Over the last month we have been going through the annual Awards season – BAFTA, Golden Globes, the Oscars etc. and inevitably we have been treated to the endless acceptance speeches. It is easy to have grown used to the tears and the long list of thank-yous – but what struck me this year is the poverty of language in these speeches and the over-use of superlatives. The most over-used word is ‘genius’. People of genius are now as common as garden birds. We have the ‘musical genius’, the ‘acting genius’ the ‘directing genius’ and so on and so forth. It is natural that when accepting these awards there are certain words that the grateful person has to fall back on. Those they work with are the greatest, superb, outstanding, brilliant, and when asked how they feel they nearly always say ‘surreal’. Now I have never won an award but if I did I would probably fall in to all the same traps. especially if cornered by an interviewer. But perhaps I would try and avoid the word genius. To my mind this superior species is very rare, and probably only recognised after death. Although of course Oscar Wilde recognised his own during his life-time. When asked at Customs if he had anything to declare, he replied “Nothing but my genius.”
March so far has been the oddest month. Russia sent us blizzards, ice and snow, bringing the country to a grinding halt. Now the snow has gone it seems Russia has invaded us with chemical weapons. As the ‘spy story’ unfolds it all becomes more and more like a John le Carre novel. The country has gone into a state of shock. I loved the woman who said “Who’d have thought this could happen in sleepy Salisbury?” Who indeed. It is difficult to know where poor little Britain can go from here. Brexit has left us isolated and a source of mockery around the world. Our impotence to retaliate is all too plain to see. It is obvious that Putin is a very dangerous man indeed and for the UK to leave the EU at this time when we need to present a united front, must be a disastrous move. Some are still of the mind that we are running the British Empire. We are not. We are now a little island with little power or influence and just our poets and our countryside to boast about. We used to have a moral standing – I’m not sure we even have that anymore. However, we do have our freedom and I still think I’d rather live here than anywhere else in the world, even if our politicians are doing their best to ruin us.
On a happier note one of my granddaughters turned 18 last week, another is 21 tomorrow. I will not indulge in superlatives – just to say they are great company and the nicest people and I am very proud of them.