The Big Cliché

Organising a campaign? Want to get everyone involved? Keen to sound inclusive, exciting and a little bit down with the kids? Not sure what to call it? Why, just add to the list . . .

The Big Lunch (“Basically, it's a party in your street, in everyone's street”)*

The Big Read (“the BBC's search for the nation's best-loved novel of all time”)**

The Big Ask (“a new campaign calling for a new climate change law”)

The Big Dig (“a specially designed family experience at Museum of London Docklands”)

The Big Listen (“your chance to help shape the future of radio in the digital age”).

The Big Tidy Up (“a Keep Britain Tidy Campaign”)

* See The Daily Mash for a brilliant lampoon of this recent campaign.

** Predictably, the British public chose The Lord of the Rings, even though a) most of them have never read it and b) the reason most of them have never read it is it’s boring as hell.

One of my favourite anecdotes is the one about Tolkien and the literary group he was part of that used to meet regularly in an Oxford pub. One night, Tolkien had just begun reading his latest first draft when a moan came from one of the group (variously attributed to C.S. Lewis and English professor Hugo Dyson): “Oh god, not another f***ing elf!”

That pretty much sums up my response to Tolkien’s fiction too.