Teaching a session or two about novel writing at the East Ayrshire Book Festival today, before heading into Glasgow for a concert by Paul Weller. I've followed his career since he first burst on the music scene in the 1970s as leader of The Jam [I was raised in the wild by punks, at a time when most Kiwis were listening to Saturday Night Fever]. A lot of fans never forgave Weller for splitting The Jam, let alone forsaking it for The Style Council.
Me, I didn't mind. The Style Council's mix of soul, jazz and funk with a message chimed nicely with me learning to appreciate soul, jazz and messages. [I blame Level 42 for my antipathy to funk.] Weller stepped off that carousel by the end of the 1980s and became a solo artist, rediscovering his musical mojo along the way. Now he pumps out a new album most years, and tours like a Trojan. He's got a massive back catalogue of songs, it should be a good gig.
In other news, Variety contributed a new word to my collection of obscure language today. The Hollywood trade paper has a long history of invented lingo that requires some decoding for newcomers to its pages. For example, nobody leave a project in a Variety article - they 'ankle' it. Chicago isn't a musical, it's a 'tuner'. Today's Variety gives the new Broadway production of Billy Elliot a glowing review, praising the West End transfer from London.
In the midst of that the reviewer talks about the show's gritty 1980s Northern England setting, describing it as 'hardscrabble' - what a great word. I've already scrawled that on a post-it note stuck to the wall beside my writing desk. There it joins samizdat, policier, rustbelt, imbroglio, weltschwerz, kinslayer, cognomen and cartouche - all words that have tickled my fancy. Always handy to have a distinctive word up your sleeve when required.