Tag Archives: natural tory

Julian Ruck, the hardest-hitting Labour grassroots supporter you’ll never meet

[Jewels from page 9]

Dear Reader, have we really seen this blog grow so far (and share so much love) on the basis of the first 8 pages of Rickety Chops alone?

Yes, both I and the monkeys have been slack. It is true, and I throw myself (and them, to cushion my landing) upon your tender mercies. I am ashamed to admit it, but I grew bored with Julian. I know; how unreasonable. How short-sighted.

I thought he had run out of tricks – I thought complaining about arts subsidies and the Welsh language, while telling porky pies about his own sales figures, ‘organising’ ruinously bad festivals and complaining that some people find his prose vomit-inducing was all he had to offer.

But no.

I was a fool!

In his peculiar desire to say nasty things about Wales to as many people as possible, he has now quite brilliantly convinced a prominent Labour grassroots blog to publish articles from a not-so-closet rabid right-winger attacking the Labour party. Or, as it turns out, articles actually written and published by Tory politicians before being plagiarised by Jules! Really, it’s too Dada for words.

It’s lucky I have a sturdy bladder, or all this laughter would have some embarrassing consequences.

I must not be distracted, though – I have a mission to complete. The world is agog to know if there is indeed a mistake on every single page of the inglorious Ragged Cliffs. So, is there on page 9?

Page 9 is an oddity.

No, don’t give up hope! But Julian, to the monkeys’ surprise, goes a little easier on commas on page 9. In fact, he goes so easily that he almost gives up on them entirely – 6 commas in 40 lines of text. The result is a lower incidence rate of violence against commas, but a tone reminiscent of the primary school. Short sentences. Without much happening. Without commas for the most part. But also lacking life. Quite hard to read. Almost painful. Oh, there goes another monkey.

The commas don’t get off scot-free, though, I’m sorry to say; even when there are only 6 of the poor little beggars.

‘Lise wanted desperately to embark upon a musical career and dreamed of being a concert pianist. A dream, she and others knew, could one day become a reality.’

Now bear with me, Julian, because you might find this a little complicated, given how much trouble you have with more obvious problems.

The thing is, you want the ‘she and others knew’ to refer to the dream, don’t you? You’re not saying that Lise and others knew that dreams in general could become reality, are you? So that means that the ‘she and others knew’ needs to function as a descriptive phrase – and once you stick it between commas, it becomes disconnected from the word it’s meant to be describing, and works as an interruptive phrase.

In other words (for the grammatically-challenged) you don’t actually need those commas. If you went with:

A dream she and others knew could one day become a reality.

…it would still be every bit as maudlin and generally pointless, but it would actually mean what you wanted it to mean.

You’re also still struggling with the whole concept of abstract nouns and the way in which they don’t often work as subjects in the passive voice, aren’t you? It’s okay, you can admit it here, where you’re among friends (not like those loony socialists over at Labout-Uncut!). So:

His difference she knew would be bullied.

No, Jules, no. He would be bullied – perhaps because of his differences. You can only bully a person (or perhaps an animal, the monkeys demand that I add). You can’t bully a difference, or happiness, or a world-weary sense of tedium. If you could, I’d cheerfully bully the world-weary sense of tedium you manage to paint over so much of the internet.

So, small beer by Julian’s usual standards. It does, though, have my favourite sentence from Julian:

At first Lise was constantly faced with weird looks and despair each time she spoke.

You just know this comes from personal experience, don’t you? Probably at one of Julian’s talks on creative writing. At first, and constantly.

Good luck with attacking the Labour party, Julian dear. They’re big and ugly enough to look after themselves. But do please stop writing; you’re hurting the words.

Couldn’t you record your rants as podcasts? That would do so much less damage to the language.



Filed under The Society for the Preservation of Commas