THIS year’s theme for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is “Voices’, with the broad definition to include “spoken word, song, music “Dance”
So it’s a bit strange to see that every act was introduced with a speech by a military commentator.
Not everyone purchases a programme at £10 (or “two for £20” as one enthusiastic seller offered).
Another change involves the replacement of the usual pre-performance roll call for the country of origin of spectators – always a good warm-up and welcome for visitors from far and wide.
This has been replaced by a short pre-show segment featuring some of the lost drummers at the esplanade and attempts to make a Mexican wave.
Although it is a strong performance, the absence of some worthwhile elements that have been entertaining over many years made it less enjoyable.
Do these are good reasons for changing?
Do you think the Tattoo is less about the military and more about a theater production?
Robin M Brown, Milngavie.
IS THIS THE BRAVE NEW WORLD?
If there were further proof (which I don’t believe it is), that humans only value their consumption, Japan’s recent government initiative to support the young would be. drink More for revenue growth (“Issue Of The Day: The bid boost drinking in Japan”, The Herald August 19), would be it.
Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World The purpose of human breeding is to produce efficient, excessive consumerism. To keep biologically altered people passive and unquestioningly consuming, persistent messaging and drugs are frequently used.
Do you sound familiar?
Multiple jingly pundits are available radio Podcasts and programmes chat about technology and consumerism.
However, as the planet groans under the weight of out-of-control consumer-driven capitalism and even the human body is entirely commoditised with cosmetic surgery for the very young normalised and an under-class denied the basics of sufficiency, security and dignity – I say we are here.
Amanda Baker, Edinburgh.
PAXMAN SHOULD HAVE RED, ROUGE FACE
MARK Smith writes that Jeremy Paxman “had a pop” at Robert Burns (“Paxman’s lessons on Scottish politics”, The Herald, August 18). It was more than just a pop to many people back then. Indeed, for some it was close to lèse-majesté.
Paxman claimed that Burns was his “king of sentimental donggerel” at the time. Evidently, he considered these words appropriate for an honoree who is honoured around the globe with societies and clubs bearing his name as well as stamps and currency bearing his image and annual January celebrations about his life and works. Scotland Other places.
Many have been moved by his songs and poetry, including Sir Walter Scott and Keir Hardie, as well as Bob Dylan. Is he the “king of sentimental doggerel?” Aye, right.
Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.
• I MUCH preferred Bamber Gascoigne as presenter of University Challenge. Mark Smith likes “smartypants” Jeremy Paxman, though he was infamous for the use of the derogatory term “Scottish Raj”. The insults “Scottish Mafia”, Tartan Mafia and Labour Mafia were directed at the Scottish Labour Party, which Mr Smith claims to be a supporter of (though the term has been dropped since 2015, when Scottish Labour was eliminated).
Mr Smith is also a fan of General Gordon, whose abandonment at Khartoum led to the fall of Gladstone’s Liberal government in 1885, and the installation of Lord Salisbury’s Tory government: supported by, of all people, the “Irish Home Rule Party”. Supported by Irish nationalists, Tories? Liz Truss: Are you still here?
GR Weir and Ochiltree.
A SINGULAR GUARD
Alistair Johnson was the one I agreed to RECENTLY in Letters August 18. I didn’t agree with him on the issue of collective nouns. But now that Irene Conway has (Letters to August 19) written to back his assertion that they require a singular verb, I feel I have to clarify why experts believe that the plural can also be acceptable.
The principle, as pointed out by RW Burchfield in his revision of Fowler’s Modern English Usage, is that if the collective noun is thought of as a unit, a singular verb follows naturally, but if the members of the group are thought of as individuals a plural verb is appropriate. The Complete Plain Words tells the story of Sir Ernest Gowers (past president) of English Association.
These opinions are not recent and they are supported by the considerable authority of CT Onions, the fourth editor of the Oxford English Dictionary and author of An Advanced English Syntax (first published in 1904) in which he states: “A Singular Noun of Multitude (or Collective Singular) may take either a Singular or a Plural Verb according to whether collective or individual action is to be indicated”. Gowers gave the following useful example: “A committee was appointed to consider this subject” but “the committee were unable to agree”.
Peter Martin Muir of Ord.
GET THIS …OR RATHER, DON’T
ROBIN Dow, Letters August 19, cleverly combined his lesson about clock mechanisms and forgiveness for the mistaken use of “only” However, I wish Mr Dow would not have used “get” in his lesson on clock mechanisms. This word, which I was taught, was not in proper English. This gets me mad every single time I hear it.
It would have made me happy if Mr Dow was awarded points, rather than getting, for correctly using a gerund.
English is one of the most difficult languages.
Milngavie, David Miller
Keep your heart healthy
She may not be proud of it but Rhona’s poem (“Poetry under the wings”, 20 Aug) is worthy of Herald Letter of the Year.
Gilbert Mackay and Newton Mearns
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