Sunday, 6 March 2022

The meaning of words. And how to behave.

It’s odd when “vintage” creeps up on you and suddenly the mysterious (to me anyway!) Etsy offers you stuff from the 1990s as vintage! Really! Vintage surely means 1960s and 1970s stuff I’ve had hidden at the back of the wardrobe, probably more 1970s because the 1960s stuff will likely have fallen apart.  Not the 1990s! Now, I know it’s 2022 and that the people who were young, rather than mere children, in the 1990s are all now probably 40+ but surely they’re still too young to be nostalgic about their late teens and early twenties. When I was just turned 40 I certainly wasn’t looking back nostalgically to the 1970s. It’s all marketing!

Then there’s language use. For a couple of years people were unable to go to the theatre and now that it’s possible again it seems that some people have forgotten how to behave in a theatre: crunching crisps, answering their mobile phones, having loud arguments  and even fights. Here’s a link to an article about it.  

Maybe it’s the hours of watching, and binge-watching, stuff in the comfort and privacy of their living rooms. And even then, personally I don’t think it’s on the talk over a programme that someone really wants to watch. But maybe the whole thing is symptomatic of the odd times we are living through, when the standard response to someone disagreeing with you is the threaten you with violence. We live in more impulsive times when people, some but not all, think they should just react as loudly as they like wherever they are. 

But it was also the use of language that drew my attention as I read the article. Here’s one example: ‘This usher works on one such popular West End show where, she reports, there are constant instances of “people getting really aggy, and fights breaking out.”’ Where did that word “aggy” come from? Presumably it’s from “aggressive”.

Then there’s the terminology: “juke box musicals”. An usher again: “And I hate to stereotype, but the worst incidents seem to happen at jukebox musicals.” 

Of course you can work out what they mean by jukebox musical but I decided to consult Wikipedia: “A jukebox musical is a stage musical or musical film in which a majority of the songs are well-known popular music songs, rather than original music.” Eg Mamma Mia, Frozen. Actually, I thought the songs for Frozen were written specifically for the film. 

It’s quite interesting that the term “jukebox musicals” is used in an age when loads of the people who want to sing along to Mamma Mia and Frozen and other such have never seen, let alone used, a jukebox. A bit of vintage equipment if there ever was such!

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone! 

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