The world’s smallest violin

I saw this hilariously pedantic and abusive email via Popbitch. Now Giles Coren’s petulant rant is at the Guardian and Mark Thwaite has also linked to it.

What I don’t get is that Mark and Emma Barnes seem very sympathetic to Coren, in a kind of ‘Isn’t it annoying when your pieces are badly subbed?’ type way. Whereas for me, Coren is simply throwing his toys out of the pram.

Anyway, judge for yourself:

And worst of all. Dumbest, deafest, shittest of all, you have removed the unstressed ‘a’ so that the stress that should have fallen on ‘nosh’ is lost, and my piece ends on an unstressed syllable. When you’re winding up a piece of prose, metre is crucial. Can’t you hear? Can’t you hear that it is wrong? It’s not fucking rocket science. It’s fucking pre-GCSE scansion. I have written 350 restaurant reviews for The Times and i have never ended on an unstressed syllable. Fuck. fuck, fuck, fuck.

I am sorry if this looks petty (last time i mailed a Times sub about the change of a single word i got in all sorts of trouble) but i care deeply about my work and i hate to have it fucked up by shit subbing. I have been away, you’ve been subbing joe and hugo and maybe they just file and fuck off and think ‘hey ho, it’s tomorrow’s fish and chips’ – well, not me. I woke up at three in the morning on sunday and fucking lay there, furious, for two hours. weird, maybe. but that’s how it is.

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2 Responses to “The world’s smallest violin”

  1. Scott Pack Says:

    I guess it depends on the edit. I agree that such a rant over the use/non-use of the letter A seems a bit rich but what what if it was the letter B?

    I interviewed Haruki Murakami for Waterstone’s Books Quarterly. One of my questions asked what music he was listening to at the moment. He replied that the latest Radiohead, REM and Ryan Adams CDs were usually playing in his car.

    Can you see where this is going yet?

    The sub-editor contacted me to check that I didn’t mean Bryan Adams.

    No I most certainly did not, I replied.

    Guess what ended up in the final magazine?

    I may have to blog about this myself now as it has annoyed me all over again!

  2. maxdunbar Says:

    Hahaha. I guess the devil is in the detail!

    Reminds me of a story about Anthony Burgess that I heard from his biographer. Burgess’s agent called him up one day and asked him if he wanted to do a paid lecture about breast feeding.

    Burgess needed the cash. He did loads of research and delivered a one hour speech in front of a big audience, with photos and diagrams.

    Then the organiser stood up and said: ‘Very interesting. But do you have anything to say about press freedom?’

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