My latest contributions to Zuiderlucht . . .


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Grammatical Gripes – Part 1 (of many…..)

OK- so to christen the new site, here’s a number of gripes I have with the misuse of language. If anybody dares say ‘yes but language is a living, breathing and evolving structure’ I fully accept and understand this much quoted phrase, however evolving is by definition a smooth and relatively slow process, whereas many ‘changes’ in usage come about through sheer ignorance of correct usage – personally I’d rather not have errors ensconced as a sign of verbal progress. The high horse having being well and truly exercised, here are a few examples

1  Using ‘should of been’ when it should have been ‘should have been’

2 Using ‘bartering’ when they mean ‘bargaining’ or ‘haggling’ : ‘bargaining’ is a process of reaching a price (or out come) which suits both parties. ‘Bartering’ which many people say they are good at, would mean convincing a sofa salesman that they should accept in exchange for the latest lounging luxury your old sofa, which only has a few springs showing, and lacks only one of the cushions, plus some random objects which you found in your attic. Obviously, this is entire hypothetical as sofas seem to always be at “Outrageously Good Sale Prices!”

3 Using the word ‘riffing’ in any context! The word refers to a series of notes; a musical phrase originally and usually applied to guitarists. I have NEVER heard a musician say ‘riffing’ – a riff is a thing. Somebody  – and I am tempted to blame Will Self for this – has purloined the word and transmogrified it into a conjugatable verb to be used outside of a musical context

I riff, you rifff, he riffs . . . .  No, I don’t, you don’t and he bloody doesn’t!

As an aside, I cannot resist blaming Self for many things (this is clearly not severe self-deprecation) and I did delight in his error of using the phrase – ‘having cardinal knowledge’ – unless he knows more than we do about the habits of the Catholic church.

Here endeth the first of many. . .


Thoughts on choice

Politicians particularly on the right are constantly talking about the necessity of choice – consumers want choice! But what does that mean in reality?

During the first 20 years of my life, the number of TV channels increased from 1 to 2 to 3. A quick glance at Freeview, and I see that it offers me dozens of channels. The newspaper’s TV Guide catalogues 13 channels – 6 of which are showing at least three episodes of the same programme; two of which are showing eight episodes of one series on the same day. Another channel is showing a feature film which I watched on different channel last week! So where is this choice?

I also recently heard some Radio 4 food snob deprecating the large number of number of people who eat the same lunch work every day – gasp! shock! horror!

I say; ‘What is wrong with that?!’

Stress is often linked to decisions and the we have to make every day. If you are food writer then making an avocado and blueberry dip to go with your freshly baked sourdough with added quinoa washed down with a freshly made strawberry and persimmon smoothie actually forms part of your work.

But please if I’m in need of a quick lunch whilst working on an involved and urgent project, please allow me the respite of eating a £3 deal cheese and onion sandwich with a packet of crisps and a bottle of water for my lunch for the fourth (or even 15th) day in a row!


Shostakovich and football

Today I learned that Shostakovich was a big fan of Zenit Leningrad!!

That’s why I love radio 4.

‘There is great pleasure to be had from useless information.’

Bertrand Russell