Next, please!

When we were back in the UK was week, one of the questions we were most frequently asked was how were we coping with the French language.

Our standard reply was that in this part of France, at least, very few people either didn’t speak English or felt inclined not to, so we had to do our best to communicate totally in French. This was getting easier as we were amassing a useful vocabulary and were beginning to understand the spoken language better.

Indeed, why should the French speak English? It’s their country, after all, and it’s up to us to adapt and not them. So, we shall struggle on – no doubt making many mistakes, faux-pas and gaffes but learning all the time and possibly amusing a few of the natives into the bargain.

I’m not sufficiently fluent yet – and I strongly doubt I ever will be – to tell if someone is using French correctly or to be aware of change in general use of the language, but after nearly 60 years of speaking English I think I’m better qualified to notice these things in my own language.

So, step forward the BBC.

Long cited as one of the bastions of the Queen’s English, the Corporation seems to have embarked on a mini-Crusade to change not just a very basic and common word, but also a fundamental concept that guides each and every one of us through life.

The word is ‘next’ and the concept is sequence.

This culminated last night in a rant at the television between the penultimate and the ultimate episodes of the latest series of ‘Doctor Who,.

Having just sat through episode 12, the overpaid continuity announcer then informed me that “next on BBC3’ was a film about dragons called ‘Reign of Fire’, but first the last episode of ‘Doctor Who’.

What the fucking fuck?

That’s like me saying that after today (Saturday) the next day coming up is Monday, but first we’ve got Sunday coming up.

Sitting here, in the kitchen, I can see a row of mugs on a shelf. looking from the left I can first see a stripy mug and then a blue one and lastly a yellow one. That’s a basic sequence and describes exactly what I can see. I haven’t got a stripy mug and next a yellow one but, oh look, there’s a fucking blue mug before the yellow one.

The sequence is stripy, blue, yellow.

End of.

Just as last night’s schedule was ‘Doctor Who Episode 12’, ‘Doctor Who Episode 13’, ‘Reign of Fire’.

What the blistering cunting fuck was the problem with saying something like, “Next on BBC 3 is the last episode of ‘Doctor Who’ and after that a film about dragons called ‘Reign of Fire’”? It’s informative, correct and logical.

Similarly, I’m getting mightily pissed off with the word ‘best’ used to mean ‘favourite’. Although I don’t listen to BBC Radio 5 anymore, early on a Monday morning during his book phone-in when Dotun Adebayo used to ask listeners to ring in and tell him what ‘my best book’ was, it used to drive me fucking mental.

Dotun, you drivelling shithead, it’s ‘favourite book’. ‘Best’ implies that it’s either the smartest one on the shelf or it’s the writer’s master work.

I realise that language evolves, but this doesn’t have to mean that it loses precision or meaning. As our chief means of communication, language is precious, particularly the spoken word, which is how we all interact on a daily basis. Fuck with this and you could cause all sorts of problems. I mean, you can argue all fucking night about what the terms ‘democracy’ or ‘freedom’ mean, but surely ‘next’ or ‘best’ are so clear cut that we can all use them without the need to puzzle over them first.

Anyway, fuck the BBC and their publicly-funded shit, I’m going to post this to my blog.

Next I’m going to go to bed.

But first I’m going to sit outside with coffee and a smoke, have lunch, play guitar, sink a few beers, have dinner, watch a DVD and read for a while before turning out the light… 

12 Responses

  1. Something which boils my piss are people who use ‘compare to’. You do not compare something to something.

    You compare something with something.


  2. Having ranted there, I realise that I should have said…’is people’.

  3. You didnt expect anything else from the BBC did you? I certainly dont, I have hated the BBC for years, for a myriad of reasons but one of the things that irks me is having to pay for a whole raft of programming I do not want or watch….all the other channels can be shit I dont care I dont pay for them…the BBC cant but they are, they are awful most programmes I do not watch on their and the overpaid presenters well thats another story isnt it….corporation my arse!!

  4. @Catosays:
    Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? 🙂

    We say “compare to” when we want to emphasise the similarities, and “compare with” when we want to emphasise the differences.

  5. Fucking great……….. Funny as usual lolololol

  6. @ Have your lurk.

    I sit corrected. Ty muchly!

  7. I am disinterested in what is said on the BBC as fortuitously I do not watch it very much.

    Very simply:
    Compare to = making a comparison

    Compare with = equating

    It seems the BBC has been quite effective…..

  8. Would this be a fortuitous opportunity to take the chance to apologise to you, Mr Rob, for my recent rudeness to you on B&D?

    I am sorry for being overly rude and obnoxious in the death penalty article. Do come back, you are a much valued visitor to the site.


  9. John, one should be wary of apologising for things that are an inherent part of one’s character and thus bound to be repeated. John Demetriou is rude and obnoxious. The blog, however, is one of the few worth reading and of course I’ll be back. I did take a little time out to let you calm down, but work also called this week with rather extended hours out of contact.

    No need for the apology, but thanks anyway 🙂 See ya.

    Sorrry to use your blog as a message board Steve. How is Mother Superior/English Nat/Uncle Stevie? Still a fat, dim bigot?

  10. Steve won’t mind, it’s like his front room in here anyway.

    Oi, Steve, where’s the beer and the tabs! What sort of hospitality you call this?!

    Only jokin’. If you ever happen to pop back to the UK and end up in the north for whatever reason, drop me an email and I’ll meet you up and shout you a beer. Same for Mr Magnanimous here.

  11. Mr Rob and John Demetriou – two people for whom I have the utmost respect and trust and who have trusted me by disclosing their real names – which remain an inviolate secret here.

    I would hazard a guess that if the 3 of us were to meet up for a pint or two then we’d have more in common than not.

    Meanwhile, feel free to use this place how you want!

    You’ll find the beer is now stocked up and tabs are available.

    All I ask is that he ashtrays are emptied and glasses put in the dishwasher.

  12. @Mr Rob
    “How is Mother Superior/English Nat/Uncle Stevie? Still a fat, dim bigot?”

    I doff my cap to you for getting the names of three total cocksuckers into the same sentence.

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