Cover Version

No matter how well you’re learning a language, and how confident you feel in handling the basics, encountering it in a natural context will always throw something at you that you just can’t figure out. You can look at it, try to figure out its meaning from the context, guess at its meaning from its spelling and similarity to other words, but it simply defies understanding. This is of course especially difficult if you hear the word or phrase spoken, when you don’t have the luxury of analysing it to any great degree.

I was thinking about this this morning in the car on the way back from a lesson. I was listening to “The Man Who Sold the World” by David Bowie, and thinking about the fact that the cover version by Nirvana on MTV Unplugged is probably better known. So much so, that people might assume that it’s the original version. In this regards it’s similar to other songs such as “All Along the Watchtower” (Bob Dylan – 1967, The Jimi Hendrix Experience – 1968), and “Tainted Love” (Gloria Jones – 1964, Soft Cell – 1981).

This time though, I didn’t think too much about this. Instead, I was more concerned with that term – cover version. Continue reading

The Beatles: Here Comes the Pun

The Beatles are responsible for a lot, of course. Producing some incredible and innovative music, and inspiring other musicians. They’re also responsible for causing people to misspell the word beetle (as in the insect). As a spelling nerd from a young age, I was long aware that the band’s name was spelled differently from the animal. I never really thought about why though. I suppose I assumed that The Beatles could do whatever they wanted, and that if they wanted to spell their name differently, that was fine. Or maybe that’s how they thought the word beetle was spelled, and who was I to correct them? Continue reading

My Baby Don’t Care for Shows…

My love don’t cost a thing.

She don’t love you (like I love you).

If you don’t understand him, an’ he don’t die young, He’ll prob’ly just ride away.

She don’t know.

He don’t deserve you anymore.

She don’t let nobody.

She don’t like the lights.

Your inner (or, indeed, outer) grammar pedant may have cringed at the recurring word in the lyrics and song titles above: don’t.

Doesn’t! that shrill little voice inside shouts, doesn’t!!

Continue reading