“Visually see”


I’m not sure there’s any other kind of seeing.

This week I’ve been mainly trying to sort out my son’s access to his savings account.

HSBC helpfully have a rule which states that, even though I have done all the paperwork and act as trustee on the account, I’m not allowed to request simple changes to the account, such as “please correct the account holder’s gender” over the phone.

No, in order to do that, I’d have to go along to the branch. Branch hours are 9.00 – 3.30, weekdays only, so off I trundle one lunchtime to sort it out.

“And where is your son?”
“Well, he’s at school”
“We have to be able to visually see him in order to validate that it’s definitely his account”

Given that they don’t have a picture of him, I argue that seeing him won’t help any more than will a process requiring children to attend a bank during school hours.

So the bank will continue with its gender error for several more weeks, leaving me only to ponder what other types of seeing there might be other than ones that are visual.


“Minted” lamb


Is mint the only flavouring to have made the transition from herb to verb?

Today’s delightful pub lunch, ruined only by an unnecessarily synthetic gravy (you know the type) offered a number of options including ‘minted lamb’.

Is minting a thing, other than in relation to coins? The beef was neither horseradished nor rosemaried, the chicken wasn’t thymed, and for that matter the steak in the steak and ale pie wasn’t Guinnessed.

Even the custard wasn’t… vanillad? Vanillaed? Vanilla’d?

I suspect that, rather like with the excessive use of adjectives to describe crisps, pub menus are feeling the need to slip a few cheeky descriptors in there. And what better way than making a few nouns make the verb-to-adjective walk of shame?

Even if it is a thing, “minting” lamb in any case shows an utter lack of imagination, although I guess that agneau au toothpaste is a flavour that pleases the masses.

Keep Calm and Just Whatever


The wartime posters were brilliant. When did Keep Calm become fair game for any old shoddy rubbish?

As an iconic find, the Keep Calm and Carry On posters were brilliantly evocative of the wartime zeitgeist, encapsulating a stoical resolve and socking it to the enemy in a resolutely British, understated way. I doubt the Germans ever encouraged each other with a ‘ruhe bewahren und weitermachen’, and for good reason.

Good for whoever rediscovered these posters, then, and made a bit of money out of the licensing of the slogan to producers of reproduction posters, mugs, tea towels, aprons, t-shirts and all the other countless bits of unnecessary souvenir shop clutter that were spawned as a result.

But then came the brilliant and often nearly hilarious spin offs. Keep Calm and ‘your slogan here’ is emphatically not a thing: most of the time it doesn’t even make sense.

“Keep Calm and Have a Cup of Tea”. Ha! That’s brilliant isn’t it? A cup of tea!

Most recently spotted in a piece of workplace communications, encouraging readers to “Keep Calm and Tidy Your Desk”, Keep Calm and Just Whatever is taking over as the default way of saying things in as moderately amusing a way as it is possible to convey them.

Why, after all, wouldn’t I be calm if asked to tidy up a desk? It’s not like there’d be a wave of wartime panic heading my way, unless I suffered from OCD. It’s just a few bits of paper, a couple of pens and a laptop. They’re not straight! Panic!

The fake memorabilia industry quickly moved on from Keep Calm and Just Whatever to Be the Opposite of Calm and Just Whatever, and then finally onto Say Anything and Just Whatever. Effectively transforming the iconic wartime slogan to nothing more than a government symbol and the word ‘and’.

Crowny symbol. Blah blah and Blah Blah. That’s not a thing.



Sigh. You don’t know how ridiculous you sound.

Yeah. Just, you know, chillaxing. . You’ve heard of that? It’s a kind of really intense version of relaxing, which is cool, but crucially this form of relaxing involves “chilling” as well. Chilling AND relaxing = chillaxing. Geddit? I’ve brilliantly combined two words, whilst taking intense relaxation down to a whole new level of punchability.

Yeah I’m just gonna chill. Well, chill in the sense of having a nice sit down, and relax in the sense of putting my feet up, whilst watching crap on itv and drinking awful white wine that has been fermented for five minutes in a stainless steel vat. Soooo chillaxed.

People who ‘chill’ are bad enough. What was chillworthily frantic about their tedious lives anyway? Self-conscious, needy attention-seekers, all. But key chillaxers include all Radio 1 DJs. And we all know how that turns out.



Yet another meaningless business word is coined when a simple one already exists.

Hardware: Real bits of proper technology, connected with circuitry and stuff.

Software: Computer programs, applications, things that run on the hardware. Yes, that’s ‘snap’.

Slideware: Erm… Bits of writing and some coloured boxes on a PowerPoint slide. No, that’s not ‘snap’. That’s word processing with pictures.

Slideware, or just ‘slides’, takes its place alongside ‘Vapourware’, which is effectively software and hardware that doesn’t yet exist. In the absence of the thing that the vapourware will become, an enormous slideware deck is used to convince the gullible buyer that the non-existent thing is actually a thing.