Sunday, June 10, 2007

Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick

In the dark, shoulder-pad days of the 1980s, Ian Dury and the Blockheads were a little bit of light in the darkness.

John quoted just a couplet of Ian Dury's lyrics from Spasticus Autisticus as a comment on my piece about the truly dreadful verses that I found in some offices Somewhere in England on Friday.

Here's Ian Dury:

I wibble when I piddle
Cos my middle is a riddle

From just those two lines I think it's possible to tell that Ian Dury could write both well and with wit and originality. Unlike the woman (because yes, Emily, I think it very probably was a woman) who wrote

If you sprinkle when you tinkle
Please be neat and wipe the seat

which, as previously discussed, just makes me wince. Ian Dury's is superb because of the sound of the words: because of its openness: because of its unexpectedness.

And Tweeds, Pearls and Frilly Blouse Woman's offering is dreadful primarily because of the coyness of "sprinkle" and "tinkle" and the inclusion of that nasty word "neat". What "neat" ever do for the world? It's a couplet that thinks it's clever and witty, and it so isn't.

You see? Three years spent studying Eng Lit weren't wasted after all.


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