So…David Parkin has a surreal experience

WHEN I started working at the Yorkshire Post one of the first contacts I made was a larger than life public relations man called Andy Green.

A West Ham fan, when Andy spoke his mind moved so quickly and he knew so much that words seemed to just tumble from his mouth.

As Eric Morecambe might say, they were all the right words, but not necessarily always in the right order.

I remember taking part in a seminar on journalism and public relations and I had to follow Andy, a self-anointed ‘creative guru’ as a speaker.

I don’t think anyone listened to what I said as they were still getting their heads around Andy’s speech.

Over the years I’ve bumped into Andy many times and he is always great company and has a new idea or story to tell.

I once saw him at a PR awards event and Andy, a big man, was wearing a white tuxedo.

I told him he looked like the star of a film.

When he asked which one, I said it was the iceberg in Titanic.

Like many deep thinking, creative gurus, Andy decided to go off and seek calm and inspiration in a far off place.

But rather than going to a remote retreat in the foothills of the Himalayas he chose Barry Island in South Wales.

Andy recently had a letter published by the Financial Times, part of his new campaign to ensure the correct use of the word ‘surreal’.

I would never describe Andy as a pedant, but he is deadly serious with his latest campaign.

The letter read:

“Sir, Can the sub-editors at the FT please crack down on the use of the word ‘surreal’?

Your report on coalition talks among German parties featured Holger Schmeiding, chief economist at Berenberg Bank, saying: ‘It’s been a surreal week.’

Unless he was referring to dolphins, Fritz the Cat or giant cucumbers joining the negotiations, I presume he means ‘unreal’.”

Andy has continued the campaign on Linkedin and is doing his bit to get people to stop mis-using surreal.

“My heroes Rene Magritte and Luis Bunuel would be spinning in their banana skins if they witnessed such a misuse of their noble cause,” he declares.

He received the backing of Edmund King OBE, President of the AA, who said: “Andy, I have also been fighting the misuse of our language. I used to ignore ‘invites’ unless they were invitations. Now I wouldn’t go anywhere if I continued with that.

“The worst is the incorrect use of ‘So’ at the beginning of every sentence of those on the Today programme who think it is better that thinking or pausing…. Now we are sounding like grumpy old men. So keep up the surreal fight…..”

I think I have also joined the ranks of the grumpy old men, given my rising levels of annoyance at people who insist on starting every sentence with the word ‘So’.

Or even worse, those who begin an email with ‘So’.

Or worse still, the self-congratulatory loons who post a photo on social media and preface it with the words: “So, this happened…”

As Andy says, the pedants are revolting.


IT was only a matter of time.

As we near the time that the New Year Honours are announced, I have received a letter addressed to: ‘Sir Parkin David’.

Has someone heard a whisper about the great and good who will be receiving gongs and titles from the Queen at New Year?

Or has my name been incorrectly entered into a database by a French company?

I’m clinging onto the former for as long as I can.

As they in Huddersfield these days: ‘Believe’.


THIS blog is taking a break until early January so can I recharge the batteries for 2018.

While most people spend Christmas eating, drinking and making merry, I tend to do that for the rest of the year so the festive season will be spent eating crackers and drinking water and sitting in a darkened room.

Have a wonderful Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.

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