Tuesday 30 July 2013

Stuck in the Middle


Reverend Hawker points out that this is an absurdity: the people of the Middle Ages, not knowing when the Middle Ages were going to end, couldn’t have known when they’d reached the middle.
But Algernon is quick to reply that this doesn’t stop people nowadays having their mid-life crises unfailingly between the ages of 40 and 50 despite not knowing the dates of their own demise (thereby revealing a certain optimism);
Whereas Algernon, always wanting to be on the safe side, has been having a mid-life crisis on a yearly basis since the age of 15.

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Fowler’s Modern Usage

Astonished by the tidal wave of S & M novels spilling out from the shelves of nearly every bookshop he visits these days, Algernon decides to write one of his own.  He calls it:

The House of Correction

and describes in its pages an establishment where young women are brought to have their spelling corrected, along with their punctuation and grammar.  Here a variety of unsavoury pedants monitor the young women, paying particular attention to 

                   their ampersands,
                   their etceteras 
                   their ellipses, 
while grimly muttering phrases such as 

“You will soon grow accustomed to such usage, madam!”

Algernon, however, forgets to include any sex scenes: to his mind a series of vignettes about prim young women being sternly reminded that  

‘the word “accommodate” is spelt with 2 m’s!’

is excitement enough -- (not to mention the story of a grocer’s daughter who leaves her apostrophes everywhere) 

– and the book fails to become a bestseller.

Tuesday 16 July 2013

The Rarefied Air of the Mountains

All has been rather quiet in these pages of late, and the explanation is a simple one.  Algernon Swift has been away on a scientific expedition in the Himalayas,
where, after four months of careful tracking, he has finally succeeded in sighting the allusive Yeti.

(You might ask how Algernon managed to track him down successfully.  The answer is he followed his footnotes in the snow.)