Thursday, March 19, 2009

Words I never use: No.1 - Tablet

We've been watching Alan Bennett's Talking Heads again recently. I'd forgotten how good they are, but also how irritating some of the words and phrases are. It doesn't matter which walk of life people come from, whether you're uberposh Stephanie Cole or ordinary Patricia Routledge or downmarket Julie Walters, you are all basically the same, adding way too much detail into each sentence, just so we know you're an Alan Bennett creation and thereby working out your backstory with the things you're leaving out as well as putting in. Not that it's not amusing, because it is.

A lot of characters talk of 'tablets'. I never, ever use this word. Pills is much more me. 'Have you taken your tablets, Graham?' asks Mam, or 'Let's find you a tablet, Margaret' says Stephanie Cole. There are a lot of tablets knocking about here.

I'd forgotten just how dark these all are. I watched them on their original transmission about 20 years ago, and just found them funny. But actually they're tragic and the loneliness is bitingly brutal. I think my favourite is the one with Alan himself, A Chip In The Sugar. It's sets the tone nicely.

Alan Bennett lives just down the road from where I work, and I've stopped him before to say how much I like his work. He said I was 'bold'. I might go and ask for a tablet.


Helen said...

I think it's a northern thing, I often use the word tablet if I'm talking about medicine stuff and never use the word pill except for the obvious.
I think he's a genius. Used to live near him in Camden and found him very humble when I stopped to praise him!
Did you see the Julie Walter's one where she was married to the Yorkshire Ripper.
p.s our new babysitter's mum is a teacher at Hurtwood...small world

office pest said...

Clever he might be, but to baldly tell a stranger they're a Heston as a riposte to a compliment, is to take pithy northern observational wit a step too far really.

Five-Centres said...

Did I say bald? I meant bold! I'm not bald. Not yet anyway.

What a small world Hels. I hope you've got the goss.

I've not watched the second series yet, but I've a feeling I've seen it before.

office pest said...

No you said bold. I was just imagining that if AB said it, it might sound like 'bald'. Then I was going to say that you'd need a lotion for that, rather than a tablet. Do you use the word 'lotion'? I never do.

Five-Centres said...

Only when it's sun tan lotion. Otherwise, I prefer 'cream'. Or liniment.

Planet Mondo said...

I've never liked the word 'frock' - I think as a a child it made my think of Victorian grannies, but it still prickles now

Five-Centres said...

Yes I'm not fond of frock. It reminds me of the smell of rind.

Ishouldbeworking said...

The use of 'tablet' is a very generational one. Anyone under fifty will have been more exposed to Americanisms and would opt for 'pill' instead.

I don't like the word 'woolens'. It makes me think of rough scratchy jumpers, and my arms being forced into the sleeves. Gah.

Sky Clearbrook said...

I say "tablet" instead of "pill". My Dad always refers to a "cake of" chocolate as opposed to just a "bar of..."

Must be a Falkirk thing.

Mycourseworkwontdoitself said...

It is a Northern thing, I'd say. I'm from the North East and I refer to medication 'pills' as tablets all of the time.
"Do we have any headache tablets?"

As far as I'm aware, everybody else I know says 'tablets' too.

Note: I'm under fifty and remain stubborn in spelling everything in a non-American way and, in addition, rarely use 'Americanisms'. In fact, I'm seventeen and have never once said 'pills' when it comes to tablets, 'Ishouldbeworking'. Just a point.