On a warm, terrific and wicked evening at the Statham Lodge Hotel in Lymm, Gyles Brandreth brought his collection of words. It wasn’t quite the entire Oxford English Dictionary of half a million but included many phrases and anecdotes. Only the Chinese language comes close with French having around 100,000 within it’s vocabulary. Excitement, a word from Shakespeare himself led to insomnia on my part. Although the anticipation of a few days away in Devon and collecting my first car this week may have contributed.
After a succint introduction by North West political commentator Jim Hancock, Gyles began his one man show. This gave the first joke of the evening concerning his ‘brief’ career. Although the five years as MP for Chester could be said to have been well spent. Gyles has recently become Chancellor of the University of Chester, from where I graduated in 2012.
Stannah stair lifts, the Queen watching the Full Monty and subtitle discrepancies were almong the evening’s conservation. Gyles may be about to be the face of the first. Prince Philip was quoted as saying “she has seen it all before in Papua New Guinea” regarding the second. The third included the replacement of “a minute’s violence” for silence, and the the “arch bitch” for the archbishop of Canterbury. A huge laugh from the audience resulted from “nipples leading”. This phrase describes dictation and communicating clearly. Other memorable moments were the pronunciation of Llanfair PG by Kevin in the audience and the 22nd most used greeting being “piss off”. Going back to the Queen “an opportunity to tidy” is said to be the royal expression for the delicate matter of visiting the lavatory facilities.
There was an opportunity to buy a copy of the book for the evening. Copies of Word Play and Jack the Ripper: Case Closed were available. Gyles then sat signing copies and spoke to members of the audience on their departure.
We all collect words, stories and poems throughout our life and it creates much discussion and lengthening of our years keeping the mind active. Some are hilarious, blunt, emotive, suggestive and euphemistic. The evening has enhanced my appreciation of words and the frequently overlooked role they play in our world.