December 12, 2015 by Whispering Smith
Whispering Smith Column published in the Littlehampton Gazette December 3rd 2015.
I should point out that the first paragraph was not published in the Gazette due to lack of space but, hey, why waste it….
LET me make it clear, I am not given to swearing, no muckspout I, it is not a habit I have acquired and yet, when stubbing my big toe on the bed leg as I frequently do, I let out an ear-splitting yell followed by a one-off expletive, a once in a while comforting word that has been stolen and is now used, irritatingly, by practically just about everyone as part of their everyday vocabulary. Television quiz, drama and ‘comedic’ shows, sporting personalities, Facebook, in the street often but not always from atop of a scaffolding and, of course in public houses it flies about anywhere stealing away every bit of comfort my lone curse gave me. In fact it is now so commonplace that it has lost all remedial meaning and my toe still pains me. I mentioned this to my son and he suggested the solution might be to settle upon a much less used expletive, one seldom heard but may, once upon a time, have had some therapeutic toe healing qualities. Uhmm, this meant digging back in time to a childhood where swearing was never deemed appropriate even in the toe banging arena and there I found it. An archaic word seldom heard these days but acceptable I believe in the privacy of my own bedroom. ‘Bugger’, a medieval word in origin, is a comforting, satisfying substitute for that other much over used word when staggering around with tear filled eyes and a blackened toenail.
I RECENTLY discovered, after a Sunday afternoon walk along the river, that The Empress Bar and Restaurant offered a relaxing couple of hours listening as a lone trombonist, trumpet player, saxophonist or keyboard player acoustically gave forth blues, standards or jazzy combinations for a couple of hours from 2pm to 4pm each week. Just right for sitting with friends on a grey afternoon chatting and drinking a glass of your choice.
LITTLEHAMPTON station recently, a small group of youths loitering in the concourse swearing, pretend fighting and throwing Malteasers at each other. Station staff were on duty but showed no interest in clearing them away. I was inclined to say something but my daughter told me they were just bored and playing around. Back in the day we had The Clifton Café and a decent youth club in the area, just saying…