January 2010 Archives
Sarcasm: often referred to as the lowest form of wit, but those of us who use it would counter that it is the highest form of intelligence. Of course we were probably being sarcastic.
The problem with sarcasm, like its sister irony, is that a lot of people don't appreciate it. They probably don't understand it and subsequently consider it rude. Naturally it was possibly intended that way, though I confess to being a fan of lighter, inclusive sarcasm myself.
In the written form it can be harder to perceive, tone is a tricky trick to master and I am frequently surprised when people read sarcasm in my words when I was intending to be sincere. Possibly it's all in the way we're perceived as individuals; maybe you would expect me to be sarcastic even when I'm not. As a huge believer and ardent supporter of ambiguity in language I wouldn't want it any other way - even thought it has caused me a few problems in my business correspondence.
Ikea, one small Scandinavian word guaranteed to strike fear into the hearts of most men. There's a risk of gender-stereotyping here but my wife used to really look forward to our Ikea trips. She used to plan her visit, looking through the catalogue, making notes long before we'd set off to Wednesbury.
Inevitably we'd buy far more than we needed, or could capably transport home, and have to book some overpriced delivery. On one occasion we even hired a van specifically to go there.
Then a rumour started that Ikea were going to open a Coventry store. Only my bank manager could possibly have been more worried than I was. Around two years after the rumour started it was confirmed, Ikea were about to open their first city centre store. In some respects this was a blessed relief, no more would I have to trek to Junction 9 and my wife could even go there without me.
A lot of people of my generation revered the late John Peel as a kind of deity. His genuine, unparalleled enthusiasm for new music was indeed a wonder to behold and his personal charisma and laid-back style inspired legions of fans and bands over many decades.
We miss him for those reasons, and I think we also miss him because we no longer know who to go to for musical advice. There were always scores of pretenders and imitators (some might say I was one myself), but with John there was rarely any b.s. If he said he liked something, he liked it - not because it was what his programme controller, head of music or station manager wanted to hear.