some notes (on marketing, brexit and language)

  1. I am sorry to announce that I was on a train from Paddington to St Austell just before christmas and as we travelled through the silver-grey Somerset floods in a leisurely row row row your boat sort of way the guard made this announcement: “we are now so late that we have completely lost our path through the network”. I remembered that recently they found the remains of a causeway of branches laid thousands of years ago and preserved, as peat is, by the anaerobic conditions in the marshes.

 2. I thought it was time to get my head out from under the duvet and see what was going on. I wrote down as much as I could scribble of what a member of the gov’t said on the radio:
“clear/very clear/idle speculation/absolutely crucial/get the deal through/clarity/ deliberate hysteria/degrees of uncertainty/leave in an orderly way/a week is a very long time in politics/situation has developed/I’m very hopeful/we’re all very conscious/assurances/the Northern Ireland backstop/ongoing discussion/I’m not privy/there are limits to my knowledge/as number of worries/that might be something that is being looked at/evolving situation/the plan is to win the vote”

Then as there were still one or two things I wasn’t sure about in spite of the blinding clarity and of course transparency I did the same thing again a couple of days later. A different member of the gov’t this time, he was the Business Minister: Unfortunately my hands must have been a bit damp from washing up and a few words are indecipherable:
“very clear/deal ______/what is required/period of transition/adjust/just-in-time production/given that we’ve got the deal/we need to come together/exactly what the PM has done/default position/no deal/terrible outcome/fact is default is _____/fall _____/no deal/come together/do a deal/reflect on the points made in the debate/strong determination/our reputation/recognise that we need to put differences aside/always work and fight/the policy of the government is to has to involve the whole of parliament/future generations/whole of parliament/establish that agreement/support prosperity/the deal will determine our future for many generations/international reputation/yesterday I was in Berlin/reputation always dependable/ haven in the world/pragmatic/ within our grasp/future generations/to establish what parliament wants can be useful step/discovering parliament’s mind/ substantial majority that doesn’t want to see no deal/the deal that has been negotiated/the process it seems to me/parliament come together/we need to bring it to a conclusion/Jaguar Land Rover a stellar company/ excellent workforce/ prime example/just-in-time manufacturing/it’s clear/ why they’ve been so clear/ government of Japan always very clear/ Mrs Thatcher was very clear that we would be a competitive environment/on Monday I’m going to be in Derbyshire/Toyota/ brilliance of our work force/no deal hangs over them”

You will see  that the gov’t referred to is Mrs May’s. At which point in her labours these statements were made I don’t know.

 3.  A key memory for me is of Andy Townsend saying while commenting on a champions league match between Celtic and Barcelona when Celtic had a rare chance, “that’s on target it’s in the back of the net.” Since then I must have said to him a hundred times: “Andy, it wasn’t on target, it’s not in the back of the net. What’s wrong with the conditional tense, Andy?” As if English wasn’t already stripped to the bones grammatically. Now they want to break its bones. If that’d been on target it’d have been in the back of the net/it would’ve hit the back of the net. or even it would have been in the net, only you’re not allowed to say that, it has to be the back of the net.

4   A big poster advertising an estate agent’s near Finsbury Park bus station  in Stroud Green Road says
WE ARE MARTYN GERRARD
WE ARE CROUCH END

In Caledonian Road, near the tube station a big sign on a building site hoarding says
I AM LONDON SQUARE
As I walk through London streets ffff is often on my lips and ck-ck-ck at the back of my throat.
But maybe The Decent Hard working Family Jam Co. could learn from this marketing strategy.
WE ARE BRAMBLE JELLY

I AM MARMALADE

Then a message from Myna, I vaguely recall this, T. May spoke of families which are “just about managing (to survive)”:  perfect
THE JUST ABOUT MANAGING TO SURVIVE FAMILY PRESERVES CO.
WE ARE MARMALADE

we are JAMS
THE JUST ABOUT MANAGING TO SURVIVE FAMILY PRESERVES CO.

But we still haven’t managed to find that marketing director.

 

5. The epitome of optimism: Jehovah’s Witnesses outside Stoke Newington station with leaflets in Hebrew.

 

This entry was posted in and the city, history, politics, language. Bookmark the permalink.

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