del mar
But somehow, they all seem to lack the hypnotic catchiness of the original English form.