Thursday, 1 October 2015

Parisian Chicness, Disease Prevention, and Unrestrained Language Nerdery. Oh, and Some Dogging.

The weather is finally showing an inclination to stop being freakishly nice, and to behave in a way that causes us not to scowl suspiciously. 
Nothing works our paranoia into a frothy, lathery sweat like an uninterrupted series of nice days. What's this in aid of, then, we ask ourselves, peering moodily at the blue skies. This feeling of ease and well-being is usually a sign that things are about to go tits-up, we mumble, giving the merry sunshine the evil eye. This will never end well, we whisper gloomily, and mentally throw rocks at the provokingly perky songbirds. 

The great thing about shit weather is that it gives one licence to drink obscene amounts of tea and huddle in a dark room, without having that irritating feeling that one should be doing something healthy and productive outdoors, like taking one's heart and arteries for a brisk walk, or declaiming Shakespeare sonnets to orphans in a wooded glade, or gawping at knuckle-bitingly ugly pieces of sculpture at the local park, while placing bits of wood in strategic places to provide shelter for a near-extinct species of beetle. (Read about a similar feeling of sunshine-related angst here.)

When the skies are grey and one can practically hear the werewolves howling on the moors, one can quite legitimately give the world outside the finger, sit down with a large whisky, and concentrate on looking at pictures of Caitlin Moran, and sending toilet photos to one's local bog blog. Here's one that Feisty French Friend took recently at the Musée du Quai Branly, in Paris:

Nobody does chic like those pesky Parisians! We find ourselves emitting a rugged Woof! In fact, a woof might not be enough to express the strength of our feelings about this stylish and pleasant bog - we might need to resort to a lusty HOWL!

Other things that can occupy one on dark autumn days is observing linguistic intricacies on signs inside toilets, and giving in to heedless, reckless, unrestrained language nerdery. (Our unrestrained-nerdery juices got flowing to a quite staggering extent at the weekend, when we engaged in an epic tour of medieval churches with Tudor Friend, which may or may not have included semi-perverse ogling of medieval wall paintings and church-wall graffiti.) This sign, for instance, observed in a staff toilet in a school in Malmö, says:
Hygglo! Vinterkräksjukan är på väg! Det enda och bästa sättet att skydda sig [mot] smitt[a] är enkel[t][:] Tvätta händerna noga efter varje toalettbesök.
(Be a brick! Winter vomiting disease is on its way! The only, and the best, way to protect yourself from infection is simple: Wash your hands carefully after you've been to the toilet.)

Hygglo! Wash your damn hands!

The word "hygglo" denotes a person who is decent, hygglig. It is unfortunately not listed in the Bible of Swedish-language nerds, SAOB, being presumably a recent creation; probably a 20th-century one. (Work began on SAOB in 1898, and the editors are currently at the letter T. The comparisons to Rowan Atkinson's frenzied attempts to rewrite Dr Johnson's dictionary in Blackadder, agonising over the word aardvark while going quietly insane, are naturally numerous.) 
Hygglo, ending with an o, follows the same pattern as other descriptive nouns like fyllo (short for fyllerist, "drunk"), miffo (short for missfoster, "freak"), fetto ("fatso"), lyllo (short for lyckost, literally "lucky cheese", or, rather more prosaically, "lucky person"), favvo (short for favorit, "favourite") and - a favourite of ours - pretto (short for pretentiös, denoting a pretentious person). The state of being a hygglo is perhaps best translated as being a brickHygglo, in short, when spotted on a toilet sign, is the kind of word that causes your average language nerd to do a little handwashing jig and start whistling, then walk around in a suspiciously jaunty way for the rest of the afternoon.

Speaking of winter vomiting disease, we couldn't believe that all of the internet hadn't managed to come up with a winter vomiting disease meme, so we made one, just for you:

Someone had to.

You're welcome.

At the risk of changing the subject abruptly (no, no, it's ok - we mentioned Caitlin Moran at the beginning of the blog post, meaning this qualifies as a continuous theme, or leitmotif), we just wanted to share this picture of Caitlin Moran's column in last Saturday's Times Magazine
As CatMo points out, the Times puts its writers' words behind a paywall in order to ensure that plebs like us can't read them without paying, with the rather marvellous result that journalists continue to get paid and are able to produce quality work without starving to death in the gutter, or being replaced by robots. The picture is therefore quite grainy, and the words are not available in an online form. But if you have the patience, enlarge it on your screen and enjoy the sheer holy joy that is a newspaper column by Caitlin Moran. (Or, if you don't have the patience, join your local library, like Jonny just did, and enjoy all of CatMo's columns for free, while vigorously appreciating the tax-funded miracle that is a public (or indeed pubiclibrary.)

What men need to know about women: 1) We're scared of you, and 2) Fuck off.

Oh hell, we need a festive video. Here's one incorporating a new word that we learned while playing Cards against humanity with Tudor Friend and some of her excellent and highly festive cronies last weekend. We'd say dogging is an admirable activity for rainy days, wouldn't you?

Festive video - Fascinating Aïda, Dogging

Related Reading

All posts featuring Feisty French Friend

All posts featuring Caitlin Moran

That feeling when it's sunny out and everyone is enjoying themselves, and you wish it wasn't, and they weren't:

If you enjoy linguistic musings, get more here

1 comment:

  1. Please be aware that we don't publish spam comments. Don't waste your time - use the time you would have spent writing gibberish in this comments field to drink tea, adopt a dog from a shelter, or call your grandmother.
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