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The collected opinions of an august and aristocratic personage who, despite her body having succumbed to the ravages of time, yet retains the keen intellect, mordant wit and utter want of tact for which she was so universally lauded in her younger days. Being of a generation unequal to the mysterious demands of the computing device, Lady Bracknell relies on the good offices of her Editor for assistance with the technological aspects of her journal.

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Location: Bracknell Towers

Monday, August 06, 2007

Fathers and sons

Lady Bracknell, as those who have been perusing her Perorations for some time will long have known, grieves bitterly over the violence which is now done on a daily basis to the language she loves so dearly.
The Editor recoils in horror from the atrocity* to the left every time she has cause to visit the Chinese lady with the large and varied collection of sharp implements.

Lady Bracknell has herself been aware of the existence of the sign in question for some time, but the Editor was strangely unwilling to photograph it until she was passing at a time when the shop in the window of which it is so proudly displayed was closed for the night.

Lady Bracknell feels it may be incumbent on her to clarify the nature of the retail premises in question at this juncture. It is not a slave market: it is merely a barber shop. (One which is very probably not possessed of a quartet.)

Those familiar with the modern, local patois will conclude from reading the sign that Mr and Master Brown, if visiting the establishment on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, may both be subjected to the barber's shears for a mere £9. This, one is given to understand, is something of a bargain price. (It is certainly a very great deal less costly than Lady Bracknell's own visits to the hairdresser: whether that renders the service offered a genuine bargain, however, will rather depend on the quality of the results. The Editor has yet to glimpse any pudding bowls on the premises, but this is not incontrovertible proof that none are there. They may be kept in a cupboard out of sight.)

Has the individual who commissioned the sign laboured under the delusion that the fact that "dad" and "lad" rhyme will render the message more memorable and attractive? If there is an imperative to keep to monosyllables, what is so objectionable about the word, "son"? Must Mr Brown attend with Master Brown or, if the poor man has no male progeny of his own, may he borrow a "lad" from an unsuspecting neighbour? One assumes that, for the purposes of child protection, if nothing else, the intention is that the adult and child be related. Perhaps the legend, "Father and son", was rejected on the suspicion that a 97 year-old Mr Brown senior might otherwise arrive with a £10 note and his 63 year-old son? But then, how old is a "lad"? And might that upper age limit differ according to one's place of birth?

*In order to experience the full horror of the sign, readers familiar with the charming local accent may wish to read it out loud in their best approximation of a Liverpudlian pronunciation.


Anonymous JackP said...

Give them some credit at least: this sort of sign would normally be found like this:

Dads' and Lad's: £9

And £9 does seem like a reasonable deal, but then again I think if I'm paying over a fiver for a hair cut I'm being ripped off.

The key point being that I'm a bloke, so I don't go to have my hair styled; I go to have it cut shorter. That'll do me nicely, thanks...

1:24 am  
Blogger BloggingMone said...

If you are interested in very strange use of English, a visit to Germany should have top priority on your agenda. People over here seem to think that the use of English words is adding a touch of globalism to whatever they are doing or saying, regardless of how much harm it is doing to that wonderful language. I have written a post on that some time ago with some nice examples, but unfortunately the link is not acceptet in here. If you are interested, I'll send the link by mail.

12:26 pm  
Blogger fluttertongue said...

I feel your pain. At the other end of the spectrum though I do get rather teed off at the hifilutin estate agent signs and restaurant names we have at my new place of residence. It's all so predictably superior: half the time I don't know how to pronounce them.

11:38 am  
Blogger pete said...

£9 is a good price, if they include something for the weekend!

Although if you are taking the lad along it may be a bite late.

1:46 pm  
Blogger Dame Honoria Glossop said...

Think yourself lucky, there is a hairdesser in Dewsbury called Kutting Krew, which induces in me a violent desire to projectile vomit whenever I am forced to pass, both for the pun and the spelling.

3:51 pm  
Anonymous Boogaloo Dude said...

Surely this is discriminatory.

What if the poor unfortunate father happens to have sired a ladette?

8:32 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...


I don't understand why you couldn't post a link, but if you tell me the date of that entry, I'll nip across and have a read.

I'm a lot more tolerant of what foreigners do to English, though, than I am of what people for whom it's their first language do to it.

As Jack points out, I really should be grateful for the absence of any grocers' apostrophe's (sic) in that dreadful sign...

9:00 am  

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