I made a resolution I wasn’t going to succumb to the temptation of writing about the odd searches that lead people to this blog, so it was, of course, inevitable that I would write about it….
Every day, though, two or three people arrive here having googled for the phrase ‘Fuck you’. It’s not my habit to swear — my late wife, who swore like a Hull fishwife (coming from Hull and having been PA for the director of a trawler company, you see) didn’t like it, since she knew that meant I was about seriously to lose my temper — so it leads only to a post about the Iranian writer of graphic novels, Marjane Satrapi, a lady whom it is clearly unwise to tell she shouldn’t smoke. And now, of course, here.
Why, though, do people google for that phrase? Other than if you’re trying to find the Phillip Larkin poem, (it’s here, by the way), I can’t think of a reason for so doing. People presumably know what it means and when it’s commonly used.
Or maybe not — my sometime interpreter and PA in Russia, the lovely and talented Inna, had a somewhat mischievous sense of humour, as I discovered when I asked her to teach me a few useful Russian phrases. My, how we laughed when I discovered that, rather than asking waiters and waitresses for — as I thought — an ashtray, I’d been asking for something completely different (which I would doubtless have enjoyed, but it’s hardly the sort of thing one asks of a complete stranger….). No wonder I kept on getting strange looks, and it’s a tribute to the hospitality of the Hotel Astoria in St Petersburg that I didn’t get my face slapped. I began to smell a rat after the barman in the night club there told me he’d be glad to oblige, but I’d probably be better off asking one of the young ladies sitting at the far end of the bar, and it would probably cost $150 (the price one pays, you see, for staying in posh hotels).
I did, after that, tend to check her advice on colloquial phrases rather closely.