Tag Archives: proper English

The uses of illiteracy

Despite the hundreds, in fact thousands, of pieces that I’ve had published, both in print and on the web, I’m under no illusion about the quality of my writing.  On a good day it’s adequate.  On a very good day it’s not bad.  The rest of the time, well, lets say that I can hear Lester Bangs spinning in his grave and I hope never to run into Greil Marcus or Nick Kent and have them pin me up against a wall and explaing to me just how far from their glory days my work is.

But I understand grammar, I can punctuate, I try not use too many cliched or meaningless adjectives and if I do use a word I use it correctly because I know what it means.  Small virtues certainly, but in these days of blogging increasingly rare ones.  I can think off the top of my head of several widely quoted blogs which rarely contain a sentence that doesn’t have a word completely misused or a grammatical or punctuation error.  Who cares, says the reader, so long as you get the gist does it matter?  Who cares, says the musician, promoter and agent, so long as we get a good quote to put on the poster?

Communication is the purpose of the exercise of course, and in the minefield that is the current music industry who can blame people for taking their publicity where they find it.  But it’s also about language and not debasing it and not continuing to hurtle down a slope to where a review consists of a tweet like “Zorg say album by X good”.  And if I’m (rightly) looking over my shoulder for Greil Marcus some of these bloggers should be looking over their shoulder for me lest I pin them up against a wall and shout “FFS write in coherent English!”