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Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Bad language

The picture is of my father, George, one of his sisters and a niece.

Handsome, isn't he?

He was also a man of the most sublime eccentricity, and I suspect I am getting more and more like him.

He was a publican and, as my mother informed me, a sinner when he got too close to one or two of the barmaids. As she put it, "George loved the ladies, and the ladies loved him." In fact I've long suspected that he and my younger brother - also called George - were both very friendly with the lovely Gertrude. And she was lovely, too.

Anyhow, being a bit of a booze-hound, the old man tended to be in a filthy mood in the mornings, which he dealt with very logically by making sure he had something to moan about. If he couldn't find anything obviously amiss in the kitchen or the bar, he would solve the problem by turning on the wireless (this was before the days when they called it the radio).

He knew he would always find some music he loathed on what was then called the Light Programme (there were only three BBC programmes in those days and this was the most frivolous).

As soon as he heard a singer he disliked (usually a woman) he would snap, "Yowling bitch!" and turn the machine off, satisfied that all was ill in the world and standards were on a gratifying decline.

In a similar way I delight in prowling through the reviews - paying especial attention to the ludicrous prices - of top restaurants, usually pausing to wonder why the former are so often illiterate and the latter so absurdly high, and occasionally muttering things like "pshaw" and "grasping bastards".

Nobody qualifies on both counts more than Gordon Ramsay, a man whose deployment of an extraordinarily limited number of words never fails to enthrall. Anyhow, I just read that one of his restaurants serves "traditional English Fayre".

Fayre? Fayre. Fuck me, Gordon, I'd find out who wrote that and give them a right kicking. Outside of third-rate cafes in resorts like Weston-super-Mare where do they use expressions like that?

This could kill your positioning. How can you possibly charge your sort of prices for "fayre". You'll have to bring them right down if you get too much of that sort of language used.

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