Tag Archives: Drive in Saturday

Rag’n’Bone Man

You pick up your mother tongue through love and listening. You pick up your singing voice in the same way:

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The musical wisdom of crowds

It’s British election time and the air is buzzing with political people. You learn a lot about the natural rhythms of the English language when you look at the names and nicknames that settle gently around the shoulders of our politicians. Rarely by their own choice.

Public names are chosen by the public. To please the public ear.

Once a politician begins to attract public attention, we behave like presumptuous grandparents, trying out different versions of the names their parents gave them. Aided and abetted by the media.


The difference between us and the grandparents is that we have the  melody of the politician’s full name (first name and surname too) on our minds.

Consider these political Edwards: Ed Miliband, Ted Heath and Ted Kennedy. Try swapping things around: Ed Kennedy or Ted Miliband.  Are they still easy and pleasing to say? Or does a helping of English T change the mouthfeel of a name, for good or ill? Continue reading The musical wisdom of crowds

Starman and the doctor, sparkling in America

David Bowie criss-crosses the Atlantic to gather the ar sounds he needs for Starman. One ar is British, one is American. Starman is British English, sparkle is all-American.

Why bother with the switch, for just one syllable? To bring all the hope of the future swooping into his listeners’ hearts and minds:

Continue reading Starman and the doctor, sparkling in America