POSTED: Tuesday 26 April, 1350BST
When is a Blair boo not a boo? When it's a boom.
Let me explain. The PM went on a walkabout round Lilian Bayliss Technology School in Lambeth, and the pupils appeared to break out into a chorus of jeers.
"Boo boo," was heard to ring around the classrooms.
Labour spin doctors held their heads in their hands. It looked like a big own-goal, only 24 hours after Michael Howard had admitted that the Tories were politically "2-0 down".
But no, the school later explained, the noisy teenagers were not shouting "boo, boo" but "boom, boom" which apparently is a hip slogan of approval in inner-city London. Rather than jeering, the pupils were in fact cheering.
That may be true but at least one teenager claimed afterwards to be boo-ing rather than boom-ing. So take your pick - this school visit was either a PR victory or defeat. To put it another way, "boom" or bust.
PS. That excellent research tool, the Urban Dictionary confirms that the word "boom" is used to mean a "slam dunk"; it may well be associated with the more familiar word "bo", which it explains "is an exclamation and/or greeting which can be used in the same way as 'yo'. It was first popularised by the Artful Dodger and Craig David in their garage hit, 'Re-rewind (When the crowd say bo selecta!).'"
The Oxford English Dictionary additionally has a definition of boom dating from 1879 meaning "to give a 'boom' to; to push, puff, force upon public attention".
I think you'll find it's "boo". In the drum'n'bass music scene, for example, people will shout "boo" when there is a good tune playing! So boo is actually good, I don't think these kids were making basil brush sounds....
Andy Wright, Sheffield, UK
Erm, if you go abit further down on Urban Dictionary you find the definition of "boom boom" as opposed to just "boom". The definition is just a bit different... "Having a nice body or something that a man(or women) would be like to see." I'm sure that'll cheer TB up....
Roger, Lancaster Uni
Basil Brush is back on the box I believe, so who knows.
Mr Blair can sympathise with Mr Burns from The Simpsons, who, when faced with a hostile crowd, asked: "Were they saying 'Boo' or 'Boo-urns'?"
Chris B, Bradford
In that case, it's a good thing they didn't cheer...
Elaine, Nottingham, England
Being a student in year 10 in an inner-city London school, I can tell you without doubt that no one has ever said "boom, boom" here. However, Tony Blair isn't exactly popular in my school. In an assembly 'Vote' on monday morning, the huge majority of the school said that they'd vote Lib Dem, while only a very small number said they'd vote Labour. Even so, when asked who wouldn't bother, nearly everyone put their hand up. I'd guess it was a "boo".
Henry Hayes, London, England
I am afraid to say this is true, after my original thoughts of hoping he'd been "booed". I went to a concert at a university down south and was horrified to hear people booing the performers before they had started - only to be corrected that it is a form of cheer. Whether it was sarcastic or not I don't know - it does sound a strange way to cheer the Prime Minister. Fingers crossed it was sarcasm!!!
The real source of 'boo' in street language is nothing to do with craig david or slam dunking. It comes from the reggae dancehalls of Jamaica where, in the 1950s, it was acceptable to fire your handgun in the air when the dj played a popular record. 'Boo' replecates that gunclap sound. It has always been used as a sign of appreciation.
Jon Davies, Liverpool UK
The only time I've heard the term BOOM shouted in a positive way is at St James' Park where it is shouted as a compliment to Jean Alan Boumsong..
Boom, Boom is so out of date and not something that any of my mates would use as an expression of approval to someone like Tony Blair. I am 17 and know loads of kids my age that are not at all pleased with Mr Blair and his government so I would take this as a big boo.....
Rachel, London, England
I wonder if the English 'street' use of 'yo' comes from the Japanese? The Japanese put a 'yo' at the end of the sentence to give it great emphasis, as when strongly agreeing with something .
Nick Roberts, Croydon (London)
The 'booming' of Tony Blair is reminiscent of Blackadder the Third when prince George claims the crowds are cheering "We hail Prince George!, We hail Prince George!" until Edmond advises it may have actually been "We HATE Prince George, We HATE Prince George"
Robin Malinowski, Edinburgh
Maybe the kids have all turned into Springsteen fans and were celebrating the recent release of the Boss's new album with a traditional chorus of "Brooooooce!"
Mark Smith, Manchester, UK
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