September, 2011

What’s the origin of Indian Summer?

 

 

Old Scotney Castle

There I was tootling along the M25 yesterday, on my way to Scotney Castle in Kent to meet a friend. It was a beautiful day and given the wet summer we’ve had, the glorious sunshine came as a welcome surprise. “Perhaps we’ll have an Indian Summer,” I said to myself. Then I started to wonder where the term comes from.

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Household words* – what our language owes to Shakespeare

The Yvonne Arnaud's striking Macbeth poster

I went to see a production of Macbeth on Tuesday night by the Icarus Theatre Collective at The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford.

The staging was stark, dark and fabulous, and sitting there watching some excellent performances from the small cast of seven, I was reminded how much our language owes to Shakespeare.

OK. I know you Bard haters and detractors will disagree but so many of his phrases are still commonplace in our language almost four centuries after his death. 

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Coast magazine feature on Dungeness artist

In my post of I September, ‘Painting with Words at Dungeness’ I wrote about the work of Dungeness artist, Paddy Hamilton who is working on series of paintings that use words. Well, more correctly, they use letters because Paddy is developing a new font called Dungeness.

There’s a fabulous six-page spread in this month’s Coast magazine on Paddy and his partner and fellow artist, Helen Gillian. And there, in the background of one of the photos is the piece of work I bought from Paddy on our last visit!

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Grabbing the headlines

Grabbing the headlines

Whatever we think of the reporting standards in our national newspapers, they have given us some great headlines over the years.

One of my personal favourites is The Sun’s “Super Cally go ballasitc, Celtic are atrocious” following Inverness Caledonian Thistle’s 3-1 win over Celtic in the Scottish Cup in 2000.

I spotted one of a slightly more sophisticated nature on the front page of The Guardian in April and have been meaning to write a post based on it ever since. It accompanied a front-page story by the paper’s Paris correspondent, Angelique Chrisafis. She was writing about the alleged outrage of notorious French riot police – the Compagnie Repulicaines de Securite (CRS) on hearing they would no longer be allowed to drink alcohol with their lunch.

Apparently, up until now, even packed lunches provided to the CRS out of riot vans while they were patrolling demos, came with a can of beer or glass of wine. And the headline?

“Riot squad sees rouge as police vin gets bottled.”

It’s tempting to think that good headlines are the result of a flash of inspiration (an old stalwart, by the way, when I was Head of Press and PR for Nikon UK and writing about the company’s flashlights – yes I know, I know). But the majority of strong, memorable, and more importantly, effective headlines take time and a great deal of hard work.

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Painting with words at Dungeness

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about paintings that feature words after I’d been to the Royal Academy Summer Show. A week later we went to Dungeness and called in to see our friends, Paddy Hamilton and Helen Gillian at Dungeness Open Studios.  And there, in both studios, was a series of new works composed exclusively in letters and compound phrases.

The works feature words made up from a new font Paddy is developing together with graphic designer friend, Andrew Sullivan of Blacknight Design The font will be called Dungeness and should be available later this year.

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Hello. I'm Elaine, I'm a copywriter and this is my blog.

It's mostly about words and writing - things that inspire me, entertain me, and make me smile. Sometimes it's about things that horrify me so much I want to scream and shout!

I hope you enjoy it and find it useful. And speaking of useful - scroll down and take a look at the Oxford Dictionaries tool.

Click here to find out a bit more about me.

Word Alchemy Blog