After I told the anecdote I had heard about Piers Morgan lording it over his one-time deputy, a regular reader has commented that she was glad I had given Piers a write-up as she has a soft spot for me – though she put it far more bluntly and regretted the fact that he is married – and that and very much appreciates his wit. Were I feeling more jaundiced, I would write ‘wit’, but it is the end of the day, I am due off work soon and I’m feeling reasonably mellow. Unfortunately, I am not feeling mellow enough to put my reader straight: sorry, K., but my piece was not intended to be complimentary. As far as I am concerned Piers Morgan is a 24-carat pillock. (‘Pillock’ might be very much an English expression with which non-English readers are unfamiliar, but I’m certain they get the gist of what I am saying.) Morgan’s comment to his former deputy – along the lines of look where all his deputy’s hard work had got Morgan – might well have been funny, but unfortunately a sense of humour is no guarantee that a chap is a straight-up guy, especially in our industry. I have met many lawyers who have had me in stitches but who were also complete bastards. Stalin had a tremendous sense of humour, but no one insists what a lovely chap he was. So, sorry, K., I’m not Piers’s greatest fan (make that second-greatest, as you are claiming the top spot). Nor, I should imagine, is the first Mrs Morgan. Incidentally, a columnist for this paper who I chat to regularly and who once co-hosted a TV programme here in Britain (and who is also no great fan of Piers’s) tells me that the new Mrs Morgan, a Celia Walden, is said to be very nice and sweet, but not the sharpest blade in the box, which explains why the gal hasn’t yet rumbled Piers.
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Like many people, I am rather fond of the very long list of colourful expressions we have in English, but, of course, all languages have their colourful expressions. Not the sharpest blade in the box is one, and along similar lines there are a sandwich short of a picnic, the lights are on but no one’s home and the lift doesn’t go to the top floor. Expressions with other meanings I’m fond of include referring to a man’s wedding tackle and describing a practice men engage in on their own (well, usually, I suppose) as the five-finger shuffle. Then there’s describing shoplifting as a five-finger discount. A neighbour once said of my father-in-law, a retired Cornish farmer who would rather not spend money than spend it, that he would skin a turd to save a penny. Of course, there are all the standard expressions and phrases which you will have heard – a great face for radio, fur coat - no knickers, and up and down faster than a whore’s drawers. Then there’s describing someone one knows who has a tendency to corpulence as having more chins than a Chinese phonebook.
I’ve got to get off now, but if I think of any more, I shall record them here.