Just over a week ago I had a massive IT disaster. It could only be overcome by, in effect, getting a new computer and accepting the fact that some 90% of the data on the dead one was gone for ever.

Since then I’ve been desperately rushing round trying to re-input the basics, which first necessitated asking people for information that I’ve been so used to having that I never thought to write down or save in print form … along with other unpleasant and annoying things. Once that was done, I had another huge task just trying to catch up on stuff I do for others which, in turn, they have got so used to me doing that they have no means of doing for themselves.

All of which meant I had no chance to pass on something which made me laugh so much last Sunday that I thought I might get ejected from a very prestigious concert at the island’s swankiest venue.

It would be cruel to name the performers, and as the piece of music in question goes on for hours I won’t name that either. No point in sitting two and a half hours in a concert hall for the sake of something unintentionally funny which lasts about 30 seconds.

I have known the piece in question all my life. It’s one of those solid English favourites, so much a part of our lives that every Brit has at least one relative (probably a maiden aunt) who has sung in it each Christmas or Easter. It took someone whose first language is not English, and who was not familiar with this tradition, to spot a Manx joke in it, but it has been almost the only moment in the piece which I listen out for ever since.

So just imagine, if you will, a Manx national musical ensemble performing something where, for about that time, all they sing is the phrase ‘Oh we, like sheep’.

The problem is, the comma is silent, which could lead to all sorts of misunderstandings.


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