In the unlikely event I’d be invited to take part in Room 101, the first object I’d want to be locked away for eternity is the decline of the English language. The nation that spawned the genius of William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Dylan Thomas shouldn’t have to suffer any of its population inserting the word ‘like’ three times into one sentence.
Presumably Shakespeare would re-write his Macbeth soliloquy as ‘And he’s like, ‘Is this like, a dagger, which I see before me’, and I’m like…whatever’
And don’t get me started on the ‘should of’ instead of ‘should have’. And by the way, don’t even think about writing a letter to The Times or e-mailing the fanzine editor about my using the word and to start a sentence. Professor Jack Lynch, Associate Professor of English, Rutgers University, New Jersey said, ‘Contrary to what your high school English teacher told you, there’s no reason not to begin a sentence with ‘but’ or ‘and’; in fact, these words often make a sentence more forceful and graceful.’ You mess with the Lynchmeister at your peril.
Worse still is the fashion for people in high places to adopt football interview speak. Our language is in serious trouble. Just look at this recent interview with our own Prime Minister;
So, Teresa May, after the Brexit debacle, you’re the new Prime Minister. Can you talk us through it?
TM ‘Well, they asked me to get out there, put myself about a bit, make a nuisance of myself and maybe nick it. And that’s what I did. I’ve seen Cameron go off to the right and Corbyn on the left, so I’ve held things up a bit and looked down the line, maybe got a bit of luck there, but timed it just nice.’
How do you think Cameron will feel about the way things turned out?
TM ‘He’ll be a bit disappointed, to be fair. As I said, he’s put in a shift and given it a hundred and ten percent but it’s not come off for him and he might feel that the better team lost, but that’s politics.’
And you? How do you feel about the rest of your term and the Brexit situation?
TM ‘To be honest, I’m just taking one set of negotiations at a time.’
You’ve got to be confident though?
TM ‘Well, I’ve a lot of faith in the lads. The spirit in the camp is good but there are no easy talks at this level. The Europeans won’t just roll over. We’ve got to earn the right to be there but we know it won’t be easy at their place. They’ll get in our faces and the crowd will be on their side but if we win an argument early doors it’s all to play for.’
And how do you feel about getting them back here?
TM ‘They’ve made it difficult for us so far and all credit to them but got to fancy our chances at our gaff. They won’t fancy it at our place under the lights on a cold Tuesday night in Westminster.’
Perhaps the PM can justify it. Maybe she is trying to appeal to the man in the street. Sir Ian McKellen, legendary stage and screen actor, is at it too. Surely he should be maintaining a higher standard, but look at this extract from an interview on Film 2017;
Sir Ian, you’re shooting a new X-Men movie. Is it good to be back on set?
IMcK ‘Yes, it’s been absolutely marvellous. I couldn’t be prouder of the lads today.’
Although I understand Patrick Stewart keeps forgetting his lines.
IMcK ‘Look, when he gets it right he is fabulous and he’s got that in his locker. He’s top drawer and you’ve seen glimpses of that out there today. He’s had to scrap it out but he’ll learn from that and come back stronger.’
And you’ve attracted some huge crowds whilst filming.
IMcK ‘Oh yes, I thought the support we got was first-class today. They deserve better, but Patrick will come back fighting.’
So no thoughts of quitting then?
IMcK ‘Ultimately, I will be judged on results. And we all want what’s best for this movie but I’ve never walked away from anything in my life, and I’m not going to start now.’
So, you don’t feel under pressure?
IMcK ‘Look, at the end of the day, I’m just taking one scene at a time, focussing on all the things we’ve worked on in rehearsal and making sure we bring that onto the set.’
Looking further ahead should we expect the film to win any awards?
IMcK ‘I don’t want to criticise the judges but they’ll feel they let themselves down when they see the replay if they don’t.’
So, we can expect an Oscar or two?
IMcK ‘Well, I’ve seen them given.’
PS For the record, my second item going into Room 101, as if anyone actually gives a stuff, is a toss up between Fearne Cotton and Richard Madeley.
This article was first printed in issue 87 of popular STAND fanzine, which was published in March 2017. popular STAND prints six issues per season, and subscriptions are available anywhere in the world.