A FORMER colleague took a risk this week with an article on signs with grammatical errors.
Focusing mainly on missing apostrophes – and ignoring the erroneous A in the name of my home village in a sign opposite the office – it really is poking the bear.
Readers do not need much excuse to point out errors or call an article’s news worthiness into question, so putting your head above your parapet and highlighting any grammatical faux pas is asking for criticism of any mistake, imagined or not.
Once received a letter listing 10 errors in an article (among many others, the writer explained). Had to resist the temptation to write back and explain he was wrong on all but one of them and could easily have made a longer list of errors from his letter.
Was not as slow pointing out errors – grammatical or factual – in my years as a sub, but then that was my job. Until a couple of weeks ago.
That job included stewardship of the office style guide – we did not have a physical one like the ones waved at me by subs as a young reporter, but a series of weekly emails running through common errors (how to refer to a councillor tops the list), spelling issues and settling debates.
Often two options are both right but the house style is to stick to one for the sake of consistency.
It may come as a surprise, but this blog has its own style guide, tucked away in a corner of my mind. Which has the advantage of being endlessly flexible so when the need arrives, the rules can be bent to suit the needs of the blog.
Which it really needs to be for this stretch of the A-Z journey through my iPod.
One of the simple rules is to avoid the first person wherever possible. It will come as a shock to a couple of ex-colleagues whose (lengthy) pieces were littered with I this, I that. Gave up counting in one opening paragraph when it reached double figures, all of which were subbed out.
Have broken that rule a couple of times in posts but they were personal tributes. It would have been odd to write them any other way.
And for the next few paragraphs, will have to break that rule again or this post will become impossible as it takes in the very long run of songs beginning with I (by far the most common opening word of this entire, expanding journey).
This section takes us from a second outing for The Stone Roses’ debut album finale to First Aid Kit.
There has been, seemingly inevitable at the moment, a fair amount of The Beatles with I Am The Walrus (twice) and I Feel Fine (three times) as well as, less inevitably, a blast of The Stones, although this was a rather different version of (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – bereft of chorus – by Cat Power.
The Clash popped up once with I Fought The Law, but with two different versions by Joe Strummer, while there were welcome visits from the Arctic Monkeys ( I Bet You… can probably work that one out), Sun Kil Moon (I Can’t Live Without My Mother’s Love), Idlewild (I Don’t Have The Map), The House of Love (I Don’t Know Why I Love You) and Altered Images (I Could Be Happy).
There was (probably, it was a while ago, been a bit busy) screaming along to I Bleed by Pixies, who provided a very welcome soundtrack in session on the radio while cleaning my flat ahead of moving out. Very jealous of anyone seeing them in-store at Spillers in Cardiff.
As a believer in coyotes and time as an abstract, always great to hear I Believe by REM from Life’s Rich Pageant – probably edging ahead of long-time favourite Reckoning as my favourite REM album.
They have featured quite heavily as my musical intake has embraced the ability to raid the whole of Apple’s library since the decision was finally made about whether to upgrade my iPod for travelling.
The trusted Classic will add overlanding around South America to Africa on its list of places visited but this time merely as a back-up to a new Touch with instant access to a huge selection of music new and old (been adding a load of vintage stuff ahead of departure).
It is not perfect. Much prefer the wheel control than everything having to be touchscreen digital, the battery life seems shorter and it does not give updates on tracks in the collection – or exactly how many hundreds of I songs we have to wade through – but getting used to it.
And have plenty of time to do just that over the next 31 weeks as the A-Z journey goes into hibernation while travelling.
It became clear very quickly in Africa that keeping the A-Z going alongside blogging from on the road was too much to ask – I blog because I am travelling, not the other way round (to break the rules one more time).
The travel pieces (starting tomorrow from Heathrow. Probably) may well take a diversion into what is soundtracking the trip, but the A-Z is taking a few months off.
This time by design, not just because I have put it off. Again.