English Austerity by Sandra Horn
Someone once said to me, in that withering kind of way, ‘Oh,
Sandra, you do fall in love!’
He didn’t mean I was serial adulterer, perish the thought, but that I tend to have great passions about various things.
It’s true! Discovering an artist, writer, place, piece of music sets me off on a wild-eyed quest to find out more, revisit, bore the pants off anyone who’ll listen to the latest enthusiastic outpourings – have you HEARD Sans-Saens’ Introduction and rondo capriccioso?
Have you READ Alice Oswald, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, etc. etc.
Have you BEEN TO that church in Dorset with windows by Whistler?
Followed by rant rant rant until my listener’s eyes glaze over and I realise I’ve done it again. Gone too far. It’s immature, I know, but here I go again.
The English language!! The subtle, playful, rich, amazing, various, musical, poetic, tricky, wonderful stuff we’ve all grown up with. The puns, rhymes, rhythms, kennings, litotes, hyperboles, alliterations, onomatopoeia – oh, the positively orgasmic delights of it! All those people out there who don’t know their asses from their arses, their alternate from alternative, distinct from distinctive, disinterested from not interested, apostrophe-scatterers or ignorers, etc. don’t know what they’re missing.
And what about that boffin from Oxford who said spelling and punctuation don’t matter? Apoplexy! ‘Let’s all go back to grunt-and-point, then, shall we?’ I yelled. But then, in a road-to-Damascus moment, I saw the error of my ways..
Hallelujah! Now I’m saved! I realise that I’ve been a heretic, a pedant, and I’d got it all wrong. It’s extravagant, that’s what it is. It has no place in Austerity Britain, The Big Society, We’re All in it Together, etc. We should forget all about that self-indulgent stuff and in all humility, do exactly that - go back to grunt and point!
Think of the savings! We could close ALL libraries for a start, and printing presses and bookshops. The school day would be much shorter, as would theatrical performances. Conversations wouldn’t intrude on the important business of - er – whatever it is we are going to do when we’re not indulging ourselves playing around with language. Not writing, obviously. Oh.
Rant over. By the way, I loved the ebook fest! How brilliantly clever it was! Huge thanks to all concerned! Whoops, here I go again…