‘Once the audible sound is heard,’ the Train Manager announced on the way down to London yesterday, the train will have come to ‘a complete and final stop’. I suppose this verbal redundancy (what kind of sound isn’t audible when it can be heard?) is justified in the interests of making absolutely, unequivocally and utterly clear to passengers the need to wait till the train was safely stationary. In the station. And not moving.
A speaker on a Radio 4 programme at the weekend resorted to a different linguistic trick. It actually felt more like a trap when a wine merchant said he wanted to ‘remove the mystery and keep in magical’. Fancy alliteration and fine aspirations are common in marketing – but it didn’t make much sense to me. Can something be magical without mystery?
And speaking of alliteration, the picture here shows that the Socialist Worker is happy to use tabloid tricks in a worthy cause. It was spotted at the Take Back Parliament Flash Mob outside the Lib-Dem Federal Executive Committee Meeting in Westminster yesterday (Monday). You can sample this good-humoured demonstration on YouTube here. It included the usual quota of bored policemen, noisy activists, rowdy drumming – and a purple cow.