Thursday, 19 March 2009

Bored by Sundays? Then spend them in a graveyard.

This was the headline I penned way back in the '90s for an advertisement that appeared in Time Out magazine advertising the unusual services of a good friend who is simultaneously by far the most brilliant and barmy person I've ever known. At the time this friend, who will remain nameless, was a psychiatrist by day, college lecturer by night and tour guide at the weekend. The tour company he operated was unusual in that it specialized in sites of psychic interest. Needless to say, the advert succeeded in attracting a weird and wonderful clientele.

The trips themselves, which I sampled myself were pretty colourful affairs. On one occasion, the fairly ropy old minibus in which a dozen paying customers found themselves sitting, developed a flat tyre on the M25. While most tour guides might have been perturbed by such a potentially disastrous mishap, my friend relished the opportunity to regale his captive audience with a tirade of anecdotes, fascinating insights and some of the funniest jokes you could ever wish to hear.

It later transpired that 90% of these delightful passengers were in fact my friend' s psychiatric patients.

This Sunday my friend's wife is arranging a fairly swanky surprise 50th birthday party for her extraordinary husband. To my knowledge, no minibuses have been lined up.

Going forward sometime soon

Why oh why are we plagued by such meaningless terms? And are more being inflicted on us today than ever before? It certainly feels that way. Perhaps I'm just being pedantic and overly sensitive. But no, I don't think so.

We seem to have this desperate need to create superfluous words in an attempt to make ourselves sound more serious, more mature, more corporate. But the stark reality is that we all sound a great deal more stupid as a result.

I remember an old English teacher bemoaning the use of the term, 'at this moment in time'. Why, he asked couldn't we suffice with the one word 'now'?