Tuesday, 17 September 2013

It pays to increase your word power. Laughing and Spaffing?

It pays to increase your word power; those words were a regular feature of the Reader's Digest when I was but a slip of a lad. I was reflecting on these words this morning when I was shifting another load of muck and decided I'd commit my musings to the Harveywetdog blog.

The course of my musings was how much we learn from television programmes. Some good, some bad.


2012: Good Clean Fun?
So let's start with the television programme "Twenty Twelve".
And what was the key message we took away from this satirical masterpiece? Well off course it was the fact that "Sustainability and Legacy are totally different things!" How could we forget?


So that's all good then?
Words of Welsh Wisdom
Fast forward to 2013 and we were treated to "The Call Centre". This
was a fly-on-the-wall documentary set in Swansea. Now we may have wondered about some of the characters; were they really actors? do girls mind being known as "Barbies"? and was that what the Killers had in mind when they wrote "Mr Brightside"? But it was worth all the doubts for Manager Nev's words of wisdom on the subject of sacking people. "On a scale of one to shit....., it's shit!" You hear something like that and you just can't wait for disaster to strike so you can use it.


Mr Church and Mr Gunn
The same can't be said of spaffing. A seemingly harmless word, possibly made up you might think, but think again. It first appeared in "Big School" in a conversation between smitten (with Miss Postern) Mr Church and the street savvy Mr Gunn when the latter explained how he had enjoyed a trip to see the comedian Andy Parsons with a particularly unattractive woman (munter) the combined effect of which had seen him "laughing and spaffing" at the same time. The context made the meaning obvious but also made it sound like a word that had been contrived in order to avoid censorship.

Mrs Klebb and Miss Postern
Be that as it may there was still enough about the word to make me look it up on an Internet urban dictionary. Sure enough there was such a word in common parlance but with a range of meanings stretching from the amusingly mildly obscene to downright disgusting and totally socially unacceptable! Having cleverly introduced the word in Episode 4 (and presumably encouraged the socially unaware like me to check what it meant) Episode 5 played on such naivety to full potential with the well meaning Mrs Klebb forming "Stop Pupils Arguing, Fighting, Forever" (SPAFF, you've got it!) much to the amusement of the pupils and Mr Gunn!
Thanks to the education we'd received the week before we were all able to share the joke as well; Mrs Klebb's poster, with prominent red splodge behind the acronym, just rubbed it in.
Ok I know it's comedy but there were a couple of continuity glitches here. The first involves Mr Church. In Episode 4 he is aware enough of what it might mean to be concerned that Miss Postern might be involved in such practice. However in Episode 5 he shares Mrs Klebb's surprise at the children's amusement with the SPAFF campaign. Or was this a double bluff and he was simply letting Mrs Klebb dig a bigger hole for herself?
But the person I think would have spotted the howler is the Headmistress Ms Baron; she is definitely down with the kids and street wise enough not to put SPAFF in front of the pupils!