Sometimes you encounter a word in a few different contexts in a short space of time and then you don’t hear it again for a while. Palimpsest was like that, back in January and February, and I haven’t come across it since then. The word crummy (which means “not very good”) appeared three times in things I watched and heard in the last few days.
First was Roald Dahl on “Desert Island Discs”, an archive episode from 1978. I listened to it at the start of the week. He describes the movie that was made in the early 1970s from his book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” as “crummy”. Later in the week I saw the Brian Wilson biopic “Love and mercy”. The title song also mentions a “crummy movie” in its opening lines: “I was sitting in a crummy movie / with my hand on my chin”. Finally I saw this year’s Best Picture Oscar winner, “Spotlight”, in which one of the journalists comments on the acronym SNAP with just two words: “crummy acronym”.
It’s not a word we use very often. We had to explain its meaning to our children a year or two ago when they first heard it, back when they still watched the BBC Children’s Channel CBeebies. Justin Fletcher’s sketch show “Gigglebiz” included the following joke. “Why did the biscuit go to the doctor? Because it was feeling crummy.” I wonder if the word will crop up again unexpectedly in the days ahead or is that it for a while?