29 July 2011

BBC TV's "Coast" in Sweden: multiple fail

I despair at Coast. As previously blogged here, in the first episode of this series they managed to place Dover in Essex on a map, but last week’s programme about Sweden’s Baltic coast had me repeatedly shouting “Fail” at the screen.

Firstly, there’s the age-old problem of Brits being utterly unaware of accented characters and the importance thereof in other languages – so we get map captions that say “Hogbonden” instead of “Högbonden” and “Aland” instead of “Åland”. FAIL. It’s ignorant, disrespectful and wrong. They are different letters, not just funny marks that don’t matter. Imagine the condescending laughter if “foreigners” were to broadcast misspellings such as Löndon or The Ile of Weight. And don’t get me started on presenter Nicholas Crane’s dodgy (and inconsistent) pronunciation of non-English placenames. The BBC gives its newsreaders advice and training on this point, but apparently not its other presenters.

And then we have the obligatory visit to the tiny island of Viggsö (near Stockholm), where ABBA wrote many of their most famous songs. Except that, in this programme, the piece on this island was featured near the start of the show, sandwiched between two pieces about Sweden’s High Coast – the implication being that Viggsö is in the remote north, which it isn’t. FAIL. The piece should have been towards the end of the programme, as the notional journey taken on this episode ended in Stockholm.

Final whinge: the programme visited the Åland Islands, but at no time was it mentioned that the islands are actually part of Finland (although the inhabitants speak Swedish). In a programme specifically about the Swedish coast, this omission implied that the islands form part of Sweden. FAIL.

14 July 2011

Your regular ice cream update

On a visit to London this week, we stopped by the Häagen-Dazs cafe in Leicester Square. The menu has been adorned with two new flavours:
  • Crème Brûlée.
  • Green Tea & Hibiscus.
Naturally, I tried both. Bearing in mind crème brûlée is one of my four favourite ingestions (the other three being ice cream, bacon and – of course – crisps), guess which one i preferred. That's right, the green tea. Crème Brûlée anything is never a patch on crème brûlée itself. And the green tea ice cream was delicate and creamy and exotic and fruity and nothing like I expected. Highly recommended. However, I'm afraid I can't show it to you, because due to idiotic company policy, I was prevented from taking a photo, even once (or possibly because) I said I wanted to blog it. Apparently Häagen-Dazs don't want positive publicity. (Or maybe they thought I was a dangerous unhinged person. Ahem.) Anyhow, seems they can make ice cream but not sense. So here's a photo of a photo of said green creamy substance. It does it no justice at all.

13 July 2011

Bring back the florin

Saw The Mousetrap tonight. Henceforth I wish to be paid in guineas.

06 July 2011


Printing in 3D with chocolate: cool. (Details here.)
Misspelling it: FAIL.

02 July 2011

Wanted: Applicants with fluency in invented languages

It's been brought to my attention that the recruitment/job search website Monster (monster.co.uk) is curiously aware of invented (some say constructed) languages. In the section where you can create your own CV, you are invited to select the languages you speak and your degree of fluency; the languages are in a drop-down list, and the list includes some surprises, such as the artificial auxiliary languages Esperanto and Eurolang and artlangs (artistic constructed languages) like Degaspregos and Kankonian, among others (see image).

On further Google-assisted investigation, there are clearly lots of sites that use the same list, including cvwow.com, globalplacement.com, www.uni-internship.org and www.handijobs.fr – there's a whole new world of opportunities out there for the imaginative language learner.