I’ve lived in Shrewsbury now for six years. I do like this lovely, medieval town very much. As I’ve explained before I love straplines and Shrewsbury has a great strapline: the great one-off. There is even a video on YouTube about how lovely it is here (and it really is).
But there is one phrase I hear a lot out and about this town which I don’t remember hearing on the streets of Oxford (although it does appear on the Oxford Dictionaries website) or Charlbury and it is a phrase I don’t like. That phrase is: I’m not being funny, but.
This phrase now sits happily in my box of Phrases I Don’t Like (sitting along side ‘at the end of the day‘, ‘the bottom line’, ‘ping me an email’ and ‘keep me in the loop’). The reason I don’t like it is because when you hear it you know that something bad is going to follow. You know that some negative comment must be on its way. You hear this phrase and you need to brace yourself.
You never hear ‘I’m not being funny but, there are some lovely people in this world’ or ‘I’m not being funny but, let’s give everyone some chocolate tomorrow’.
Perhaps I should change the reputation of this phrase and use it ad nauseum in my daily conversations with all the Salopians I know. But I need to follow it with something lovely and flowery. That will be my mission.