break into teams. each person rips a piece of paper into 3 equal slices and writes the name of a well-known character, living or dead, real or unreal from the common culture of music, tv, film, literature, politics, cartoons, art, etc. [we banned 'sports' as a category!] the names then go into a hat. first round: each team has one minute to guess as many as possible from one person giving verbal clues. round ends when hat is empty. clue-giver rotates for the group's next turn. calculate points. second round: similar to first, except that the clues given by the giver are limited to two words. third round: clues are silent mime!
very fun! especially the mime round! it became a memory game of references to mistakes and misunderstandings made by all groups---whatever was most memorable. the shared vocabulary was created right before your eyes...as long as your group knew what you were talking about, it didn't matter if the clue had much to do with the name on the paper.
then we performed a song that every subject of the crown knows, 'my old man's a dustman'...see/hear video of a famous version by lonnie donegan, the skiffle king. i included the chorus lyrics below. 'cor blimey' is an expression of surprise, a corruption of 'god, blind me'...and proper narner or 'nana is short for 'banana'...i had no idea what the words were while trying to sing them.