Sunday, January 07, 2007

A Rockin' Read: The Story of English

...So it’s Sunday and I’m checking Belle & Sebastian’s If You’re Feeling Sinister LP…I was just thinking about a conversation that I’d had with a friend regarding lyrics/lyricists and how their wordage can make or break a good song (and vice versa) which plays right into the thrust of recent posts about songwriters…being American, I always found it peculiar that when people from the UK sang (the Caribbean too for that matter) they lost whatever discernible hit of an accent that is ordinarily thick as pea soup (I recently heard an interview with B&S’s Stuart Murdoch)...another thing I’ve always tripped on was British slang which seeps into our ears/lexicon over here these day via film and books but such was not always the case as I learned in the book above (written by Robert McCrum, Robert MacNeil and Cran William written as an companion for a BBC documentary) which I discovered hidden back in the stacks at my local library…it’s a bona fide find, son, well, if you’re into learning about such things…there’s an early chapter in the book that opens with a litany of Shakespearian quotes that we all use everyday and don’t even realize that starts like this:

“If you cannot understand my argument, and declare ‘It’s Greek to me’, you are quoting Shakespeare…If you act more in sorrow than in anger, if your wish is father to the thought, if your lost property has vanished into thin air, you are quoting Shakespeare…If you have ever refused to budge an inch or suffered from green-eyed jealousy, if you have played fast and loose, If you have been tongue-tied, a tower of strength, hoodwinked or in a pickle, if you have knitted your brows, made virtue of necessity, insisted on fair play, slept not one wink, stood on ceremony…laughed yourself into stitches, had short shrift, cold comfort or too much of a good thing, if you have seen better days or lived in a fool’s paradise – why, be that as it may, the more fool of you, for it is a foregone conclusion that you are (as good luck would have it) quoting Shakespeare”

...mind you, there’s more to the book than just quotations from the Bard,continued here

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