I wasn't particularly well behaved at school - in fact I was spectacularly badly behaved on occasion and damn lazy into the bargain. However, the one thing that really held my attention (and I can remember almost every detail of the lesson, years later) was semantics. Okay, so now half of you are sniggering and the other half are reaching for the dictionary. Let me save you the trouble:- "Semantics; The meaning, or an interpretation of the meaning, of a word, sign, sentence, etc.: "Let's not argue about semantics." I don't know why I found it so fascinating then and continue to do so today - just one of those things, I guess. Why is anyone interested in anything?
I love the ways that the meanings of words change with the times and completely fail to understand people who object. Recently, "vintage" has been used widely (it's actually just a posh way of saying "Second Hand") as has "heritage". The latter is applied to just about anything - Heritage seeds anyone? And on our ill-fated trip to the O2 (see previous post) we passed a shop called "New Vintage" - no word of a lie. No doubt named without a shred of irony.
Also, I have noticed of late, that a whole new lexicon is springing up in the world of fashion. Nowadays, people (well celebrities because this only happens in magazines) are said to be "rocking" a look. For example, I recently read an article about Kristen Stewart, star of the phenomenally successful Twilight series of films, which described her as "rocking the goth look". I'm not quite sure what it actually means, but then I suspect that neither is anyone else; it's just one of those things you say while they're in vogue and then you move on to the next.
The other slightly strange current use of language is "channelling" as in "Madonna was on the red carpet at the Oscars last night,chanelling Audrey Hepburn". I always thought that if you wanted to channel someone, you had to hold hands and think of the departed and it probably involved spooky doings with a Ouija board. Clearly I have led a sheltered life.
Anyway, I'm not rigid in my outlook - I can move with the times. I really quite like the military look that's in at the moment. All those neat little jackets with frogging on the front - lovely. So ...I decided to head to the shops in search of one and entertained happy thoughts of swanning into the office, being admired by my colleagues and saying casually, "yeah, I'm rocking the military look".
I collected three and skipped to the changing rooms to try them on. Disaster. Made me look like a bloke, frankly. This is where the scales fell from my eyes and I realised that I may not be rocking the military look,but I am certainly channelling Captain Mainwaring.