‘Community’, ‘if you know, you know’ and ‘some personal news — the words of 2021 that need to be banned ASAP


Activism remains as important, if not more important, than it has ever been. Far too important to simply become an earnest addendum to the description of one’s not-especially-demanding-and-inherently-superficial job. Notice how there are no plumber/activists, no omelette chef/activists, no lion tamer/activists? There aren’t even any deputy editor/activists, and trust me: they could make the time if they wanted to.

Some actual activism

/ PA Wire

If you know, you know

Fantastic, isn’t it, that the 21st century now has its very own version of ‘I was into XX before you were’. Or rather, ‘I’m more into the XX’s earlier stuff/boring, unlistenable later stuff than the greatest hits shit that you and all the other basics listen to’. I would wager the five pounds I don’t donate to Wikipedia every month that minutes behind a good proportion of ‘if you know, you know’ proclamations lurks a frantic Wikipedia skim. Apologies re: the above, by the way, to The actual XX, who have always been great/not boring and who I was into way before you were.

After the 18 months we’ve had

Never has tempting fate sounded so crushingly banal. And inaccurate. It seems as though it’s been ‘the 18 months’ for a good half a year now. And that it might end up being more like 180 months.

Dom Cummings’ Substack

Okay sweetie, we get it: you’re Machiavelli; they’re a bunch of clueless toffoons who couldn’t cover up an illegal Christmas piss-up in a sentry-guarded brewery; and Carrie Symonds must forever be referred to as ‘the PM’s girlfriend’. Funny to think back to how, a year ago, we all raced to cross Classic Dom’s strings-pulling palm with silver, salivating at the prospect of daily, salacious revelations. Now his missives serve only as a reminder that today’s truthsaying double agent is only ever one or two sleeps away from being your local pub’s shouty old guy in the corner who insists he could once upon a time have been the sixth Spice Girl.

Dominic Cummings (Jonathan Brady/PA)

/ PA Archive


Or to put it another way: ‘We bought a massive TV screen for you to stand in front of.’

Like a house party

New bar owners: being located at the Soho site of a former den of iniquity that became a six-months-then-gone yoghurt shop before you snapped it up at a knockdown price does not automatically make you ‘a speakeasy’. So stop promising ‘naughtiness’ and ‘decadence’ and ‘misbehaviour’ on your homepage. And most of all, think back to all the house parties you have attended in the past and count up how many of them involved £12 G&Ts.


Communities — the LGBTQIA+ community; the Plockton over-80s croquet community — are obviously great. But this collective noun is now being deployed far, far too frequently, in an attempt to quaintify and elicit sympathy for groups of people who are neither quaint nor deserving of any sympathy whatosoever. Honestly: it feels like we are perilously close to reading about ‘the expenses-fiddling community’.

XXX-ing Britney

She won, of course, which is — of course — wonderful. Not least because it hopefully means no more documentaries largely consisting of ‘I’m deadly serious’-eyed insights from the brains behind @britneyskindoflikeamorejesus-ierjesus.

Stop with the Britney moralising

/ Britney Spears/Instagram

*some personal news*

From ‘Daily reminder’ to ‘I was today years old when…’, there are enough please-shoot-me Twitterisms to fill this page 50 times over. But this one wins out because… well, what even is Twitter other than a bottomless brunch of *some personal news* masquerading as some news of consequence? It’s like trailing season three of Succession with *some funny one-liners but no plot whatsoever*. Or Feeld promising *some Islington-based digital marketing execs desperately trying to convince you they are deviants*. Also, those asterisks…


It came. It didn’t really happen. It must now be consigned to the same dustbin as all those lateral flow test bits and pieces (sidenote: does anyone actually use those little sealable bags that come in the test kits?). Like a 6am night out too soon after a devastating break-up, #hotgirlsummer demonstrated only that we’re just going to have to wait patiently for delirious, post-Covid happiness to come back, not chase it.

Do better

Having re-read this page six times now, I’m not sure that is possible. But as ever the input of any bullies-in-preacher’s clothing, self-anointed moral arbiters out there is welcome, so do please get in touch.


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