are the stars out tonight?

life and stuff

family lexicon

I was thinking about family, and, uh, the role of family in my life. I'm what americans would probably call a homebody. I like hanging out with my parents and my brother, I'll even put up with the occasional lunatic cousin. We're quite a close knit family, and this has given rise to a few idiosyncrasies. Most of which I didn?t notice until I went away to uni.

The one I really want to discuss (and I'm going to do this for a handful of posts, I think) is the family lexicon. This is a phrase I have unashamedly pinched from natalia ginzburg's lessico famigliare, which I read as part of my italian literature course all those years ago (I handed my essay about it in almost exactly three years ago. My tutor who translated the book, called it the things we used to say, which almost explains it.

What I'm talking about is the little collection of phrases and sayings that our family has accrued over the years. A lot of them are unique to our nuclear family, and I have never heard anyone else say (except those that my friends have picked up from me). I've heard a few from my extended family, and a few are in fairly common usage. I suppose all families do this, it's obviously not unique to ours. But I've obviously not been exposed to many other families in that way. These are mainly the sort of idiom you have to grow up with to really use.

Our family sayings have a wide provenance too: literature, film, really bad puns and things my brother and I said as children have all been subsumed into our family dialect. A lot of them, I have no idea where they came from, and I'm keen to find out.

I know this has been a bit pseudo-intellectual, but I promise the rest of the posts in the series will be less worthy. I think it should be quite good fun. The phrases are colourful and honestly a bit weird. I think you will enjoy them. And here's one to begin with:

"twist(ed) my arm and call(ed) me sailor." - I have literally no idea where this comes from, and google offers me nothing, the only thing I can think is that it might be something my nana would say, and could therefore be something from one of the wars. It's used when someone offers you something that you want, but you decline it first time, and then acquiesce. Ie:

"do you want another glass of wine?"
"ah, no I shouldn't,"
"go on,"
"oh alright, you've twisted my arm and called me sailor."


oh, and

i completely forgot that there's a new addition to my famous people i have served series, which has been on hiatus since last august.

#7 - joanna lumley. her granddaughter had a birthday in the cafe, which i duty managed. she had a latte. she has a very distinctive voice, i realised she had come in before i saw her because i could hear her speaking. she was very nice, and her granddaughters were adorable.

(previously in this series mark owen, martin freeman and mos def, adam cornish and toby young, and kelly osbourne)

blah blah blog

just because things have gone a bit quiet round here doesn't mean i've given up on blogging... i have big plans, it's just that none have them have come to fruition yet. i could really use some time off to, er, work on them... hmm, i wonder if i've got my priorities straight here.

anyway, i'm still thinking about blogging, even when i'm not actually doing it. on tuesday, i went to the londonist's blogging demystified event. it's pretty obvious that i don't need blogging to be demystified for my benefit, but i was curious nonetheless. and in fact, it seemed pretty obvious to me that no one at the event was in any way mystified by blogging. which was lucky because the event didn't shed a huge amount of light on this not hugely clandestine activity.

annie mole talked about reasons you might want to start a blog - money and fame being two of the answers she gave. of course, she allowed that most bloggers achieve neither from their blogs, and that actually one of the main benefits bloggers will get is that their writing style may improve.

tom reynolds gave an interesting talk about blogging as a way of forging an identity for yourself online. particularly interesting to me was the fact that both he and annie use assumed names on their weblogs (as do i, of course), but were happy to appear in public as bloggers, unlike the infamous belle de jour. it did make me reflect on why, exactly, after three and half years(!), i still blog.

lastly, the girls who run inky circus spoke about blogging collaboratively, and the pitfalls of blogging when writing is your job.

it was a really interesting event, and i will keep an eye out for similar things, as i did enjoy it (even if it wasn't really news to me).

afterwards, i went to see the duloks, and they were ace.

edited 13-4-06, because i hadn't actually posted this, so here's some extra info
you can see some photos here, tom reynolds' account here, the londonist's here, and a very short bit from annie mole here - now you can pretend you were there too!