Sunday, December 09, 2007


The horror, the horror

As you might imagine, a prolonged absence such as mine has resulted in a bulging womb of incipient mail-progeny. What I mean is, you fans have been sending in your letters, texts and emails of concern, devotion and, yes, love, with a freneticism that warms my cockles and at the same time makes me question your collective mental health.

I've decided to use this blog to wage war on slovenly, pig-ignorant perversions of English grammar, spelling and punctuation in the new year, and as a taster I thought I'd hold some of your missives up to ridicule. Feel free to hoist me by my own petard if you can, you ignorami.

Kicking off, emails:

You're brilliant in every way. Tell me, please, do you only write comedy?

No, 'sycophant'. I watch it on television and in live settings, read it, laugh at it, deride it, appreciate it, and have nightmares about it, too.

Sir Ian McKellen writes:

Dear Foot,

Having read your blog, you seem to be obsessed with sex and death.

[lots of fascinating inside information about the theatre snipped]

Dear Sir Ian: by your sentence structure you seem to associate my having read my own blog with my preoccupation with the progenital and terminal events in life's history. Why is this? (You should know better, by the way. And Patrick Stewart's current Macbeth kicks your Lear into touch, frankly.)

Greg Dyke ( emailed me:

Way to go, Foot Eater! Your campaign for proper English is just what we need, and a famous blogger like yourself could be just the person to permeate the national consciousness with his message of hope. Call my agent Pete.

All right: your agent's Pete.

Andrew 'Bowel' Motion, the Poet Laureate, sent me a text message that ran thus:

Parse this sentence if you will, you pretentious arsehole:

Joan is the person I am sitting between the window and.

It ends with a conjunction, yet it is entirely correct, grammatically speaking. Can't pick the bones out of that one, can you, you wanker?

No, I can't, Mr Motion; but there's a subtle distinction between incorrect and merely tedious English which you seem to have blurred in the interests of scoring a linguistic point, and for that I sentence you to a rimjob in hell. You are to give rather than receive: isn't that better?

(A petard)
'Sycophant' sounds like a hoaxer to me. Obviously trying to get into your pants. The others are probably genuine.
Kicks his Lear into touch with what? And how did Patrick Stewart manage to kick a jet aeroplane (albeit a smallish type) anywhere anyway? Was it on Star Trek: The New Generation? If so, surely the kick is more likely to have been concocted through the use of special effects, or "squeegee eyes" as I understand they are termed nowadays. This being the case, what was he doing playing Macbeth instead of Captain Forsyth or whatever his name was? Has the scriptwriters' strike led television studios to plagiarise the Bard for characters and dialogue as well as for plots?

I am confused.
I fear you may be inciting an Anglo-American battle by placing the period outside of single quotation marks in your reply to "Sycophant."
Everybody has their taboo word, the word they are most thoroughly repelled by (or the word by which they are most thoroughly repelled, if we're going all sphincterish about it from now on). For some it is fuck. For many, many more it is cunt, but I have been hanging around Irish blogs long enough now to be inured to cunt - neither am I a lesbian so I'm doubly inured to it. Well inured. Well-hard. A well-judged drat will have more effect on me now.

For me the most appallingly hideous word in the English language might well be rimjob. For phthoo, Foots! For phthoo! I might be back here, I might not. It depends whether or not the bleach buggers the keyboard. (Perhaps oddly, the verb to bugger seems to me to be quite a sweet word, a word from a simpler time when rims were never jobbed.)
Why are you getting into this grammar shite then? have you turned queer or just English? I sacrifice grammar for content, swearing and other crudity and look how big my blog is, massive and throbbing with veiny links and comments and a big bulbous banner. Anyway whats a sickophant when its at home? is it anything like those things I used to shoot in Africa? not not wogs the big grey things.
It's "Slow" Motion, not "Bowel". Everyone knows that, except Knudsen who never reads poetry any more since the shrapnel started moving.
Anyway it'd be movement, not motion, his surname, if his nickname was (were?) Bowel.

PCB, notice how clever we all were not to fall into your trap, or even mention it,(until now)? Rimjob? Who does what to who? (Whom) Is when the lady puts her feet up behind her
Sam: ?

GB: I believe you're projecting there.

Philip: no, no, no, your grasp of popular culture is slipping. Patrick Stewart is the new frontman for McDonald's's 'McBeth' (sic) burger, which is far tastier than Sir Ian's 'Edward Lear' burger in his new and, I fear, ill-starred fast-food restaurant with a 'humorous writers' theme. (Other delicacies include the Hilaire Belloc Chilli Dog and the Wilde Whopper.) 'Kicking into touch' is a basketball term. Keep up, man, for God's sake.

Mikep: Americans do that? God save us all. The language is doomed.

Sam: eh? I thought the word meant something a mechanic did to remove a tyre from a wheel.

Mr Knudsen: I'm 'getting into this grammar shite' because I need to find something to fill the howling void in the centre of my being. You of all people should know that since you put it there when you withdrew so abruptly.

Dr Maroon: as usual I understood less than half of what you said there. I was being a bit unfair to Andrew Motion, I suppose. I met him once and he seemed like a decent enough bloke, and far less precious than I would be if I were the Poet Laureate.
I found porn was better for a happy ending than Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie.
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