There are two ways to say class and only one to say classify.

How did this happen?

Why not say ‘clarsify’ or ‘clarsification’ if it’s ok to say ‘clarse’?

It’s not down to birthplace and accent, it’s the fault of etymology, a word loved by ‘wykipedia’.

Of all the words to change the pronunciation of in mid formation, why did the English language chose ‘class’ or ‘clarse’ and its extended sisters?

It’s a form of genetic self-harm, if of course, you’re after some kind of ‘clarsification’.


How long is the modern memory?

Is it shortening and are we forgetting easier?

Or is it simply our threshold to stomach distaste as soon as it’s happened.

I don’t mean Whitney Houston gags before she’s even been buried. No. Multiply it by 1000 with a living tonne of insensitivity thrown in for good measure and you might be nearing it.

We’re talking about Murdoch’s Sun on Sunday. With the Levinson Enquiry still drawing blood, the paper launches this weekend. Rather than effectively throw oil at New International’s embers, let’s douse it before it has a chance to build a readership. If newsagents don’t stock it, people can’t buy it and minds can’t be washed.

As Jessie J said: It’s not about the money.

As Jesse Owens showed: It’s all about the power.


I have spent today doing the exact opposite of Twitter. I took a garden fork and attacked a piece of wild land hoping to one day tame it (in the same way that one day I’ll get round to fixing that smashed catflap). Anyway, my back is buggered now, but this could be from hunching over this machine to write this post.

Back to the soil and its squatters. The root systems of stinging nettles run like the Tube, criss-crossing each other and wrapping around the knotted tuber terminals of doc leaves. As I wheeled the 37th barrowful of yanked out roots off to the bonfire to cremate I wondered which grew first. The doc or the nettle. And how long was it until the second one sidled up?

The betting banker in me says nettle got there first and then up strolled doc. But I’m usually wrong about most things so that means the Doc Leaf landed and took root, for the sly nettle to then pass through, linger awhile and taunt the doc into medical action as soon as a clumsy child toppled into the stinging trap.

Or maybe there’s a third more beautiful possibility. Simultaneous arrival and growth. These two weeds are the salt and pepper of horticulture. They season our soil and bring balance to the sense of touch. They share the same patch because like us, they’re social species (is species the plural of species?).

As Valentines day approaches, show you’re someone who understands the full gamut of timeless love and give him/her a wild bouquet of doc leaves and nettles.


He could write.

He could concoct characters.

He could make you die on a sword for the underdog.

And still does.

I’ll leave you this morning with his last words:

“Be natural my children.

For the writer that is natural

has fulfilled all the rules of art.”

Charles John Huffam Dickens

born 7th February 1812


So, applications to university are 9% down.

Shock-shock, horror-horror, shock-shock-horror (so sang Space in The Female of The Species).

The truth is there is no surprise. Irrespective of the cost, they feel that life studying in an institution might not lead to much. So they opt out.

The other truth is this might yet lead to something.

If dropouts can save America, (Gates, Jobs, Wales, Brin et co) then maybe opt-outs can save Britain and the rest of Europe.

Just for a minute think of an unruly, feral, failure-happy university of the street that channels its insurgent voice towards an underground Parliament. One without a Mr Speaker directing the traffic and salutations as strange as the Rt Honourable Gentleman.

Imagine, like music, it just took off and people warmed to it.

Imagine it’s led by women, young women, young black women, and they don’t play the feminist card. They just happen to be women, and young, and black, and critically, anticipatory. Yes, they have a hunch for what’s right, ahead of those who are still trying to fathom what’s wrong.

Wouldn’t that be nice to wake up to?

A smart young sisterhood for all of us. A counter-cultural movement to rewrite the rules of modern life so we start to get our house in order and our morals ironed out.

Yes, I’m in.

Are you?