Getting Old

I wrote a mini musical some 30 years ago and have now discovered it’s out of date. That must be one definition of old age. The show is called Why Can’t the Girls Join In? It’s about females playing football. Well, recent events in Australia have answered that question.

A new professional competition involving eight teams has begun in Australia playing what is known as Aussie Rules. The first week of matches saw lock-out crowds and huge television ratings. This new competition is for female players only.

So what’s the point of my mini musical? Surely it’s out of date. Well, yes and no. The money paid in the women’s competition is far less than the men earn. The women’s competition is about a third as long as the men’s season. And the females play most of their games before the men’s season starts. How much publicity would the female version of the game get if run at the same time as the big boys?

It’s been a great start for women in football but they still have a fair way to go to become full-time professionals. And on that basis, I think my mini musical still has a smidgeon of relevance and, it’s an opportunity to discuss the growth of women’s sport in general and women in football in particular.

Why Can’t the Girls Join In? is one of 25 mini musicals in my book amazingly titled 25 Mini Musicals. Look under Musicals.

Who cares about S & P?

It’s obvious spelling and punctuation have gone to the dogs, but does anyone care? And should they? Experts tell us that language has changed over the years and, if true, why bother about the rules of spelling and punctuation?

We’ve all seen the signs which flaunt the wrong use of the apostrophe.

Banana’s $2 kilo
Access restricted Saturday’s only
No food or drink’s allowed
Professional Sign’s (my favourite)
City Leader Hit’s Back on Crime

In my series of kids’ books about the Schoolboy Sherlock Holmes, young Nicholas invents a series of words called Twit Speak. In his collection is tadbe, an acronym for the apostrophe deserves better. When he meets someone who incorrectly uses the apostrophe, Nick remembers them as a tadbe. It helps him solve mysteries.

To me, the crazy aspect of the misuse of the apostrophe is so unnecessary. The rules are few and simple.

Possession – Tom’s bike
Contraction – won’t (will not)

In a nutshell, that’s it. But there are potential traps. If you don’t use the apostrophe on some contractions, you’ll be using another word because won’t and wont have different meanings.

Plural possession needs attention. There is a difference between kid’s and kids’. The apostrophe at the end of the word means plural or more than one kid. And some disagree when a name ends in an s; some argue the apostrophe doesn’t need another s. Some use it, some don’t – Sherlock Holmes’ hat or Sherlock Holmes’s hat.

You could teach someone the rules of the apostrophe in next to no time. And you can read about tadbes under Books and Children on this web site.

For further information about the apostrophe, visit

Cenarth Fox

What’s Your Real Name?

Most writers I know – authors, playwrights, journalists – use their real name. Some famous writers use their real name and a nom de plume. Agatha Christie wrote romance novels as Mary Westmacott. But members of the public when writing online, nearly always use a false name.

Once upon a time the best way for members of the public to voice their opinion was via the newspapers. You wrote to the editor. You wrote on paper with a pen and posted the letter in a letterbox. All still possible but certainly an outdated method now that social media rules the world. Even presidents are on Twitter.

But in the those days of writing letters to newspaper editors, (and still so today), you had to identify yourself. You must include your name and address and prove you are who you claim to be. You provide a phone number so your letter can be verified. Of course it’s possible to use someone else’s identity but in most cases, the system produces responses from people who can be identified. But with online comments, the opposite is true. In fact the vast majority of online comments are posted by people who go out of their way to hide their identity. Is this a good thing?

Online comments, be they on newspapers, blogs, Facebook, Twitter or elsewhere appear in their squillions. Some articles attract hundreds, even thousands of comments. And the vast majority are from people who use a nom de plume. You see names like Voltaire, andrewthanksalot, splashes, runawaysomeonescoming, socialismus, honest, straighttalker, the betterone, Wally Witless and tricktrack.

I like Wally Witless because s/he uses upper and lower case and spaces.

Many comments are from trolls. In internet-speak, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory comments ranging from stirring to outrageous and cruel, even evil. I suppose there is the issue of free speech in here somewhere but I wonder what would happen if all online comments could only be posted if the writer’s identity accompanied their words. To publicly ridicule someone for their appearance, faith, cultural or sporting performance or politics is easy, particularly if you do so anonymously.

What sort of comments would people make online if they had to include their true identity?

Cenarth Fox