Merry Crimbo and a cool Yule………

  Idily reading the sports pages this morning, I noticed a stray reference to “crimbo”, meaning “Christmas”. Crimbo! This word, which must have seemed cheerful, irreverent and rather modern at one point, today feels rather dated – to me, it is somehow redolent of the 1980s, although the OED has …

Let`s talk about Apostrophes….

  I used to be taught by a teacher who insisted on apostrophising everything. He would always refer to the ‘phone and the ‘papers, the punctuation point standing in for the missing tele and news. The habit was at the same time wondrously fastidious and gloriously silly. It would be …

Celebrity Celibates……

  Hans Christian Anderson (1805 – 1875) The wonderfully weird writer of fairy-tales declared his love for many prominent, ultimately unavailable women. He enjoyed visiting prostitutes, but only to sit and chat with them. He died unmarried and a virgin and was so terrified about being buried alive he insisted …

Beckett and the breadcrumb……

  When Samuel Beckett lived briefly in Berlin, his regular haunt was a restaurant called the Giraffe. While sitting there one day after finishing his meal, he was asked by his waiter “Why is there no expression of hope in your work?” After a trademark Beckett silence, he picked up …