Bone-idle Brummies have been loitering in coffee shops since way before the likes of Starbucks came over here with their 87,000 different drink combinations; getting our names wrong and shirking their corporation tax.
There were several coffee shops in Brum as far back as the ‘50s, with exotic-sounding names such as The Kardomah, El Torro, The Mexicana, The Gi-Gi, and The (um) Scorpion. The only decision to be made was “one lump or two”, and everyone’s name was bab.
Continue reading “101 Things Birmingham Gave The World. No. 61: Indie Coffee Shops and their Fucking Lovely Cupcakes”
We are dismayed quarterly, when the Oxford English Dictionary appears to show no restraint in adding the latest fad neologisms, such as “selfie” (not to be confused with any photo of a person), “hashtag” (not to be confused with the hash symbol), and “flexitarian” (not to be confused with a word you can say without sounding like an idiot). Although it did take them until this year to add Blu-Tack as both a noun and a verb. I Blu-Tack, you Blu-Tack, he Blu-Tacks, she Blu-Tacks… You never see white tack any more do you?
Well all these ‘orrible abbreviations, port-manteaux, and proprietary eponyms are kind of our fault, for which we are truly sorry aka sozzlebobbles (probably). We may not like them, but words are all [we] have, as those Bee Gees might have said.
Back in the early 18th Century, a fella named Thomas Warren opened a bookshop on the High Street. He also decided to publish Birmingham’s first weekly newspaper, the Birmingham Journal. In response to his Brummie colleagues’ spelling and grammar fails, one of the contributing journos, pedant Samuel Johnson, went on to write one of the first ever dictionaries of the English language, called A Dictionary of the English Language (rather pedantically). It was “one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship” and “among the most influential dictionaries in the history of the English language”.
Sadly, it hasn’t improved the standards of our local press.
Continue reading “101 Things Birmingham Gave The World. No. 60: Words”