I was walking into Stratford uA town centre at lunchtime and passed a couple of blokes greeting each other with lots of smiles and hugs so clearly very matey. One guy said to the other ‘ haven’t seen you in ages, how you doing?’ To which the other guy replied ‘just the same, how you doing?’ To which the other chap said, ‘oh just the same’. Then they shook hands and parted. I mean if you’re going to start a conversation guys, is that really the best you can do? Bloody hell.
‘Just the same’ is about as informative as ‘not too bad’. So contemporary England. I’m stood in the middle of the town that spawned the greatest dramatist/wordsmith that the English language has ever known. He personally generated many 100’s of individual words and expressions that the language had never heard before. Beautiful expressions that not just persist but are in common usage to this day, over 400 years later. And all these guys can do is repeat ‘just the same’ to each other. Shakespeare must be looking down and thinking ‘what the forsooth?’
I love having chats with people. It’s one of the things I missed enormously during lock down; that ability to socialise and communicate with another human being openly and face to face. When it was denied it felt like a real loss and now we have this privilege back, this is how we treat it. Meanly. FFS savour the beauty of the conversation. Enjoy it, get involved. Have a bloody chat.
Before leaving the subject of words and language, I have to mention an announcement that’s made in advance of most of the episodes of the Sopranos, my favourite tv programme and one I continue to watch on catch up tv. This woman’s voice appears saying ‘This programme contains strong and frequent language from the outset’. Frequent language? Well yeh, that’s what’s called dialogue. It features in all tv prog’s and films ever made except the silent movies and some French films noire of the early 60’s. Do you think they mean frequent strong language from the outset? Why can’t they say that or employ somebody with some expertise in word crafting to write the copy for them?
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