Monday, January 19, 2009

Life grim according to 'arry

Further to my recent post about the strange twists and turns that the English language undergoes when in the hands of the football fraternity I see in The Times today that Harry Redknapp has Portsmouth "hanging on for grim life" near the end of yesterday's game at White Hart Lane.

This is a classic example of football fusion where two expressions from the same general region of the language - "hanging on like grim death" and "hanging on for dear life" - are put together to form a pantomime horse of an expression. i.e. one that performs none of the basic functions of the creature concerned but is good for a laugh.


  1. My old boss used to talk about things "Not being rocket surgery"

  2. How about when footy takes an expression in its entirety and changes its meaning? "Going to ground" comes to mind - having been changed from its original meaning (to hide) to 'diving.' I suppose this could be code, so as to avoid FA fines and such. Then there is the use of the present perfect when the simple past is clearly what is needed. "And then in the last minute the ref has given a penalty." Has he?

  3. I want to establish whether the phrase "you're joking me" is genuine olde english or not. You see, the exclamations "you're kidding me", or "you're kidding!", or "you're joking!" I remember from way back in the 70s. But "you're joking me!" sounds awkward to my ears. It might be a regional thing though?

  4. is it just me or is the white font on black background uncomfortable?

    I like this blog but can only read it for 5 minutes at a time or I get dizzy.

    When I open the comments window, which is normal black on white, I see with black stripes across the page.

  5. I get the stripes too. And as for the white out of black, none other than Clive James was so outraged by this blog's colour scheme that he committed his ire to print. (Or perhaps he once mentioned it might benefit from a tweak. One of the two. My memory's not what it once was.)

    But, as someone somewhere once pointed out, it is free, you know.

    And to add to the list of mangled idioms, how about the infamous "fine toothcomb" (sic)?

  6. In terms of footballing nonsense, I offer up this little extract from the BBC website. as a Man City fan I say "Phew. Narrow escape".

    Cook revealed he spent nearly seven hours talking with Kaka's father about the 'journey' Manchester City are embarking on.

    In total, City representatives flew to Milan four times and Monday's meeting also involved three Manchester City lawyers, a senior club executive and a board member who travelled to Italy from Abu Dhabi. "His dad said he was very interested in the project," said Cook. "We talked a lot about a humanitarian approach and also environmental issues and the statements his son would like to make around the world. "He is truly respected around the world not only for his capabilities as a footballer. "Unfortunately when we talked to Milan yesterday those issues were taking a back seat and the financial demands were coming to the fore. "It's a shame he won't be able to join us on our journey."

  7. Harry's said it again and there's nothing mangled about it. I've long been familiar with the expression.