No sport?

Is nobody on this site interested in sport? (Well, I know Soutie and John Mackie are, but they need to be drawn out.) These are interesting times, but not a whisper here … it’s as bad as ‘the other place’.

First, did anyone watch Barcelona dismantle Arsenal on Tuesday? I’ve followed Arsenal since I was ten years old, but I’d have been disappointed had they knocked Barca out … the football that Xavi, Iniesta, Messi et al. play is so wonderful that I’d like to see them win every match. Man U v. Bayern was primitive in comparison.

It’s a pity Barca are up against Inter in the semis … it might have made a great final. No English clubs remain, whereas there were three in the semis last season … then it was presented as incontrovertible evidence that the Premiership is the greatest league in the world; now we see it was just part of the ebb and flow. Man U look a spent force, and the Ferguson era may finally be drawing to a close.

As for rugby, an exciting weekend is in prospect with the Heineken Cup quarter-finals. Leinster and Munster have tough ties, but at least they’re both at home. An entirely French/Irish semi-final line-up is not unlikely, in my opinion (only Northampton and Ospreys can prevent it, and they’re both playing away).

I’m looking forward to the weekend, starting with Leinster v. Clermont Auvergne tomorrow night. And looking forward to Barcelona v. Inter already.

Sinead O’Connor and the Catholic Church

I saw Sinead O’Connor being interviewed on a chat show here on Friday night. I’ve always liked Sinead. She is an extraordinary singer (see clip below) but a maverick who would not play the celebrity game; hence she has had far less commercial success than she could have had.

She has always been painfully honest, intense and vulnerable. When she speaks out on something it is because she feels it and she cares, and she knows whereof she speaks … she is the antithesis of the vacuous rock star dabbling in ‘causes’. She is loved by many in Ireland; I don’t doubt that many despise her too. Continue reading “Sinead O’Connor and the Catholic Church”

‘ise’ and ‘ize’ spellings

I’ve noticed that there is some confusion regarding the ‘correct’ spelling of words like ‘recognize/recognise’ and ‘organize/organise’. Some people seem to think that ‘ize’ is an Americanism, and ‘ise’ should be used on this side of the Atlantic.

In fact, while ‘ize’ is invariably used in the USA, both alternatives are acceptable in the UK and Ireland. The dictionaries vary in which they favour – Chambers prefers ‘ise’ while Oxford dictionaries prefer ‘ize’ – but all accept the validity of both. The Times traditionally used ‘ize’ but changed to ‘ise’ around 20 years ago. Some publishers insist on one or the other as their ‘house style’; others accept either provided it is used consistently.

Note that there are exceptions: for example, ‘advertise’ is always the correct spelling. If in doubt, consult a dictionary. Personally I always use ‘ize’ spellings, mainly because H. W. Fowler, author of Modern English Usage, prefers them – he justifies this in terms of the Greek roots of the words.

To complicate matters, ‘analyse’ is the correct spelling here, and ‘analyze’ in the USA.

21 years a-publishing

I’ve been working in publishing for 21 years, almost exactly. I went to London in early 1989 and fairly soon managed to get a job as an editorial assistant with The Institute of Metals (now The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining), at 1 Carlton House Terrace … a wonderful and historic location near all the sights of the West End. I liked that.

I shared an office with two very agreeable people from whom I learned much, and between us we produced the quarterly journals Surface Engineering, Powder Metallurgy and British Corrosion Journal … not very glamorous, but perfectly good in their way.

After a year or so I got a better-paid job as production editor with Thomas Telford (the publishing arm of The Institution of Civil Engineers), working on exciting journals such as Steel Construction Today, Advances in Cement Research and Magazine of Concrete Research, and also on books – I produced the book that the ICE published to mark the centenary of the Forth Bridge, for example.

Again I had some great colleagues; we had plenty of fun and quite a lot of beer, though working under pressure to deadlines. That was on the Isle of Dogs – a world and a Docklands Light Railway trip away from the West End.

When my wife was pregnant we decided to move back to Ireland. I worked for a couple of years as a production editor with an educational publisher, while doing some freelance work for Thomas Telford. Eventually I decided to go fully freelance and work from home … I’ve been doing this for 17 years now.

It has had pros and cons, like most jobs. Of course there’s no commuting, and one can live anywhere; but there is also no sociability … which is perhaps why blogsites are tempting. I’ve always had plenty of work, from the likes of Elsevier, Routledge, Psychology Press, McGraw-Hill, Johns Hopkins University Press, The Royal Society of Chemistry, Longman, and numerous others, including some Irish publishers.

These days I work mainly on psychology books and journals. I do copy-editing, proofreading and indexing, and also some writing, rewriting and substantive editing.

It’s not a bad life, really. I don’t think I fancy doing it for another 21 years, though.