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December 2008

Silly old Mensa

Not normally one for moaning about apostrophes, but even I have to draw the line somewhere. If your strapline is The High IQ Society, you’ve got to at least run the spellcheck before calling your product Worlds Best Brainteasers.

(You can tell this is a highbrow blog when we’re talking down to Mensa. Next week: Silly old Noam Chomsky and Come on Henry Kissinger, try harder.)

Woolworths RIP


Today is the big closing down sale for Woolworths – a sad end for a once-great brand. I included a poem about them in Corpoetics, which now has a slightly poignant air. I always thought it should be set to music – not sure which tune though. For some reason, I’m thinking The Proclaimers. Or maybe Keane.

Woolworths plc
In towns and cities throughout the UK
a retailer offers its customers a
range of products for family and home,
and value for money (for which it is known).

Woolworths, Woolworths plc.
Built on value for money.
Woolworths, Woolworths plc.
Shop for all the family.


(Image taken from Telegraph website. It's the first ever UK Woolworths store, opened in Church Street, Liverpool in 1909.)

A Cloudy Language #12

“The wind is very much not there.”
Rob McElwee (again)

Full set here

Snow on Rainow


Image copyright Jane Osmond

Moving into our new place in Rainow tomorrow. This being the North where people are officially nice, we’ve already had a drink (and a singalong) with some of the neighbours. Turns out one of them is a very good landscape artist – you can see (and buy) some of her work here. We particularly like the series of etchings, of which this is one. Ours is the fourth chimney from the left.

Speech, speech

Sue and I are both members of a not-for-profit organisation called 26, which brings together writers, editors and language lovers from different backgrounds. They recently kicked off the first in a series of Annual 26 Lectures at the British Library. The speaker was Phillip Collins, the political wordsmith who penned most of Tony Blair's most famous speeches. He's a clever man and, as you might expect, a persuasive speaker. You can see the whole thing here. And if you're not a member of 26 yet, it's well worth the membership fee (£26/year, naturally).

Annual 26 speech 2008 from Tom Clarkson on Vimeo.