Tuesday, February 25

Andrew Kay: Yak Yak Yak

- August 16, 2016


Word Play

I am aware daily that I am becoming curmudgeonly. There’s a word to conjure with, whilst not being onomatopoeic, it certainly has a grouchy tone to it. Funnily enough my grouchiness is often sparked by words. Words that I sense have been thrown into disrepute.

Let me start with “Gourmet”. Yes the word that peppers my life if you forgive the culinary allusion. It’s not that I don’t believe in gourmet, I just find it too often applied to things that hardly deserve the accolade. I feel it inappropriate to apply it to grilled minced beef patties, are you with me?

An overblown sense of importance

On to “Vintage” and the use of the word for anything that we might formerly have declared to be second hand. Then “Heritage”, everything is heritage these days but surely not tomatoes. Heritage instills a sense of essential history and whilst I see the importance of preserving delicious fruits and vegetables I’m worried that it adds an overblown sense of importance. “Designer”, well what a worthless label that has become, everything is designer, it always was, the difference lying in whether it is good or bad design.

I am equally unloving of the word “Studio” and especially when it is used to describe something once described as a bedsit. In the same breath I have issues with the word “Boutique”. I suppose in the ‘60s every clothes shop wanted to be seen as the fashionable place and the word was adopted from the French to add a certain chic glamour. Now no self-respecting fashion outlet would use it and it has been handed down to the world of hotels. It sort of made sense, a new wave of hotels that were making an effort to rise above the old boarding house or B&B. It gave rise to a lot of beige walls and faux suede headboards, to chandeliers and shabby chic (another phrase for second hand) and in turn it raised prices.

I love progress, I applaud the inclusion of new words into the language, but let’s not kid ourselves, some of this is just marketing hype.

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