Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Queen's English

A penultimate [I love correct usage of this word, especially after the Czech's continued dominance of its use, as in all things to do with his English vocabulary] post from this side of the Atlantic.

I am soon to write about the eminent departure tomorrow from Oxford/London. For now a separate entry on one of the aspects of life "abroad" that I will miss above many. Not just the international aspect of an evening like last night, where the girl at the opposite table you sit down to talk to on a dare is as likely to be from Moscow or Mexico as she is from Montreal or Moncton.

It's the language.

Not the accent [which I do also love] but the expressions. From the journalism, to the sports commentary, to the janitor in the library who addresses you as "govn'er" or "professor" - without fail - as it closes.

So: if, upon my return to Canada, I continue to inexplicably accent the second syllable of weekend, forgive me. Forgive me also for referring to Ricky Gervais as THE genius comedian, even if you haven't heard of him. When I criticize American Football, come September, [yes, I have to use the preface now] for its pace [a word that also is inexplicably linked with Lampard or Gerrard] or for its innane commentators, like Dan Dierdorf, for his rank obviousness, and claim to long for an English bloke/chap like John Motson to control the game with language to open a match such as "plenty of capacity for inspiration today", forgive me.

And a game is now a match. Did you know that about 3 times as many people watched the shoot-out defeat to Germany in the 1990 World Cup in this country than watched Live8? Oh, I love this country.

If I am anything, I am a punter. [and that isn't just a reference to the summer relaxation at Oxford, I bet religiously]

Forgive my use of terms such as fancying a girl, snogging, pulling, boffing, and shagging. Minging is a reference to something brutal, though could describe some evening antics at places like Tiger Tiger or Motion.

When I say "that's pants", it just means it's shit. Though the dog's bollocks is actually something of top quality. Ace, if you will. And if a guy dressed as a clown or chicken were to win the London Marathon, he would have to run a blinder.

What else do you want, me to peel you a grape? and then the world on a stick?

If I call you a tosser, wanker, or slapper, I'm sorry for the insult. If you find me making fun of you, I'm likely just taking the piss, or on the piss, or at a piss up. So relax, plonker. Have some super Strongbow and get right knackered.

You study maths, not math. I now queue, I don't line up, and I don't mind doing so. And the off-license, or offy, is where I will buy my booze next year, even if it happens to be licensed by the N.S. government.

When things go pear-shaped, they have gone wrong, even if delightfully so. When I say "come here to me", I just want your direct or proper attention. And "your man" might actually just be an Irish reference to you, or the guy beside you.

Vacuuming is Hoovering from now on, though you would think we could let that man rest in peace. A cracker is an excellent anything, especially a football or rugby match, like "Super Bowl XXV was a cracker!"

A clanger is when your favorite hockey player rings it off the post of a wide-open net, or when the keeper gives up a terrible rebound that results in a goal [see: Roy Carroll, or before the genius of the final, Jerzy Dudek]. The best goals are cheeky ones [see: audacious or attempts by Wayne Rooney] or those scored by Ronaldhino the magician. Or, for that matter, any that bring the home crowd to its feet.

I am gutted by infidelity, by favorite players who leave their home clubs for more money, or by the terrible tragedies that result in untimely death. The word "Bloody" should only be used as an expletive denoting extreme: ie. that's bloody marvellous.

What are you on about?

A player's kit is just what he wears, his uniform. And trash is now rubbish, as is your hated football player, or most conservative ideas. When I splash out for pints, I intend to drink them, not throw them about [though this too might be a result]. Slagging you off is just the proper term for delivering insults. Bugger off [get out of here] if you can't take it.

Oh, merry England. Craig and I were in a hostel bar in Munich before this year began, and I happened across a guy who studied at Cambridge. Of course there is an innate rivalry between my university and his - Kill McGill doesn't capture it, McNair, so you'll have to refer to Cooper and his Yalie obsession with the "crapness" of Harvard. Anyway - sorry about your shit school, I say as we part ways.

Without missing a beat - "if by shit, you mean better than Oxford, then you are right." It is the cunning, the dexterity, the speed, the magic of the rebuttal that I will miss. I will miss the magic. But that's for the next post. Between hangovers, as you like it. Gotta go reclaim my damage deposit. It is really ending.


Blogger dilettante said...

MacDuff -- things shall not be the same in Oxford without you. But may the flame of Oxford continue to burn within. Godspeed. I bid you well.

7:52 PM  
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2:24 AM  

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