Nicholas Royle’s Diet Column: Viewing the World Through Mud-Spattered Spectacles

Since I'm in such a lousy mood this issue, here are some of my pet hates'¦

  • People who say any of the following: ‘thanking you’, ‘pardon my French’, or ‘merci buckets’.
  • People who say ‘hello Nick speaking’ when I answer the phone by saying ‘Nick speaking’.
  • People who say bicep instead of biceps.
  • People who spell Nicolas Roeg wrong, as in Nicholas Roeg.
  • Motorway drivers who push in when a lane is closing and there’s a queue.
  • Goatee beards.
  • Motorway drivers who let other motorway drivers push in.
  • Publishers who pay absurd amounts of money for certain books, leaving them nothing left in the budget to buy other new stuff. HarperCollins comes to mind. But then so do Picador and Heinemann and Cape and Fourth Estate and just about everybody…
  • Rupert Murdoch.
  • And people who buy his newspapers.
  • People who say ‘Yes, all day’ when you ask ‘Is it Wednesday today?’
  • People who say ‘Hello Sarah’s phone’ when I answer my colleague Sarah’s phone by saying ‘Sarah’s phone’.
  • Fashion.
  • Supermodels.
  • Girls who won’t give up smoking when reminded of the dangers to their health, but say they might consider it when told it will give them wrinkles.
  • Cyclists who think the Highway Code doesn’t apply to them.
  • People who drive with their fog lights on when it’s not foggy.
  • Flying.
  • People who tell you that statistically flying is much safer than driving.
  • Cheats.
  • Publicists who tell you they’ve got something you’re simply going to love.
  • And it turns out to be awful.
  • Publicists who only work three days a week.
  • People who don’t return phone calls, faxes, letters or e-mails when it’s actually quite urgent.
  • And even when it’s not.
  • The whole Oxbridge thing.
  • People who ask you if you ‘want salt on that’ when you raise the issue of the whole Oxbridge thing.
  • Anyone who can’t take a bit of reasonable criticism.
  • Anyone who starts criticising me.
  • People who talk in cinemas.
  • People who continue to talk in cinemas after you’ve asked them to shut up.
  • People who eat popcorn in cinemas.
  • People who get up and leave while the credits are rolling.
  • People who leave football matches five minutes before time.
  • People who write ‘poof’ instead of ‘puff’.
  • People who use the expression ‘opening gambit’ instead of just plain old ‘gambit’.
  • Publishers who tell you anthologies don’t sell.
  • People who don’t buy anthologies.
  • People who vote Tory.
  • People who… Oh God, just *people* really.

Copyright © Nick Royle. Taken from The Best of Prism UK (The BFS Newsletter), published for the World Fantasy Convention 1997, ed. David J Howe; reprinting material from Prism UK – Editor: Debbie Bennett, Commissioning Editor: David J. Howe.

About Stephen Theaker (304 Articles)
Stephen Theaker's reviews, interviews and articles have appeared in Interzone, Black Static, Prism and the BFS Journal. Among other work for the BFS, he has been awards administrator, short story competition administrator, Dark Horizons editor, FantasyCon secretary and treasurer, and (briefly) chair.