Thursday, 27 October 2016

Your Westbound train

I learned today that Zsa Zsa Gabor is still alive. She's either 98 or 99. No one seems to know. That's surely a fascinating fact? She belongs to an entirely different world; that era of 1940s Hollywood glamour, which I was entirely sure was gone from this world. I wonder how many other people like that are still alive. I always find myself feeling quite surprised that Ken Dodd is still with us. Windsor Davies is also still alive. Celebrities like that often retire and then fade entirely from view, only really reemerging in public consciousness when they finally cark it.

I helped out at a quiz tonight which was organised by my mate Ted's girlfriend, Gersende. I was thrilled when I arrived and saw that Ted himself had come along. It was an enormous quiz with close to thirty individual teams, so the marking was something of a scramble. We got there... just! The adrenaline rush you get when thirty answer sheets are dumped on your desk is pretty intense. You need to be incredibly focussed for quite a lengthy period of time. I can now mark a paper in under ten seconds.

I'm rather pleased to say that Ted's team won (with absolutely no help from me.) 

At Embankment tube, I overheard a very strange conversation, the like of which you might only expect to hear on The Fast Show. I, myself, am pretty good when it comes to converting very ordinary sentences into double entendres, but this was something else! An announcement came over the tannoy: "Please be sure to use your Oyster card when touching in and out" at which point the bloke in front of me turned to his friend and said (in a low gruff voice), "I'll touch you in and out." Genius!

Something which has started to irritate me, linguistically speaking, is when people say "your" when they mean "the." I think it's an attempt to make things seem chummy and customer friendly, but it irritates me. Today, whilst waiting at Embankment tube, a man's voice came on the tannoy to announce: "The next train on platform two is your Westbound train to Richmond." Firstly, the train doesn't belong to me, and secondly, the Richmond train might not be the one I'm hoping to catch. What if I wanted to take the Eastbound train? Or the train to Ealing Broadway? No, no, no, no, no. Calling it "your" train is an absolute nonsense, which this grammar Nazi finds wholly unacceptable.

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