Peter Rhodes on Black Country moms, Jeremy Clarkson's new job and the honest truth about whisky
Clarkson - back again
"DEAR Mum . . . or is it Mom?" That was the agonising dilemma facing one of the London papers for Mother's Day. The writer was worried that the English "Mum" was being replaced by the American "Mom" on greetings cards. Thankfully, they whistled up Carl Chinn, the Brummie professor, who explained that in Birmingham and the Black Country, it's always been "Mom." Actually, this is not just a Mum/Mom dilemma. In the Black Country, if not necessarily in Brum, there is a tendency to pronounc A as O, as in: "Me mom's mon waerks at Barclays Bonk."
STILL on Black Country dialect, as Toys R Us branches face closures, I'm reminded that the Dudley branch was always known locally as Toys Am We.
AS part of his readmission to terrestrial television and civilised society, Jeremy Clarkson is to be the new host of Who Wants to be a Millionaire (ITV). In view of the unpleasant altercation with a producer which ended his BBC career so spectacularly, the great and good have been queueing up to offer the former Top Gear presenter advice. It's difficult to know what to add. But if Clarkson can avoid shouting "You lazy Irish ----!" at Celtic colleagues and punching them in the mouth, that'll be a step in the right direction.
"EIGHTY-six per cent of men cannot identify these car parts," declares an online quiz, illustrated with a picture of a crankshaft. I don't know how I know it's a crankshaft, I just do. It's just one of those things we kids picked up in the 1950s, like gobstoppers and measles. Anyway, there's not much point now in being able to recognise a crankshaft. It is the device that turns the up-down motion of the pistons into the circular motion of the flywheel and, with the advent of electric cars, the crankshaft will be about as useful as a farthingale in a hot tub. Some pundits are already claiming that electric-car motors, being so much simpler than internal-combustion engines, will never break down. Mind you, don't we all seem to remember the same promise about computers . . ?
HERE'S a fascinating development in the suggestion that the BBC might pay the unpaid tax owed by stars caught in a dodgy tax-limiting scheme. A contributor says that if the Beeb paid, the money would be viewed by the taxman as a "benefit in kind" for the presenters - and they would have to pay tax on it. this one could run and run.
A READER bravely raises the question on which an entire industry, and the prosperity of Scotland, has been based for centuries: "Does anybody really, honestly like the taste of whisky?" I have to admit that, while a bottle of gin lasts only a few weeks at Chateau Rhodes, the whisky tends to get pushed to the back of the cabinet with the advocaat and Baileys, and can remain untouched for years. Maybe it's a genetic thing. When it came to whisky, my father used to say he was always glad when he'd had enough.