Monday, 13 May 2013
Nobody can write proper English any more and Americanisms are taking over and children should rote-learn grammar and – while people can think up locutions this vivid, there's no need to panic.
While the rooms pay homage to every benighted cliché of postmodern kitsch, the bathrooms are strictly Travelodge. The hotel's crashing suggestiveness is less of a nudge and a wink than a right hook and a black eye. (Guardian 2005 on a hotel where you could buy “adult toys” and a box full of nightlights and rose-petals for the bath.)
That’s my address book rinsed out. (Andrew Lamberty in Auction Hero, 2013)
It is prone to asinine generalities ("People have long memories in Belfast")… It may also be a sign of the outstanding boringness of the outward facts of Lewis's religious conversion… (Sam Leith, Guardian, May 11 2013)
Cream, off-white - it’s all a bit latte, really. (Sarah Beeny’s Selling Houses)
BBC journalist pretends he can eat for £1 a day… Devastating teardown ensues (@bengoldacre)
If Greg Dyke was doing an interview on flower arranging he’d turn it into an attack on me. (Chris Patten on Andrew Marr, 5 May 2013 New DG is “both a sigh of relief and a wind of change”.)
Tried an alternative coffee blend from the work vending machine. I think this one is called 'Coal dust, pond water and abject despair' (Dean Burnett/@garwboy)
It offers a heady melange of mannerisms, overscaled oriel windows, riotous gables, chimneys ago-go and a hundred and one materials. (Charles Holland on Norman Shaw)
Kochs form new dark money group to hide political activities (alternet.org)
So bland is this adaptation and so embarrassingly awful the dialogue that I feel all my blood has drained away. (imdb commenter on Three Act Tragedy)
Treat tips on deterring pigeons the same way as tips on getting rid of hiccups. Most are designed to entertain the public. (Marie-Lan Taÿ Pamart/@Jastrow75)
Mabel – that’s a museum name! (Heir Hunters)
sticking it to you in an under-handed way (about.com definition of passive aggression)
Mrs Thatcher will cling to the Velcro of our collective national memory more than any other politician. (Peter Hennessy)
I haven't read 'The Economy of Cities' but I'm led to believe it's brimming with gibberish - is that right? (Douglas Murphy/@entschwindet )
I'm feeling rather plaice-like (lightly battered) after defending a novel at Book Group. (Caroline Mansfield/@LadyofMisrule)
As John Grant so wisely asks on his new album, I wonder what Ernest Borgnine would do. Something to live by. *Adopts grizzled attitude* (John Grindrod/@Grindrod)
More here, and links to the rest.
Sunday, 12 May 2013
The population has ballooned
balloon: UKIP leaflet says that the local population has been "ballooning over the last decade". Nonsense. I've been once, and that was in Egypt. (Lord Beestonia/@Beeestonia, 28 April 2013)
Leafing through some ancient magazines (How old does something be before you "leaf" through it rather than "flicking"? Got to be at least 20 years, I think.) letslooksideways.blogspot
cannibalism: always “resorted to”
explode: The industry is undergoing explosive growth. (BBC News That's rapid, prodigious or excessive growth.) Cities exploded to house the middle classes. (They expanded quickly.)
immense speeds: high speeds (speeds are high or low, not big or small)
salaries swelled accordingly: salaries rise or fall
restore: Can we just “restore” things, without restoring them “to their former glory”?
Propelled by the power of tectonics, India hurtles forward at two inches a year. (That's hyperbole or overstatement.)
big: This is the biggest month in the calendar for anyone whose child is finishing primary school. Tim Lott, Guardian Mar 2013 (most important)
threat: As the threat of war loomed (BBC) as war loomed
reignite: Would tunnelling under Charterhouse Square reignite the Black Death? (revive) BBC News 2013-03-15
trigger: Deposits like these have triggered a new gold rush. BBC News 2013-03-14 (started, set off)
Sam Leith on CS Lewis: A Life and The Intellectual World of CS Lewis by Alister McGrath G 11 May 2013
Sentence after sentence is inflated with meaningless intensifiers such as "deep", "powerful", "magnificent", "famous" and "prestigious". "Landmark" is a favourite adjective (as in "landmark book"), and the landmarks of McGrath's own text are "crushing personal blows", "tectonic plates", "shattered dreams", "dark shadows", sealed fates and "forces over which he had no control". … [His marriage:] ("a ticking time bomb" … "a Trojan horse"); her death ("emotional firestorm" … "emotional battering ram").
Nick Laird, The Guardian, Friday 29 March 2013 13.00 GMT
I spent a few weeks recently reading through 10,000 of the 13,000 entries for the National Poetry Competition. Many were very good; a few hundred were excellent… Still, reading the poems was also, sometimes, depressing. There were poems that weren't good, and they tended to have features in common: a lack of control or occasion, a lack of linguistic felicity or surprise…
If the title is a ready-made phrase such as A Falling Star, the poet already has a distance to claw back. So scrap the cliches: his breath is not bated, the contrast is not sharp. We want the language of a poem to renew our experience of life, not dull it with rote phraseology...
The register has to be controlled, and preferably not helplessly imitative or archaic. Be careful with words such as whence or din or guffaw or russet. Also, contorted or caress or ochre. Or clad or crave or pale or engorged. Or gossamer. Don't write about things frosted with dew...Please don't set your font to eight and please refrain from using dingbats... More here.