Phrases and cliches to be banned (along with smoking)

It’s D-day for me and millions of other happy smokers on July 1. Yet while we wheeze our way to a healthier lifestyle at the behest of our loving, caring, huggable government, there is one burning issue in the ashtray of politics which has yet to be doused: clichés. They are absolutely everywhere, and the disease is spreading thick and fast.

Lawrence Booth wrote a piece on it for 2006′s Wisden Cricketers Almanack (absolutely required reading), but still nothing has been done. And I’ve just read one of the worst – one of my most hated expressions – from Paul Nixon, regarding tomorrow’s Twenty20 kick-off: express yourself. “Just go out there and express yourself”. It provokes in me a boiling rage, and makes me want to eat my feet.

Talking of such things, Mr Booth scribbled this in his column a couple of weeks ago which caught my eye:

Moments before Monty entered the Lancashire library to share his
thoughts on his four-wicket haul in West Indies’s first innings with
the press, a member of the fourth estate decided to get to work on
the pad of A4 placed on the table in front of Monty’s seat
(presumably in case he felt the need at any stage to jot down a few
thoughts). “REMEMBER TO SAY,” wrote the journalist “HIT THE RIGHT
AREAS, WORK HARD, KEEP IT SIMPLE”.

Enter Monty to stifled titters. He sits down, spots the advice and
chuckles out loud (the Spin has the chuckle on tape and will happily
place an audio version of it on-line if challenged). He points it out
to England’s media-relations officer, James Avery, who chuckles too,
and then scans the beaming faces before him in search of the culprit.

Superb. Lawrence’s The Spin is emailed to just about everyone who knows or cares about cricket, and journalism, every Thursday. Get it now.

And your favourite clichés? Come on; put your hands up and come to the party. Express yourselves…

Competition: win signed copies of Arm-ball to Zooter

Arm-ball to Zooter: A Sideways Look at the Language of Cricket

Got quite a few books piling up here so it’s time for a competition. I have two copies of Arm-ball to Zooter – still warm from the oven – the new book from The Guardian’s Lawrence Booth. A fine writer and allround good egg, Lawrence has even agreed to sign the books, thereby raising its antique value by several thousand percent.

Joking aside it’s a terrific read, as you would expect, and well worth the mere £7.79 from Amazon. So treat yourself to a new book – one which, thankfully, isn’t an autobiography from a veteran international batsman of 14 months…

Competition

We’ve run a few limerick competitions in the past which have gone down well. For those not sure of the style a limerick takes, it’s really simple: using one of the two starting lines below, construct a five-line verse with the rhyme scheme of aabba. See here for ideas.

So, use either of the first lines below and get cracking. Competition will run until I get very bored; keep it cricket-based as much as you can, and the best two will win one of Lawrence’s books.

1) When Flintoff asked Ponting to lunch…

2) At Brisbane one day by the sea…