A pinch and a punch for the first of the month! And a new theme. Yes, I’m trying out a new theme today – whaddaya think? Is it better? I’m not sure – I think maybe I prefer the trees, but on the other hand this is a theme dedicated to text, which suits what I do. Anyway, I’ll give it a go for a few days. The only trouble with getting a new theme is that I can’t find anything now, so bear with me…
Anyway… today is about books, but we’ll get to that in a moment. First I want to talk very seriously to you. It has come to my attention that a certain Regrettable Tendency has taken hold in certain groups I belong to; and it is my painful duty to stamp it out. This must cease; people must desist – in a word, it must Stop.
What is it? It’s the fake glottal stop.
Now, I have nothing against the real glottal stop. Many people have a glottal stop as part of their accent and that’s fair enough. Some of us use it on occasion in speech; it helps to smooth the path and ensure that our way is not cluttered with consonants.
If you don’t know what a glottal stop is, it’s that little thing you do with your epiglottis (the flap of skin over the windpipe) to block off the air; for example by saying ‘wa’er’ instead of ‘water’:
It’s a normal, everyday part of our language and I have nothing to say against it. What I really hate, though, is the fake glottal stop. You can always tell when it’s fake, because people only use it in certain words – and the biggest culprits by far are people on the political (or ‘poli’ical’) left. I have lost count of the times I have sat in Left Unity meetings and heard people talk of ‘railways’ and ‘water’ and ‘matter’ without so much as a trembling of the epiglottis – and then when they come to specific left-wing matters, out comes the glottal stop. All of a sudden, they are ‘poli’ical’, they belong to ‘Left Uni’y’ and they go to ‘mee’ings’. It makes me want to scream: Just be yourself! Stop trying to pretend to be working class when you’re not! I’m not working-class; I’m middle-class. I’m a fully-paid-up Guardian reader and I’m not ashamed of it.
I doubt, however, that our son Daniel was pretending to be working-class when he watched ‘Postman Pat’. This stop-motion animation – he called it ‘Oh-oo-at’ – was his favourite programme as a toddler, although I preferred Harry Enfield’s political (poli’ital) take on it, ‘Il Postino Pat’. Alas, the BBC have blocked it so I can’t show you.
I can’t really review any books this week as I still haven’t finished the Dorothy L Sayers/Jill Paton Walsh collaboration, and I’ve only just started the Crime Reading Group’s latest lend, ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn. You’ll have to wait for those till next week.
As of next year, Fiona and I will be leading the group, as the co-ordinator will be going on to other things. So that should be fun.
I’ll leave you with a bit of the original Postman Pat. Very comforting:
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