Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Adjectives 9

Breathtakingly ugly
Ignore advice to strike out all adjectives.

sketch of the utter vacuousness of a Baftas 2014 afterparty, by the superstellar @hadleyfreeman. (@alokjha )

a breathtakingly ugly Holiday Inn (@createstreets)

This is a sort of rock cum orchestra package that is as unlistenable as it is infuriating. Inaccessable and incomprehensible to the vast majority of people, this self-indulgent experimental epic is maddeningly pompous. Records like this are favoured only by simpering eggheads who consider themselves to be some kind of self-appointed musical intelligenstia. It reeks pretense and looms from your speakers with a stifling gloom. Avoid. (Amazon review of Kaddish)

Small flats with cheap facades of veneer-thin seaside timber, with uninhabitable balconies and with no thought to their orientation or aspect, masquerade as luxury development.

We’d prepared a complicated, idealistic and on reflection absurd birth plan involving paddling pools. (Robert Crampton, The Times 2014-02-13)

The examples were the classic 90s self-help-book variety. (Telegraph Feb 2014)

catchpenny articles

strained power-ballad style (Derren Brown)

Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union is a remarkably unremarkable book. (at-scene-of-crime.blogspot.co.uk)

Having compared the two – which is the kind of stupendously dreary thing I do when left to my own devices… (existentialennui.com)

pseudo inspirational, flatulent texts

volatile, touchy and vindictive (Borgen translation)

the mendacious marionette (Pinocchio)

The mysterious “piano man” ended up back home in “stifling Potsdorf”. (Fortean Times)

identitarian piety, pious moralising (Mark Fisher on the crisis of the left)

A lot of misty eyed guff about JFK. (@IamThorMeToo)

Marcus Aurelius certainly had a talent for spouting high sounding meaningless twaddle. (Mike Goss)

The book is peppered with strained jokes. (Times Nov 2013)

patronising planning (Guardian article on Ian Nairn, Oct 2013)

I have a vivid memory from childhood of seeing on the new Coventry cathedral a huge statue of St Michael defeating the Devil, the features of the Devil ever since standing in for everything wicked and conniving. Stupidly, I recently went to have another look – the statue is sort of hopeless and the Devil's face, which had mutated in my mind to keep pace with my personal iconography of how evil should look, now seemed feeble. (Guardian Nov 1 2013)

the interminable bickering of painfully earnest students (Popup London/@FoodPit)

Pat Neal in a film wore “optimistic Shetland jumpers”. (Jeremy Treglown in his biography of Roald Dahl)

wistful Vietnamese pop

It would be infinitely kinder to pass over this book in silence were it not for the richly fatuous self-regard that gleams off every page. (Angela Carter)

gently boring (Angela Carter What was? A Japanese suburb or the novel Monkey?)

in an apartment on the crummy side of the not-so-great. (Angela Carter)

Baffled officials came up with one inane explanation after another. (Straightdope.com)

There are dull canvas approximations, knocked out in reduced dimensions, by a host of repetitive Aborigine artists making a buck. Out of a tremendous indigenous tradition, fired and inspired by an enormous natural landscape, the Australian art world has managed to create what amounts to a market in decorative rugs. Opening the show with a selection of these spotty meanderings, and discussing them in dramatically hallowed terms, cannot disguise the fact that in most cases the great art of the Aborigines has been turned into tourist tat. (Waldemar Januszczak on Australian art Sept 2013)

Another ad which takes the heart and soul out of a classic tune, replacing it with anodyne mewling over naff guitar. (Scarlet Wilde)

More here, and links to the rest.


  1. why are so many adverbs, nouns, and participles in bold?

  2. Imagine them being read by Tim Wonnacott or Stephen Taylor Woodrow.

  3. It's mainly the apt adjectives that are highlighted.

  4. I recently said a book had an 'earnest shallowness', and I am so proud of that as describing a certain sort of writing that I am boastfully putting it forward for your consideration...

  5. Like it! I just found a lot of appalling writing by Googling "she skittered past".