Friday 18 April 2014


The sign makes me smile. It’s outside a pub on the road to Exeter, a pub that is primed and cocked for the Easter weekend. As we drive past I see the sign that makes me smile. ‘Something for the kiddies, Good Friday Easter egg hunt, 3pm, SHARP!’ So what makes me smile? The use of the word kiddies seems archaic, as if the person who wrote it wasn’t used to dealing with kids; it makes me wonder if this Easter egg hunt for the kiddies is something that has been put on under pressure perhaps, from an area manager, brewery rep or partner. And then the exclamatory use of ‘SHARP!’ — now that really made me smile. If dealing with kids you’d expect a free and easy manner, but this suggests something closer to a sergeant-major ordering reluctant recruits about, getting them to do something on the double. And this sign makes me then think about the language that publicans and brewers and their PR people use — sometimes it feels as if a Thesaurus has been dredged with a deep sea net and all manner of words have been brought to the surface, some of them lying there, flapping about and gasping for breath. Things are, of course, awesome; let’s smash it (what? a window, a tea cup?); it’s all been brought to the customer with passion (what with blood, sweat and tears? sounds a bit unhygienic to me); and naturally everyone is ready to rock. And back in that pub this afternoon the kiddies will be expected to turn up sharp at 3pm and look for their Easter eggs. Woe betide any that turn up late.

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