Saturday 30 January 2010

La Scala organisers go mad

Organisers of La Scala short story competition go wild. Sponsorship from tea bags to baseball caps; insurance to polo lessons. Hard cash too.

At £200 for first prize, it’s going to attract quite an entry. I said I’d blog about it, but I doubt I’ll be noticed under the avalanche of publicity and events they are putting on.

I nearly blogged on serious topics today, having caught the news earlier, but when it gets to the point, I just don’t want to. I deal with the serious stuff in the day jobs (well, some of the day jobs) and blogging time is for trivia and the lighter side of life.

There’s an easy conclusion to draw there – that those who blog the serious stuff spend their work hours on trivia, but that’s clearly not the case. Easy conclusions are all too easy to draw. People do it all the time. Far easier than objective thinking.

My experience leads me to hypothesise that those who work in suits go to special events in jeans and vice versa, but there’s nothing there from which to extrapolate into blogging serious stuff or not.

La Scala and its competition – unashamed trivia – is linked from my home page.

Tuesday 26 January 2010

Sweet as pie

I read a blog at the weekend about the clichés that make people stop reading a book and throw it at the wall. The one quoted was fat people who move like lightning. I hadn’t stopped to think that one through before, but I suppose I will next time I come across it.

I don’t tend to throw books over clichés. If I’m going to throw books it’s more likely to be over injustice, crimes against humanity, misplaced apostrophes...

There are no particular clichés that really get my goat.

Why goat? What is the origin of that one? I can find two: the less likely that it comes from the use of goats as companions to nervy racehorses and thus getting someone’s goat would spook their horse and so annoy them. The other is that ‘get’ is used in the sense of ‘bring out’; thus brings out the goat in me, presupposing that I act like a goat when annoyed. Not sure about that. It isn’t usually annoyance that makes me want to eat everything in sight.

Here’s one – sweet as pie. It doesn’t enrage me, but it stops me. What sort of pie – steak and ale, chicken and mushroom, meat and potato? Is sweet the right word? If the intention is to signify sweetness, is pie the right word? Even apple pie doesn’t do it for those of us who prefer fruit pie to be tart and fighting back. Why not something unambiguously sweet – honey, sugar, fruit pastels?

Bald as a badger is another one. Why not bald as a train or a pencil-sharpener or a rock? Why something with hair, for heaven’s sake? Oh, OK, apparently it’s bald as a coot, though I’m sure it’s badger in this part of the world. A coot isn’t much better. No hair, but plenty of feathers. Black and white. There’s the key. Not hairless bald, but pie-bald.

If inhumanity gets my goat and humanity gets my vote... Does that make goat the opposite of vote? There’s an election coming so I’m going to use it that way. That’ll be just sweet as pie-bald.

Sunday 24 January 2010

The wedding fair

It’s a damp grey day to start a blog, but it’s bright enough outside and the hens have started laying, so they think winter’s over.

D and G went to a wedding fair today. Just to get ideas they said. We’re hosting the whole thing here. The fair turned out to be a huge crowd in a tiny room, no clue what was going on. They asked the people at the back but they had no idea either.

The receptionist suggested they fight through the crowd to ‘ask the women with buckets’. Instead, D stood on tiptoe and peered over the massed heads. Three trestle tables, motley collection of anonymous stuff, something going on, but impossible to tell what. The three women with buckets turned out to be from the charity that had organised the event (loosest sense of the word organise) and were insisting on a quid per person from anyone who ventured near.

D and G took the view that you can get in the finest of wedding fairs for free, and they had no interest in seeing what you got for a quid. So they left, had lunch in subway and bought a suit at H&M.

D tried on the suit to show us. Then we persuaded George to put his on too. They look like a pair of gangsters. No one will dare make trouble at this wedding.