In this blogposting…
* Cliches
* Things You Don’t See Very Often
* An Unforgotten Local Hero

* * *
I lead such a pointless and desultory life that a cliche-listing competition which a friend and me indulged in the other day scores as highly for me as bungee-jumping or freefall parachuting would for anyone else.

Wikipedia defines a cliche as ‘an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has become overused to the point of losing its original meaning, or effect, and even to the point of being trite or irritating, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel.’

And you can’t say fairer than that (to use another cliche).

As my friend and me got deeper and deeper into clichedom, and the bottle of wine got emptier and emptier, our list got much longer than we had originally intended…

We found that you can have your back against the wall, be back in the saddle, go back to square one (or back to the drawing-board…)

You can be better late than never, better safe than sorry, better the Devil you know…

There are birds in the hand, birds of a feather and birds and bees…

You can be on the nose, on the wagon or on thin ice…

You can take the bull by the horns or take the plunge…

You can keep your eye on something, keep the noise down, keep it simple (stupid), keep up with the Joneses, keep your cards close to your chest, keep your chin up and keep your powder dry…

You can let sleeping dogs lie and let the cat out of the bag…

Something can be as easy as 1-2-3 or as easy as pie…

You can give someone a break, or the creeps, or the time of day…

Something can be in a nutshell, in the blink of an eye, in harm’s way, in your dreams or in your face; it can be clear as a bell or as clear as mud...

You can jump in with both feet, jump on the bandwagon or jump the gun…

You can be down in the dumps, down the pan (or the drain), down the hatch or down to earth…

And all this because the Institute of Leadership and Management published a list of the most irritating and overused cliches commonly heard in the nation’s boardrooms and on management training courses.  Here’s the list….

10 - Take it to the next level
09 - I’ll ping you an agenda 
I’ve only heard ‘ping’ used like this once
08 - Best practice
07 - It’s a no-brainer 
I completely misunderstood this the first time I heard it
06 - A win-win situation
05 - A low-hanging fruit 
I’ve never heard this and have no idea what it’s supposed to mean
04 - Flag up
03 - It’s on my radar
02 - Touch base
01 - Reach out

In a spirit of brutal honesty, I’ve glanced back at a few random blogpostings and am prepared to admit that I am not averse to using the odd hackneyed cliche myself.  I’ve found far too many examples of as well he might, not unexpected, needless to say, stranger than fiction, time and again, by and large, twist of fate, beat about the bush, best since sliced bread, bark up the wrong tree…

So I’m as guilty as anyone else, I suppose.

Your nominations for the be-all-and-end-all list of most irritating cliches gratefully received.

* * *
That’s the name of a set of photos sent to me the other day by Eric and Jean.  I suspect that, like most other viral photos, almost all of them have been photoshopped or are even pure invention.  They’re innocently ‘cute’, nevertheless - so let’s suspend our disbelief.

Here’s a selection.


* * *
Let’s hear it for the redoubtable Emily Wilding Davison, the fearless suffragette who threw herself in front of the King’s horse at the Derby in 1913 and died for her trouble four days later.
Amongst the many ways that the media have been marking the centenary of this unforgettable event has been a documentary about it shown last week on Channel 4 - and presented by the ubiquitous Clare Balding, who appears to be everywhere at the moment; the new Stephen Fry.

It was a fascinating and insightful programme and came to the tentative conclusion that Emily probably did not commit suicide that day.  Digitally remastered film footage seems to show that she was attempting to drape a Votes for Women sash around the horse’s neck and tragically misjudged the speed and power of the animal.

Of more local and personal interest for me was the film of her funeral in Morpeth - her home town.  It quite clearly confirms what a Blue Bus listener told us when we covered Emily’s story from Morpeth some years ago.  The listener told us that his father was present at the funeral and recalled that almost all the menfolk lining the route deliberately kept their hats on, as a mark of disrespect for Emily.

Last week’s documentary was the first proof I’d had that what our listener told us was true - that the menfolk of Morpeth engaged in an act of misguided, tasteless and straightforwardly nasty spite which has ended up by dishonouring not Emily Davison but themselves.

* * *
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Serge said...

le chou c'est pour combien de personnes?

Hildie said...

I think it would
feed the five thousand!

Serge said...

I also think Hildie

Ellie said...

I say Ian - what's with 'my friend and me'....aaaahhhh!!!!!
'my friend and I' Please, Sir x x

I have heard the following a lot:
"Giving someone the cold shoulder"
"going round and round the houses"
and I'm sure there are lots more -

mim said...

Hi Ian,

The low hanging fruit one means you do the easiest task first in that fruit low hanging is easier to pick.

Margaret x

Bentonbag said...

You can cut to the chase, cut the mustard or cut the c**p!
But can you keep your ear to the ground, your back to the wall and your nose to the grindstone?