Friday, April 16, 2004


It's seldom easy being a pop fan with an English degree. In the first instance, it's hard to find a messageboard where people talk about pop in correctly-spelled, coherent sentences (this one being the only one we've managed to find so far), preferring to express their emotions in the manner of "omg i luv justin4eva hez so fyne lol buff". On the one hand, scholars of Woolf and Beckett might marvel at the fearless use of stream of consciousness. On the other hand, copy editors might take their own lives in sheer despair.

Excuses can be found for this. Some people will argue that correct English need only be used in an exam, and internet messageboards are meant to be full of abbreviations. Others might argue that abbreviations don't hurt anybody. Still others might suggest that this is a direct result of declining education standards across the UK. We might not agree with these, but we will at least concede to recognise the points they are making.

Less excusable are the occasions when popstars bear scant regard for the basic rules of English grammar in their band names and song titles. Chief offender of recent years was Kelly Rowland, of "their lives was stole" (aargh! aargh!) and 'Can't Nobody' (aargh! aargh! aargh!) fame. We decided to forgive La Rowland, however, in a drunken state of unexpected goodwill at our birthday party, on the grounds that the filthy look she gives to Nelly's "ho" in the dilemma video is utterly tops.

There will be no such escape for James "The Fridge Door Won't Shut" Fox. When he appeared on Eurovision: Making Your Mind Up!, the print in the press releases and in the Radio Times led us to believe that his song was entitled 'Hold On To Our Love'. We found no cause for grammar alarm in the song title; indeed, the only alarm we felt was when this boring dirge was chosen by the Great British Public to rescue us from embarrassment of Jemini-esque proportions. Our sense of alarm was raised, however, this week when we started seeing promo posters for the single (and not just because we find James Fox's face rather frightening) which stated that it was called 'Hold Onto Our Love'. This cannot be allowed. There are many grammar fascists who will not allow the word "onto" to be used in any context, believing it to be a hideous and vulgar contraction of the words "on" and "to" that is simply not necessary. We don't follow that school of thought especially, because we quite like to be hideous and vulgar when the mood takes us. That said, we feel the need to point out to Mr Fox that "onto" should not be used in the context of 'Hold On To Our Love', as "onto" is only correct when motion towards an object is implied, e.g. "the cat climbed onto the table". This is a careless schooboy error which we cannot condone - if the kids can't learn their spelling from Europop, where can they learn it? From school? Don't make me laugh.

Now that the rules of Eurovision have been relaxed to allow contestants to sing in English even when it is not their mother tongue, we really don't want to embarrass ourselves by entering a British contestant who clearly can't speak English either. Royaume Uni? Nul points.

WARNING: Comments pointing out grammatical errors in this post will not be well received.


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