Anorak News | Clause Out

Clause Out

by | 25th, March 2004

‘SUDDENLY all is clear – Andrew Motion’s poem in praise of England’s Rugby World Cup win was not in fact the piece of doggerel that we all supposed.

‘And the winner is…’

It was an early entry from the Poet Laureate for the Times’ competition to find the most annoying paragraph in the English language.

And it has indeed set a very high standard, which the paper’s readership will struggle to match.

Nevertheless, tea-drinker and former MP Tony Benn has a stab at doing so this morning, the results of which the Times for some reason decides to emblazon across its Page 3.

But for all the talk of moving goalposts and level playing fields, regime change and coalitions of the willing, it is a pretty anodyne effort.

Motion himself modestly doesn’t mention his own concoction, concentrating his vitriol on the sentence, ‘I would like to draw a line under this and move forward.’

Actor Richard Briers opts for the deeply unimaginative, ‘At this moment in time, people like myself are caught between a rock and a hard place.’

And entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox bizarrely bridles at an expression which we have never once heard uttered, namely ‘To be frank, innit?’

Which is a bit like saying that you hate Fried Egg and Apricot soup.

Needless to say, this is all like a red rag to a bull (sufficiently clichéd?) to Times readers, who have responded in their droves.

Some are based purely on personal prejudice – after all, the words ‘clearly’, ‘sleepy’ and even ‘cool’ are hardly offensive per se.

Some are based on false logic – one reader objects to BBC presenters using the phrase ‘one of the only’ on the grounds that you can’t have one of the one.

But others do reveal what happens when lunatics are allowed access to Microsoft Word and a spell-check.

One reader’s departmental vision reads: ‘We are a high-performing and trusted business partner, providing innovative value-added solutions, service and support within a framework of sound corporate governance.’

It is such complete bollocks that we have decided to adopt it as our vision here in Anorak Towers – and we recommend that companies and departments up and down the country do the same.

However, even that is unlikely to win the Times prize. To do that, we suggest you pick up a novel by Martin Amis, pick out a paragraph at random and send it in.

The only chance you have of being beaten is if Mr Amis decides to compose a special entry himself.’

Posted: 25th, March 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink