Good to be reminded every now and then of words’ power not just to persuade us, rationally, but to move us – literally. I found myself wincing – and there may have been a squirm or two – at this account of the medieval maw-worm:
Apparently I’ve been doing it wrong all these years…
“…to have ideas, to see the world in a new way, and to share that unique vision with consumers in a way that they will immediately understand.”
And there was me thinking a copywriter’s job was to write great copy that achieves his or her client’s objectives.
Maybe it’s time for me to see the world in a new way. Get me one o’ they unique visions. Then find me some consumers to share it with. Hot dang! Why did no-one tell me this stuff before?
Never fails me – the first real spring-like spring day of every year, and it comes back to mind…
Spring in the Bronx
De spring is sprung
De grass is riz
I wonder where dem boidies is
De little boids is on de wing
But dat’s absoid
De little wing is on de boid
Two of my favourite recent bits of English came from sports commentators: one from the footie, one from the 6 Nations. From the latter, we had
“The French combination of the big, heavy pieces of furniture and the more bijoux pieces, like…”
An ITV rugby commentator using ‘bijoux’? (‘big, heavy pieces of furniture’ is also terrific.)
But my favourite was the football commentator during a recent Spurs match:
“But VAR are playing their games here and looking to see whether a beautifully crafted moment of footballing joy should be snuffed out by a piece of miserable geometry.”
(I’m happy to confirm that as it turned out, VAR gave the thumbs up.)
After being alerted to Google’s ‘Ngram viewer‘, I thought I’d use it to track ‘orange’, recently described as the only common English word with no homonyms (doubtless nonsense, tho’ the nearest I can get is ‘syringe’ – definitely close but no cigar). The result was fascinating:
What a weird graph! Could the peak around 1650 be something to do with Nell Gwynne? She was supposed to be a big citrus fan, wasn’t she? And why the calamitous fall from those heady days back to near-zero 50 years later, only to recover its 1650s popularity in the early years of the 21st century? The mystery of Orange…
The ngram viewer is a wonderful tool, BTW, albeit one that comes with significant caveats, as witness this article in Wired.
My latest upload to YouTube at the weekend got blocked for copyright infringement. Set me thinking, and not for the first time, about the inherent tension – in the online world in particular – between exposure and monetisation.
I remember reading somewhere that when they were making Doctor No they couldn’t afford the car they wanted to use so they had to borrow a Sunbeam Alpine – a car about as rorty as its name would suggest. Nowadays, far from charging for the use of their vehicles, brands like Aston Martin and BMW pay vast sums to have 007 put the pedal to their metal. Indeed, a Bond swig during Skyfall ‘is believed’ (© Daily Mail) to have cost Heineken £28m.
Where, I wonder, is the crossover between ‘you’ll have to pay’ and ‘how much do you want?’
Whoever owns the material I’ve tried to put on YouTube has clearly taken a business decision to prioritise immediate monetisation over ‘spreading the word’. I’m not paying for it so I can’t use it, end of. Others in their position seem to take a different stance: any exposure is good exposure. Anything that spreads awareness of the value of our property has to be good for us. I’m intrigued by the way two different third parties, in essentially identical positions, have adopted such diametrically contradictory approaches.
The annoying thing as a YT poster is that the only way to find out which stance applies for any given record is to turn it into a video, and upload it. Whereupon it might or might not get blocked. Which, if the latter, means a fair bit of time & effort down the pan. Most of the stuff I upload is old/obscure enough to get through, but maybe one in four gets blocked.
My clamouring fans will never now get to enjoy the dulcet tones of Johnny Hodges – Jazz Giant…not to mention the idly browsing producer who might otherwise have stumbled across a perfect backing track for their new movie…
Came across a new bit of prime officialese while attending to a glitch on my YouTube channel: “Met police use “tactical contact” to take down a moped rider who escaped by riding at speed through a park and down pavements.” ‘Tactical contact’ being shorthand for crashing into a fleeing rider, to knock them off their bike.
Good to see the police are maintaining their excellent record for tactical euphemism.
Just started reading ‘Tomorrow to be brave’ – the autobiography of Susan Travers – the only woman ever to serve in the French Foreign Legion. It’s a cracking read! She’s a very interesting writer, in that she’s really not that great a writer, but she’s a great example of simple, clear, just-tell-it-like-it-is exposition. Witness this account of her arrival in France, having been abruptly transferred from her English boarding school:
(Sitting here with snow falling in the back garden, how I would love to be teleported to Le Suquet in the spring…)