I do not know a great deal about Coren's work. I was once a guest on Radio Five Live immediately after him and I have seen him in an advert for peas. I greatly enjoyed his Supersizers series but that is the extent of my knowledge.
I certainly haven't read the column that he is moaning about but the gist of his complaint was that they changed the line:
I can't think of a nicer place to sit this spring over a glass of rosé and watch the boys and girls in the street outside smiling gaily to each other, and wondering where to go for a nosh.
I can't think of a nicer place to sit this spring over a glass of rosé and watch the boys and girls in the street outside smiling gaily to each other, and wondering where to go for nosh.
I had to read the thing a few times to work out what the difference was. Some of you may do too. Apparently he was annoyed about the removal of the word 'a' before 'nosh'.
The online debate seems to sway between 'is he a twat for f-ing and blinding about one petty word?' to 'at last those bastard sub-editors get it in the neck'.
It is certainly a lot of brouhaha over an A.
But what if it had been a B?
Commenting on Max's blog post brought back memories of my own sub-editing nightmare.
A few years back I interviewed Haruki Murakami for Waterstone's Books Quarterly. It was around the time that Kafka on the Shore was coming out and much of the Q&A centred around that. But towards the end I asked him what music he was listening to at the moment. His reply was that the latest CDs by REM, Radiohead and Ryan Adams were pretty much always in his car.
Can you see where the B comes in yet?
I filed my copy and a few days later I had an email from someone at the magazine asking if I had got one of the names wrong. Surely I meant Bryan Adams not Ryan Adams While I am sure that Murakami has nothing against the Canadian rocker and his first real six string there is a fundamental and very crucial difference between the two and I made that perfectly clear.
Unfortunately, and despite my crystal clear clarification, someone in the sub-editing process decided that I must be wrong as they had never heard of Ryan Adams so added a fucking B to the finished article.
So while I do think that Giles Coren has perhaps been a little over the top in his rhetoric, I do have a great deal of sympathy for him. But I would suggest that turning one of the world's greatest living writers into a Bryan Adams fan is a more serious offence than a bit of noshing.
You can read my interview with Murakami (minus the B) here where I recount the story again for the hard of hearing.