Thursday, November 09, 2006

English Lessons

I am continually embarrassed at my inability to speak the language with which I grew up -- or, more precisely, the British version of that language.

For example, we were having a great deal of fun at a party hosted by James Lark, a dear friend of ours, last Sunday. Along with learning far more about Jason Donovan -- an Australian pop musician who never once charted in the US -- than we ever hoped or dreamed (His favourite age? 21.), we also saw a short film entitled 'Summer's End' (no, not that Summer's End, the one by Hired Thugs Productions, 2005) which I urge you to get out and see whatever the cost if it is ever available near you.

[Side note: I am quite chuffed to find myself a part of one of James' most recent entries! It includes a recent picture of my daughter Alexandra, so go there right now! You will also find a picture of a pizza I made, documentary evidence of our presence at their party, and another, not-entirely-flattering photo (although in truth the poussins were not as fuzzy as the picture seems to indicate). In fact, despite his protestations to the contrary, James and Alistair (and Ulrike) were amazing hosts and cooks, and James betrays the fact that he gets it when it comes to food when he says: 'But Alastair and myself discovered something wonderful; cooking is not about following instructions, or trying to recreate something you've seen your Mum do. In fact, you can make it up!' This is precisely what I learned from Nigel Slater four years ago, and I've never looked back; just as music is much more than playing notes (although it involves that), cooking is much more than following a recipe (although it may involve that).

Also, I am finding that this party was more blog-worthy than I initially suspected -- or Cambridge is a much duller place than we all thought and we are hard up for material, you make the call -- as Alastair has also blogged about it, with especial attention paid to the Jason Donovan game. Apparently he had drank less or something, as he remembered more of the questions.]

Which brings me to my most recent gaffe. We were sitting at table engaging in the usual sort of Cantabridgian persiflage, when someone brought up the actor Hugh Jackman. Now I am always eager to share the little nuggets of information that I have flown in from the coast, all of the Hollywood gossip and inside information to which I am privy. Of course, that's bubkus. Nada. Zilch. Except for one thing, a bit of background information that I have about the actor Hugh Jackman. And so whenever his name is bandied about, my ears prick up. Seeing my opportunity, I waited for a lull in the conversation and deftly inserted my comment: 'Actually, most people don't know this, but Jackman is just a stage name. His legal name was actually Jass.'

And I sat back, smiling within, waiting the half-beat that always transpires before peals of laughter echo from the rafters.

Only, this time I was met with stunned silence -- no peals, no echo, just confused and slightly uncomfortable looks (more than usual).

And then I remembered: in the UK, his legal name had actually been 'Jarse'.


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