Sunday, 3 August 2008

What a difference an 'a' makes (and other ramblings)

Not a bad week over all (of course it's all relative - compared to my old life, it's been shite!). Any way, Thursday I went on a short hack round Formby - no beach as a) I didn't feel ready, and b) my teacher wanted to see how I managed a short outing first. It was fine. I rode a lovely little lad called Thomas for the first time, and what a chilled out mount! I can honestly say -it's the first hack I've ever been on where the horse was totally unfazed by everything - trains, trucks, traffic, wheelie bins, dogs, open gates (which Winifred hates), skips - what a revelation! I'd like a horse who is equally chilled out - but I think it's probably a long shot finding one!!!

I meant to blog about this ages ago, but better late than never! Did you see the article in the Guardian's G2 mag, about Giles Coren's e-mails to his sub-editors?! Just goes to show how irate people can get about the little old definate article, and in Coren's defence, what a difference an 'a' makes!

Coren says, in his email;

I wrote: "I can't think of a nicer place to sit this spring over a glass of rosé and watch the boys and girls in the street outside smiling gaily to each other, and wondering where to go for a nosh."

It appeared as: "I can't think of a nicer place to sit this spring over a glass of rosé and watch the boys and girls in the street outside smiling gaily to each other, and wondering where to go for nosh."

There is no length issue. This is someone thinking "I'll just remove this indefinite article because Coren is an illiterate cunt and i know best".

Well, you fucking don't.
This was shit, shit sub-editing for three reasons.
1) 'Nosh', as I'm sure you fluent Yiddish speakers know, is a noun formed from a bastardisation of the German 'naschen'. It is a verb, and can be construed into two distinct nouns. One, 'nosh', means simply 'food'. You have decided that this is what i meant and removed the 'a'. I am insulted enough that you think you have a better ear for English than me. But a better ear for Yiddish? I doubt it. Because the other noun, 'nosh' means "a session of eating" - in this sense you might think of its dual valency as being similar to that of 'scoff'. you can go for a scoff. or you can buy some scoff. the sentence you left me with is shit, and is not what i meant. Why would you change a sentnece aso that it meant something i didn't mean? I don't know, but you risk doing it every time you change something. And the way you avoid this kind of fuck up is by not changing a word of my copy without asking me, okay? it's easy. Not. A. Word. Ever.

2) I will now explain why your error is even more shit than it looks. You see, i was making a joke. I do that sometimes. I have set up the street as "sexually-charged". I have described the shenanigans across the road at G.A.Y.. I have used the word 'gaily' as a gentle nudge. And "looking for a nosh" has a secondary meaning of looking for a blowjob. Not specifically gay, for this is soho, and there are plenty of girls there who take money for noshing boys. "looking for nosh" does not have that ambiguity. the joke is gone. I only wrote that sodding paragraph to make that joke. And you've fucking stripped it out like a pissed Irish plasterer restoring a renaissance fresco and thinking jesus looks shit with a bear so plastering over it. You might as well have removed the whole paragraph. I mean, fucking christ, don't you read the copy?

3) And worst of all. Dumbest, deafest, shittest of all, you have removed the unstressed 'a' so that the stress that should have fallen on "nosh" is lost, and my piece ends on an unstressed syllable. When you're winding up a piece of prose, metre is crucial. Can't you hear? Can't you hear that it is wrong? It's not fucking rocket science. It's fucking pre-GCSE scansion. I have written 350 restaurant reviews for The Times and i have never ended on an unstressed syllable. Fuck. fuck, fuck, fuck.

Strong words indeed! You can read the rest here. I will certainly never look at the letter 'a' in quite the same light again!


And so back to life... The weekend was crap. Not because of the weather, or lack of things to do (both of which were fine), but because of this horrendous stomach pain I keep getting. I haven't talked much about my bowels because, well, it isn't something I like to even think about, much less talk, and besides, when it's all working, it isn't something we think about, is it? (I'm reminded of Eddie Murphy in Raw, where he talks about different types of bowel movement - very funny!). The amount of drugs I'm having to take makes me constipated and in agony with wind. I've gone from someone who said, "bathroom" instead of "toilet" or "loo" because of embarrassment, I now find myself talking about poo an awful lot! Family members don't help in this, as most phone calls recently have been starting with, "Have you been (to the toilet) today?" Oh well. This is my life for the time being, I guess.

I've been okay in terms of emotional/mental well-being. I find when the pains have gone on for a couple of days, I get weakened by them and end up having a good old sob. Then the negative thoughts try to slip in below the radar, and I have to forcibly boot them out again, but I do address them first, where possible. No good ignoring it all together, is it? I mean, I'm in this position - not knowing what the future holds, not feeling anywhere near back to normal, not knowing how long anything is going to last (read as deeply into that as you can cope with). I've been reading Adrian Sudbury's blog (Baldy's Blog) which is simply heartbreaking. He started blogging when he got leukemia last year, and now doctors have given him a matter of weeks. He is 25. "One in Three - why not me?" as the saying goes. If I have only one wish in this life, it's that this blog doesn't end up ending with me ending!


DOT said...

Thanks for the link to the Giles Coren piece.

I wish I had had his balls to respond in kind to an editor of a paper I wrote for when she f**ked around with my copy.

Thanks also for the link to Adrian Sudbury's blog.

And please blog all you like about the state of your bowels if it helps. I got a daily update from my daughter on the state of hers during her pregnancy so will not be fazed.

Captain Black said...

I'm not sure exactly what "sub editing" is all about, but presumably this Coren guy didn't get to proof-read it before it went out.

He may be right and justified in his complaints. He may even be the literary genius he thinks he is. However, he doesn't help his cause by swearing like a trooper.

I hope the stomach pains go away soon.

Debs said...

Glad you enjoyed your hack and hope your stomach pains ease.

Thanks for the Giles Coren piece too.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

There are mummy blogs, cat blogs, knitting blogs - why not poo blogs?

And, Lisa, I have to disagree with you. I definitely want this blog to end up ending with you ending - in about 50 years' time. OK?

Lane said...

Poor Mr Coren. He doesn't argue his case very eloquently does he? Perhaps he's paid by the word and a bit miffed:-)

I think we can all take a bit of poo talk and I agree with Zinnia. You can log off in about in about 2058:-)

motherx said...

Im so glad you are feeling better! Love your horse pictures on facebook!
Blog all you like about bowels....looking after W...this could never faze me!! XX

hesitant scribe said...

dot - glad you enjoyed the Coren piece! He does indeed have massive cojones! As for the bowels - er, thanks!

capt' - the language is a tad choice, but you should see the other 2 emails they published in G2 - it gets worse!

debs - nice to see you here - hope your writing's going well. Still got the blasted tummy ache I'm afraid :(

zinnia - a poo blog?! Now there's a thought! And I do hope you're right about me lasting that long!

lane - yeah, 2058 sounds good to me!

motherx - YOU inspire me with the way you look after your beautiful boys and cope so patiently with all their health issues. Thank you for also having time to be bothered with my grumbles!