Saturday, September 22, 2007

Pedants' Corner

In which I pick holes in things other people have said, with arrant disregard for whether or not the totality of the stuff the other person said is wise, clever, funny, interesting, heartwarming or otherwise Good.

EXHIBIT 1: The Guardian Film & Music supplement, yesterday:
New Yorkers Okkervil River's fourth album is the first that really hits home, but it's so good, you want to go back to the others to make sure you haven't missed out...blah blah...FOUR STARS.

ITEM: Okkervil River are not from New York, they are from Austin. But I'll let David Peschek off because of the four stars, and for his description of Will Sheff as 'a gothic Ray Davies'.

EXHIBIT 2: The Independent Travel Supplement, today:
I emerged from the mobile cocoon of the Durness bus, which flopped to a halt at the end of the long haul from Inverness. Five hours' worth of human breath and perspiration had formed an early autumnal mist on the vehicle's windows. Outside, an early autumnal fog was doing its best to smother and smooth the roughest edge of the world, but the acute serrations of mainland Britain's most distant shore cut through the gloom with the sharpness of diamonds.

ITEM: 'mainland Britain's most distant shore'? Most distant from what, exactly? Durness isn't very distant at all from Tain, or Thurso, or Wick. Brighton beach is a more distant shore than Durness if you're in Glasgow. Oh, let me guess - you meant 'distant from London'. Blimey, it's a good thing no one outside the capital reads the papers, isn't it, Simon Calder? Next time, try 'northernmost', or if you really want to make me happy, 'most septentrional'.

EXHIBIT 3: New US teen soap Gossip Girl, a 'preview' of which was 'mysteriously' 'delivered' to Quinquireme Towers this morning:

Mr BC: That's the dad.

Me: That can't be the dad, he only looks about the same age as us, he can't have teenage kids, that's not right.

Mr BC: No, that is the dad.

Me: He can't possibly be old enough! Look him up on IMDB!

Mr BC: It says he's 38.

Me: Tch. These American dramas are *so* unlifelike.

I suddenly remember that my bestest friend from school, the lovely Smat, has a fourteen-year old daughter, and fall strangely silent.


violetforthemoment said...

"Septentrional." Ooh, that's lovely.

(I was all flummoxed while I waited for the comment spage to load up, frantically trying to remember how to spell septentrional so I could put it in my post without making an idiot of myself. But I've told you about it now, so I might as well have spelled it with three Q's and a J, I suppose.)

patroclus said...

Any word that had three Qs and a J in it would automatically be the greatest word in the whole of the English language, regardless of whether or not it was real.

'Septentrional' is my second favourite word after 'quinquireme', but you don't see either of them used much.

chuffy! said...

Septentrional. *hums*.

According to that encyclopaedia thing, Voltaire used 'septentrionaux' in 'Candide' (presumably describing the shores of both Durness *and* Tain), but he was just showing off.

I have been to a region of South Africa called Qwaqwa, but could not convince them to spell it with a 'J'...

Sean McManus said...

I found myself tutting at Sky's Prince coverage on Friday night. They had the music editor of the Daily Telegraph on there making up stuff like Prince has sold £50m worth of tickets (which would be an average of over £100 a seat instead of £32, London Lite estimated about £11m in total ticket sales); Prince changed his name in 1990 (not until several years later) and he used to write SLAVE on his forehead (only ever on his cheek, I believe).

It worries me that whenever I see reports written about anything I actually know something about, they're wrong. It makes me wonder what errors are hiding in everything else I read.