Tuesday, September 08, 2009

An au revoir and a goodbye.....

This may not be the ideal time to set off on a road trip, Mercury turning retrograde an' all. Never mind! We're going anyway. Part of our route northward will re-trace one taken some years ago, maybe that'll be sufficient to qualify for a sporting "bye" from Mercury Retro this time around. So, after today I'll be absent from blogland for a while, trying to discover if, as Anatole France once wrote: Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe"

But just before taking my leave:

I read yesterday that one of my favourite British newspaper columnists, who was also novelist and playwright, died on 4 September, aged 80. Keith Waterhouse, a fellow Yorkie and fellow Sun Aquarian was one of my must-read journalists for many years when I lived in the UK. I mentioned him on this blog in the past when I quoted his column about good writing - see "Good Astrology Bloggery".

I note from the Wikipedia entry on Keith that
"He fought long crusades to highlight what he perceived to be a decline in the standards of modern English; for example, he founded the Association for the Abolition of the Aberrant Apostrophe, whose members attempt to stem the tide of such solecisms as "pound's of apple's and orange's" in greengrocers' shops."
My husband would have enjoyed his columns, I think, and especially would have cheered him on for the above effort.

RIP Keith Waterhouse, and thanks for many, many chuckles.


anyjazz said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
anyjazz said...

A short while ago I was reading that article about some newly published Beatles Interviews in the Times Online. Many readers left appreciative comments. One reader commented negatively several times, pushing for an argument from somebody, anybody. The problem was, his comments were void of punctuation and capitals and were full of the new “abbreviations.” I lament the misuse and overuse of the apostrophe and comma but this stuff was well beyond that. Don’t these people realize correct spelling and grammar and well constructed sentences are how the reader measures the importance, veracity and source of the comment? It was impossible to take the commenter seriously

Twilight said...

Anyjazz ~~~ I suppose we seem like old farts complaining about such things, but you're right. The commenter you describe was probably "typing" on a Blackberry or some such handheld piece, maybe at school or college or in a supermarket aisles....or even driving a flippin' car - worst of all. Capitals, spelling and good sentence construction will soon be things of the past, like stonemasonry, skilled woodworking, blacksmith work....and many other crafts.

Wisewebwoman said...

Yes, I lament it too, T. I imagine you both have read "Eats, leaves..." a brilliant book on the topic. That stray apostrophe gets me every time (The Smith's) and alas and alack our famous Tim Horton's here dropped theirs.
Twitter and FB have done us all in, I'm afraid.
Enjoy your trip, you'll be missed by this devoted fan!!

anthonynorth said...

Enjoy your trip.
Yes, it was sad to see Keith go. I often read his columns, and in tribute I watched Billy Liar again.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Yes, We both read "Eats Shoots and Leaves" - I wasn't too keen on it though. Around halfway through I was bored and didn't much like the author's style, so I skipped through the rest, I'm afraid. My husband enjoyed it though. A book on the language I did enjoy was Bill Bryson's "Mother Tongue".

I like the writers of the early to mid-20th century, I doubt they can be beaten for pure style - things have gone downhill from there (present company excepted, of course!)

We'll be setting off soon. Thanks for the good wishes. I'm longing for a change of scene!

Twilight said...

AnthonyNorth ~~~ Thank you, we're looking forward to it a lot.

I must look for a DVD of Billy Liar when we get back and watch again. I don't think my husband is familiar with it - he'd enjoy, I think.

WinkGamer said...

Have a good vacation! Yes I also used to read Keith's columns when I was living in the UK - very sad news.

R J Adams said...

A friend of mine works for the Social Security Administration and is constantly lamenting young trainees she has to mentor who insist on writing files with no punctuation at all. It's quite impossible for anyone else to read them, yet when taken to task they look aghast at the suggestion of using a full stop, or capital letter.
Truly sad news of Keith Waterhouse. I, too, was a fan when I lived in the UK.
Enjoy your trip. I'm rather glad you're going, it'll give me an opportunity to catch up on the other eleven 'Twilight' posts I have yet to read! You're becoming way too prolific. :-)

Twilight said...

WinkGamer ....Hi, and thanks - so far it has been super dooper! :-)

Twilight said...

Hiya RJ! We're holed up in a motel in of all places, YORK - York, Nebraska that is. Dawdling our way back from South Dakota and Wyoming.

LOL! I can well imagine the problem with trainees brought up with Blackberry and suchlike in hand. It was bad enough in my day in the civil service in the UK.
I still chuckle over a student on temp vacation work who, asked to sort out a load of binders and files so that stuff would be easier to find, decided to file them so: all the red ones together, all the green ones together, all the brown ones....etc. :-)