Saturday 1 October 2016

The Millionth - zeugma

In January 2013, I started a new job at The Institute after 30 years earning money in Universities. It was a radical transition that saw me with a worse rate of pay but more money because I was really working quite hard. I thought it would be interesting to blog the process of transition as well as teaching for 18 hours a week and I've posted something every day on The Blob. This is the 1545th of those posts which have run all sorts of stuff up the flag-pole to see who would salute it: women in science, islands, compassion, the microbiome, flags, food engineering.  What’s special about today’s post is that it incorporates the millionth word I’ve written for The Blob. That word is zeugma, a figure of speech which I’ve wanted to use since we heard it employed multiple times by the inimitable Flanders and Swann in their seductive song Have some Madeira m’Dear: "She made no reply, up her mind and a dash for the door" etc,  As it happens, Donald Swann wasn't alive to celebrate his 93rd birthday yesterday - 30th September 1923, but F&S were definitely of my parents’ generation. But in the simpler times of the 1960s there were fewer recordings [vinyl] in our home than are now added to youtube every minute, so my culture was partly shared with that of my folks. As the young-of-today sit in their own bedrooms with ear-phones reamed in and connexted to their own 'device', I don't think there is as much common culture now. In the kiloblob Post last year, I reflected that eventually my whole life will appear here in small fillets; it is years since I've thought about Flanders and Swann or the estate near Plymouth where I first heard them on the gramophone, and had my first bloody bike-accident in 1962 [second in 1996].

In the 1000th post, I offered some comparative stats between The Blob and The Classics.  At a million words, The Blob is now 2.21 LOTRs . . . but only 92% of Harry Potter. I don't think there will be a movie, but I'm going to soldier on; writing one word after the other. Cue song: we'll get there.

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