A teacher in one of many past lives, I’m well acquainted with the power of language. 


The perfect turn of phrase, simile, hyperbole, idiom or metaphor can create an instant image or feeling in a listener or reader’s mind.

But as I blasted The Fly by U2 the other day, it occurred to me that the lyrics were fully loaded with this kind of ‘colourful language’. So much so, I thought some people wouldn’t have a clue what the song was about if they didn’t have the cultural, generational or social understanding of the lyrics’ origins and hence, meaning.

So just for fun, I challenged myself to use as many turns of phrase as possible in one paragraph. I’m going to make it easier for you though (I’m lovely like that) – these phrases are mostly of musical origin, so you should totally understand, right?

To be on the nose with your music and deliver the perfect ear worm you need to pull out all the stops. Some musicians just live the life of Reillyplaying things by ear and hitting the stage on a wing and a prayer. These musos might tell me to just put a sock in it or accuse me of putting the dampers on, but I say there comes a time when you must face the music so you don’t end up playing second fiddle or even worse, jumping the shark!

Whether you understood or not, it does, of course, beg the question – does it matter? Because the alternative? Lyrics and prose full of bland, generic language. No thanks. Give me the vibe (and a colloquial dictionary) any day.

Source: Red Herrings and White Elephants by Albert Jack

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