Diary… Capital letters face slow death from careless omission

Chat messages cause contagion of low literacy


Friday 28 February, London

>> The day starts with a dilemma. Coronavirus or coronavirus?

Please note how I deliberately started that last sentence with the problematic word, thus avoiding the tricky issue of capitalisation.

If I were still at the Guardian there would already have been a meeting about this and memos sent out.

An entry might even have been placed in the ‘Guardian Style Guide’.

But I have to make these decisions alone now, and I’ve decreed that it’s Coronavirus.

Please note that this flies in the face of both the Guardian and the Telegraph. They use coronavirus.

I made this stylistic decision in a fit of pique about literacy.

In dark moments, the casual extermination of capital letters (a sinister trend perpetrated by text and chat messages) makes my blood boil.

So I’m making a stand. Press the fucking shift key, you zombies!

>> Our friend Liz recently turned us on to ‘Death in Paradise’.

She did warn us that it wasn’t exactly a challenging police- procedural, but as a way to kill an hour while you’re waiting for something else to start, it will do. 

Strangely, that was exactly what we did recently in anticipation of another type of TV police story: ‘Murder 24/7’

Liz gave us some clues before we settled down to watch our first episode of DiP. 

She said it always comes down to three suspects, and that the endings take the form of an Agatha Christie with the Detective Makes Big Reveal to Small Assembly stunt.

The rule of three has obviously been passed to the British police officer stranded on the sun-kissed Caribbean island because he never interviews anyone else. 

It’s not hard to easily win a game of ‘Name the Perp’, which is useful as it gives you time to study some of the second-string characters.

Two in particular. First, Madeleine, who despite her manifold attractions never seems to attract any interest from the lusty blades of Saint Marie. 

This is weird because there is obviously no reluctance on the part of the DiP’s makers to run with relationship matters where suitable.

JP, who recently passed his sergeant’s exam, is married to his childhood sweetheart Rosey. 

And there is always a sexy undercurrent sloshing around bar-keep Catherine, who looks like she’s got her eye on every passing male.

Apprentice detective Ruby even got to snog an old boyfriend recently.

Maybe Madeleine is saving herself for a higher rank of partner, a DI maybe?

Ruby is fascinating, too. It’s her hair. In many of the DiP episodes, at the end of the investigation, when the culprit is safely dead or behind bars, the team are seen in relaxed out-of-office gear swigging rum and beer. 

But for 3 episodes I thought a stranger had joined their table at the tavern in these scenes. 

Then I realised it was Ruby, with her trademark afro bundled and primped, making her look like someone else entirely.

>> Ruby’s hair is a valid topic for further discussion. Especially when you read the Hackney Citizen

Ruby’s hair has made the debating chamber of Hackney Council recently because the Ruby in question is not the Ruby from ‘Death in Paradise’ but school pupil Ruby Williams, who has repeatedly been sent home from Urswick School for having an afro. 

The standout quote in this sorry tale is from a councillor and equalites officer who claims that the ban amounts to discrimination against “young black Caribbean and African girls when they choose to embrace their natural hair”. 

The school denies discrimination, stating that hairstyles are included in its dress policy and that they “should be reasonable and not impact on other students”.

DiP Ruby and Ruby from Hackney…
Totally serious story in Waterford Whispers…

>> Despite its satirical slant, this story is not as as ironical as it might at first appear.

Even Liverpool fans are getting fed up with the team being too good. 

One fan I spoke to last night actually doesn’t want Liverpool to keep winning because it would make the closing moments of the 19-20 season unbearably stressful.

A loss to Watford this weekend would be acceptable, he said.

>> I love it when the moderators step in to slap wrists.

On the Facebook page for One Dish Kitchen, the group’s manager, Joanie Zisk, recently got stroppy with people who just post pictures of food without supplying a recipe.

“There are plenty of food sites where members just post pictures – this is not that type of site. This group was created to help others cook for one – just a picture doesn’t do that.” 


A recipe from One Dish Kitchen. With apologies to Joanie

>> A message arrives from TripAdvisor with a summary of my “recent activity”.

I have supplied 2 reviews, which have been read by a combined total of 286 people. 54% were in the UK, 17% in the US, 13% in Spain and 16% in “other countries”.

I can’t tell whether this performance is good or bad, but my most popular review was of the big Troy exhibition at the British Museum (171 readers).

>> Just heard that the Jorge, as in Storm Jorge, is pronounced Hor-hay.

>> Pop Quiz… Name that Tune

“You’re the answer that makes my questions disappear…”



😋 More nonsense from Billy.

🎧 Pop Quiz answer here. Enjoy!