Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Gone Shopping (back in 5 mins)

"Good Morning customers and welcome to your local supermarket.
On aisle two in our reductions cabinet today,
we have on offer - Sonnets now reduced to half price. Thank you."
Aisle one offers a selection of refrigerated adjectives
vacuum-packed in clear plastic, date coded for years to come.
Opposite is the fresh counter, where you can buy the spoken word
in kilograms (they've just gone metric,
Imperial was far too confusing for the younger folk).
"Staff announcement: John Milton to 'Epic' dept. please."
Next to the counters is the bakery. Steaming hot speeches;
packs of four quotes; French epitaphs; Italian quatrains,
you can buy them all at next to nothing prices.
"Staff announcement: In-store Laureate to 'On' section please.
All along the back wall (crammed next to the Christmas goods –
lovely rhyming couplets for Gran, a limerick or two for Dad, and a few top twenty
songwords for big Sis), foil-sealed (for freshness) and stored
in gaudy coloured cardboard boxes, are the everyday words.
The nouns, syllables and parables can all be found here
bearing a logo or a tradename. Some even have free gifts:
pocket dictionaries, or extra pronouns if you're lucky.
"Staff Announcement: Sheenagh Pugh to Customer Service desk please."
Take a look in the frozen section. Ancient dialects, dead languages and even sign
are all there, stamped with a barcode and thawing instructions.
Promotion ends topple with the weight of stacked tins of punctuation marks;
each recyclable steel can brimming with commas and asterixes and semi-colons.
"Good Morning customers and welcome to your local supermarket.
At the front of the store today we have on offer:
Buy one Vowel and get the second absolutely free! That's at the front
of the store today. Thank you."
Cuneiform signs hang over every aisle, and people singing englynion is pumped
through vocoders and out into the shop-floor. No time to stop and look
at the spirants and neatly wrapped onomatopoeia.
"Staff announcement: Andrew Craig Williams to 'Bullshit' dept. please."

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