Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Headline that sings is out of tune

The Sun has always enjoyed plundering the back catalogue of pop songs for its headlines. Over the years there have been some classics, as you can see below. But today's splash was just too cryptic, even for experienced tabloid watchers. The story about the Rev Paul Flowers, the former Co-op bank chairman, dabbling with drugs and rent boys was given the headline Sorted for he's and whizz. Geddit? Probably not. Its origins lie in a song, Sorted for E's & Wizz, by Pulp which made it to No 2 in 1995. Judging by the Twitter reaction, I am not alone in thinking it doesn't work as a headline though. He's as a euphemism for young males is stretching it and the apostrophe is wrong (it's just a plural). It is needed for the headline to have any chance of being read correctly though. And the song, albeit a hit from 18 years ago, is just too obscure for most readers. Hardly surprisingly, it was changed for the Monty Python Circus reunion in later editions. It was too clever by half. Song titles do often work as tabloid headlines though, as The Sun has long proved ...  

A memorable headline on George Michael's early sexual indiscretion

A neat tribute to The Sound of Music

Mary Poppins song provides the sub with a touch of brilliance

Barry Manilow is the inspiration for the Pope's visit to Brazil

Pink Floyd's tribute to the late Syd Barrett - Shine On You Crazy Diamond - was the source of this headline about banker Bob Diamond. Clever but, perhaps, verging on the obscure again.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Great use of space ...

Here's a clever headline from the redesigned Independent on Sunday today. The Tardis Scandal: More inside. Brilliant. 

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Have I Got Homophones For You ...

And so to homophones. Last night, BBC's Have I Got News For You used the most common homophone of all - lead for led. The problem is that it looks right, it sounds right and the spell check won't spot it. Newspapers, particularly those without vigilant subs, are littered with homophones. I sometimes wonder if anybody even notices. In my collection are: 

The MP climbed the greasy poll
Topless dancers stripped to the waste
John Prescott peddled his bicycle
The Pope rung his hands.
The foreign secretary received a wrap across the knuckles

There are hundreds of them but those most commonly found in copy are: 

And don't get me started on it's/its…
Journalists need to take care. It's a maze (not a maize) out there...