Language · Notes from West London

“The rubbish is piling up in the street”

There hasn’t been a strike by local refuse collectors (or bin-men as we used to call them) for many years. I can’t remember the last one in our corner of West London; 30 years ago, maybe more. Occasionally in those intervening decades there have been strikes elsewhere in the UK and they will make the… Continue reading “The rubbish is piling up in the street”

Word of the week

Word of the week: petrified

During the general knowledge round on last Friday’s “Mastermind” John Humphrys asked the following question: Which word, now generally used to mean paralysed by fear, actually means turned to stone? The answer (and I’ve rather given it away with the title of this piece) is “petrified”. I’ve just checked the episode again. I thought that… Continue reading Word of the week: petrified

Lyrics

Lyrics that stick and lyrics that don’t

I have speculated more than once in these posts about people’s ability to remember the words to songs. There’s a memory from my 20s here, speculation about whether there’s a link between people’s ability to remember jokes and lyrics here and this more recent piece looks at songs that I have heard thousands of times… Continue reading Lyrics that stick and lyrics that don’t

Catchphrases

“That’s not music, that’s just noise” (and similar phrases)

Maybe I’m getting old. I have taken to repeating some of the phrases that old people have traditionally used about young people, and about how the world has changed, and my use of these phrases is not always for comic effect. “That’s not music, that’s just noise” is probably the closest to home. I first… Continue reading “That’s not music, that’s just noise” (and similar phrases)