Sub-Standard

As sent to Times sub-editors:

From : Giles Coren

Chaps,

I am mightily pissed off. I have addressed this to Owen, Amanda and Ben because I don’t know who i am supposed to be pissed off with (i’m assuming owen, but i filed to amanda and ben so it’s only fair), and also to Tony, who wasn’t here – if he had been I’m guessing it wouldn’t have happened.

I don’t really like people tinkering with my copy for the sake of tinkering. I do not enjoy the suggestion that you have a better ear or eye for how I want my words to read than I do. Owen, we discussed your turning three of my long sentences into six short ones in a single piece, and how that wasn’t going to happen anymore, so I’m really hoping it wasn’t you that fucked up my review on saturday.

It was the final sentence. Final sentences are very, very important. A piece builds to them, they are the little jingle that the reader takes with him into the weekend.

I wrote: “I can’t think of a nicer place to sit this spring over a glass of rosé and watch the boys and girls in the street outside smiling gaily to each other, and wondering where to go for a nosh.”
it appeared as: “I can’t think of a nicer place to sit this spring over a glass of rosé and watch the boys and girls in the street outside smiling gaily to each other, and wondering where to go for nosh.”

There is no length issue. This is someone thinking “I’ll just remove this indefinite article because Coren is an illiterate cunt and i know best”.

Well, you fucking don’t.

This was shit, shit sub-editing for three reasons.

1) ‘Nosh’, as I’m sure you fluent Yiddish speakers know, is a noun formed from a bastardisation of the German ‘naschen’. It is a verb, and can be construed into two distinct nouns. One, ‘nosh’, means simply ‘food’. You have decided that this is what i meant and removed the ‘a’. I am insulted enough that you think you have a better ear for English than me. But a better ear for Yiddish? I doubt it. Because the other noun, ‘nosh’ means “a session of eating” – in this sense you might think of its dual valency as being similar to that of ‘scoff’. you can go for a scoff. or you can buy some scoff. the sentence you left me with is shit, and is not what i meant. Why would you change a sentnece aso that it meant something i didn’t mean? I don’t know, but you risk doing it every time you change something. And the way you avoid this kind of fuck up is by not changing a word of my copy without asking me, okay? it’s easy. Not. A. Word. Ever.
2) I will now explain why your error is even more shit than it looks. You see, i was making a joke. I do that sometimes. I have set up the street as “sexually-charged”. I have described the shenanigans across the road at G.A.Y.. I have used the word ‘gaily’ as a gentle nudge. And “looking for a nosh” has a secondary meaning of looking for a blowjob. Not specifically gay, for this is soho, and there are plenty of girls there who take money for noshing boys. “looking for nosh” does not have that ambiguity. the joke is gone. I only wrote that sodding paragraph to make that joke. And you’ve fucking stripped it out like a pissed Irish plasterer restoring a renaissance fresco and thinking jesus looks shit with a bear so plastering over it. You might as well have removed the whole paragraph. I mean, fucking christ, don’t you read the copy?
3) And worst of all. Dumbest, deafest, shittest of all, you have removed the unstressed ‘a’ so that the stress that should have fallen on “nosh” is lost, and my piece ends on an unstressed syllable. When you’re winding up a piece of prose, metre is crucial. Can’t you hear? Can’t you hear that it is wrong? It’s not fucking rocket science. It’s fucking pre-GCSE scansion. I have written 350 restaurant reviews for The Times and i have never ended on an unstressed syllable. Fuck. fuck, fuck, fuck.

I am sorry if this looks petty (last time i mailed a Times sub about the change of a single word i got in all sorts of trouble) but i care deeply about my work and i hate to have it fucked up by shit subbing.




Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
team@Order-order.com

Quote of the Day

Gavin Williamson overheard in Brussels…

 “What’s the point of listening to French politicians?”

Sponsors

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.
Waterson New Guardian Media Editor Waterson New Guardian Media Editor
Tories Demand Agent COB Faces Foreign Affairs Select Committee Tories Demand Agent COB Faces Foreign Affairs Select Committee
Vaz Reported to National Crime Agency Over His Finances Vaz Reported to National Crime Agency Over His Finances
Bolton Sacked Bolton Sacked
Agent COB Was ‘Paid Informant’ Alleges Czech Spy Agent COB Was ‘Paid Informant’ Alleges Czech Spy
Sunday Show Highlights Sunday Show Highlights
No Facebook Engagement Drop Off Seen Here No Facebook Engagement Drop Off Seen Here
Adonis Tipped to Set Up Centrist Party and Be “British Macron” Adonis Tipped to Set Up Centrist Party and Be “British Macron”
Corbyn’s New Anti-Racism Campaign Star Sent N-Word, “Jew” and Hitler Tweets Corbyn’s New Anti-Racism Campaign Star Sent N-Word, “Jew” and Hitler Tweets
Corbynistas Openly Using McDonnell’s IRA Nickname Corbynistas Openly Using McDonnell’s IRA Nickname
Standard Deliveroo Love-In Standard Deliveroo Love-In
Gotcha! Commie Corbyn Gotcha! Commie Corbyn
Oxfam Failed to Ban Staff Using Prostitutes Because of “Civil Liberties” Oxfam Failed to Ban Staff Using Prostitutes Because of “Civil Liberties”
Labour MP to Voter: “P*ss Off” Labour MP to Voter: “P*ss Off”
EXCLUSIVE: May’s Chief of Staff in Late Night Porn Shocker EXCLUSIVE: May’s Chief of Staff in Late Night Porn Shocker
Equalities Commission Slams Labour… Again Equalities Commission Slams Labour… Again
Tory MP Plans to (Le)Go Big Online Tory MP Plans to (Le)Go Big Online
Terror Cops Probe White Powder Sent to Parliament Terror Cops Probe White Powder Sent to Parliament
McDonnell Mocks Labour Compliance Unit McDonnell Mocks Labour Compliance Unit
UKIP Plot to Make Muslim-Bashing Batten Leader UKIP Plot to Make Muslim-Bashing Batten Leader