Wednesday, February 17, 2010

No regrets...

"Never," they (who? - source req'd ed) tend to tell you when you're involved in the writing of stories, "let the facts get in the way of a good story". What, then, is a fact? It's at times like this when I reach for the top shelf which is not, I hasten to add, the resting place for a vast collection of pornography but, in our home at least, the place where we store our reference library. First in line is The Concise Oxford Dictionary, which, even now, even after years of people paying me money to write misspelt claptrap, I wouldn't dare do without. A fact, the OED tells me, is "a thing that is know to have occurred, to exist, or to be true". For the sake of irony, I also turned to Wikipedia for its take on fact. "The term fact," she tells me, "can refer to, depending on context, a detail concerning circumstances past or present, a claim corresponding to objective reality, a provably true concept, or a synonym for reality." The word fact has been used in conjunction with an appearance by a certain Robbie Williams at last night's Brits awards, where he received a lifetime achievement award before performing a career-spanning medley of hits, which "was the highlight of the night for many inside Earls Court" (but not, I would suggest, outside Earls Court, where free will, freedom of expression and free thinking was upheld). The word fact has been used by Ian Youngs, a music reporter for BBC News in his report looking at the "real Brits Awards winners and losers". Mr Youngs's talked of the opportunity that RW was afforded to "remind us that his best anthems were huge, euphoric, communal and enduring pop landmarks." And the fact? "The fact that we needed reminding was also a bit sad because it means it must have been so long since he has had one of those mega hits." Is that really a fact? The fact that we needed reminding? Have we not just cast those "pop landmarks" aside because we now realise that they are insignificant? And isn't the claim that RW's best anthems were "huge, euphoric, communal and enduring", with the possible exception of Angels, a little bit grand? Youngs also praises Peter Kay's "withering one-liners". Peter Kay could certainly be described as withering, depending on the definition you opt for.

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