Yes, I’m talking to you

16 January 2011 0
David Mitchell in today’s Observer is having a go at Nick Clegg’s appeal to ‘alarm clock Britain’. He has a go at working out whom Clegg is referring to, and concludes that it’s everyone “between dukes and tramps”: All those people who feel tired and busy and like they could do with some more money, ...

Peering through the Word Lens

15 January 2011 0
The world just got a tiny bit more awesome, thanks to an iPhone app called Word Lens. It’s the kind of thing you see in sci-fi but don’t expect to see in real life – like smellyvision or flying cars. It works like this: you point the iPhone camera at some text, in a book ...

I’ll have an i please, Carol. Oh I have to pay? I’ll leave it then.

27 October 2010 0
Flicking through a copy of the new daily paper i yesterday, I was distinctly underwhelmed. I really wanted to like i, but I couldn’t. Apart from having a silly title, it looked cheap and the content veered between patronising bite-size featurettes and bland news coverage. For me though, i’s fatal flaw is its 20p price ...

Evolving English

13 October 2010 0
Belinda Webb has a very sensible post on the Guardian’s Mind your language blog responding to the Emma Thompson thing. She says: “What makes people feel in the right to say that anyone who does not speak like them, or in the way they were taught, is wrong and “stupid”? What is stupid is the ...

Emma Thompson aint happy

01 October 2010 1
Like many others, I’ve been pondering Emma Thompson’s comments about how young people speak. Apparently she went back to her old school in Camden and got annoyed at teenage girls saying “like” and “innit” and “aint” which she said made her feel “insane”. The reports (based on an interview she gave to the Radio Times) ...

The value of clarity

28 September 2010 0
People don’t tend to read small print for pleasure. But according to Lucy Kellaway of the FT, the guidelines for Apple’s App Store are worth a look. Apple has shunned the usual arcane, obfuscatory dross and gone for a tone which is “direct, comic and elegantly threatening”, she says, comparing an extract from the document ...

Brush up on your Papal vocab

15 September 2010 0
Worried that you might get confuddled by all the pomp and piety of the Pope’s visit to Britain? Fear not, the good old BBC has published a useful glossary of Roman Catholic terms that might crop up. The BBC’s pope-tionary (not what it’s called, but it should be) contains 70-odd handy words and phrases such ...

I just wanna have pun

14 September 2010 0
This weekend I downloaded the first episode of this radio programme made by Stephen Fry about the English language. In it he talks about puns and why we (the Brits, particularly) enjoy them so much. Predictably enough, he makes a lot of painfully self-conscious puns on the way. Various theories are put forward in the ...

Prepare, shield, refuel

30 August 2010 0
You have to admire Gillette for managing to make shaving for men sound like WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR while making shaving for women sound like goddesses surrounded by silk and kittens. Those ads that say “Prepare!! Shield!! Refuel!!” are well funny. My prediction is that as Progress marches onward, men who use moisturiser won’t have to hide behind ...