Charles Nevin: These are a few of my favourite short things

Start The Week...

Related Topics

Happy Monday. And as tomorrow is the shortest day of the year I thought we would pay tribute to shortness and brevity. Actually, make that just shortness. Here, then, are my favourite short things: 1. Shortbread. 2. Winning jockeys. 3. Shakespeare's Sonnets. 4. Whisky. 5. Just a Minute. 6. Babies' toes. 7. Oliver Hardy's temper. 8. My wife's memory. 9. Tweets. 10. A comic's pause. 11. The silences in Gregorian chants. 12. Gordon Brown's small talk. 13. Nick Clegg's promises. 14. Ed Miliband's first name. 15. Shrift. 16. Ernie Wise. 17. Cuts. 18. Grumpy. 19. The English summer. 20. 19 is enough.

BOO! HISS! John Thomson, actor, has complained about the audience in Canterbury, where he is giving his Sheriff of Nottingham in pantomime. Sorry? All right, then: oh yes he has! He's lucky he's not at an Empire: at the Liverpool one, when Cilla Black inquired, "Now then, children, how are we going to kill the big bad giant?", they shouted back, "Sing to him, Cilla!" In Sunderland, the young Frankie Howerd had a ship's rivet hurled at him. And in Glasgow Morecambe and Wise (see 16 above), having been jeered for a week, left the stage on the last night in silence, to be told by a stage hand, "They're starting to warm to you."

MIND YOU, they are robust in these matters, the Scots. Clergy at Perth crematorium are complaining about officials flashing a red light to warn them their eulogies are over-running. And, if the perorating pastors take no notice, "hand signals" ensue. I shall leave you to ponder for whom this might make a fitting finale while I recall the splendid Dave Allen sketch of the actor's cremation, where the coffin comes back for a curtain call.

NUH! "Whatever" has been voted the most irritating word for the second year in a US poll, followed by "like". These two, I have to say, are vital tools for moving information further up the pathway. "Like" displays an earnest eagerness to engage that I find lacking in "Er". "Whatever" has a spare simplicity conveying a mannerly ennui which, call me old-fashioned, I find lacking in "Suit yourself, you boring old tosser". And now I will leave you ahead of your addressing issues around impacting proactive paradigms. I am unlikely to revert.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month  

General Election 2015: Politics is the messy art of compromise, unpopular as it may be

David Blunkett
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012  

Vote Tory and you’re voting for the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer

Mark Steel
General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'