Books and Language

I’m so excited.

The first batch of set texts for my OU course have just arrived.

Of course, getting excited about the arrival of (plucks a book off the pile) ‘Medea and Other Plays‘ by Euripides isn’t the same as getting excited about reading the said work.

Actually, it’s being a very literary day.

I’m trying to finish a short for publication. Yay.

I’m working on a book review. Yay (again).

It’s Book Group tonight. Yay.

And, as mentioned, some set texts have arrived. Double Yay.

Unfortunately I’m struggling with Billy Bragg’s polemic on the meaning of national identity in modern Britain – ‘The Progressive Patriot‘. Boo.

In simple terms Billy – a guy I’ve admired for a couple of decades – has lost the plot.

He demonstrably fails to understand what it is to be English let alone British.

Billy doesn’t even consider what being English or British means within the context of being Scottish, Irish, Welsh, Cornish, Mancunian or Liverpudlian.

But he does have an excellent grasp of what it is to be a middle-aged white male from the south-east of England.

Ho hum; Billy Bragg seems to have become the typical Guardian reader.

Meanwhile over on the other side of the Atlantic…

A group of people called The Simplified Spelling Society have launched a campaign to cull the English Language of all those confusing words and phrases in an attempt to make things easier.

I’m not altogether who they’re trying to make things easier for.

But as The Simplified Spelling Society are a US organisation (they would say ‘organization’ and therein, I suspect, lies the rub) it’ll be interesting to see if they have any impact on society – British, Candian, New Zeland, Australian or even American.