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March 24, 2004


David Gillies

What else is going to shift your impression (i.e. a mental state) other than your mind? A lever sticking out the side of your head?

Anthony C

Oh my God! Your mother is Anthea Bell!!!!!! Hence the Martin Bell connection, I suppose.

You have NO idea how much enjoyment I had from the Asterix books as a child. I was practically weaned on them.

Wow. I'm squealing like a girl right now. You've no idea.

Tim Newman

I too was brought up on the Asterix books. Now I am older, I realise what a mammoth task translating them into so many languages must have been, especially as most of the names of the characters are themselves a play on words.

Mark T

you've done it now Oliver............I've warned you before, this slow process of dripping bits of personal information into your blog can only end in tears.


I was helping my parents clear out a room last weekend & came accross a pile of Asterix books.

Despite my best intentions within ten minutes work had stopped & I spent half an hour reliving my childhood as I reread such classics as Asterix and the golden sickle.


Your mother has my total admiration for such wonderful work

john b

At the risk of AOLing, I'm also very impressed.

I still remember my disappointment once my French was good enough to read Asterix in the original, on discovering nearly all the best bits were added by Oliver's mum and Derek Hockridge for the English translation...

British Spin

Please save me from the ruin of my weekend. Which book? If you don't tell me, I shall be forced to read all of them again. Which will get me into trouble. I suspect it was Obelix and Co...

Joe Geoghegan

These Romans are really crazy!


Oliver seems ready to, er, throw out the baby with the bath-water.

Plain English seems, at worst, like a harmless little group who -- in the present example -- is [as Americans say] performing a public service. We might wish the group's spokesman were more elegant, but there's no denying the bottom line.

Tomas Kohl

Hmm. It might seem innocent and even funny, but watch out for legislators to pick up the idea. In my country (Czechia), the Parliament just passed a bill requiring private media to use "proper Czech" or lose their license.

john b

I know it's always dangerous to say "we do things differently here so we don't need to worry about that sort of thing" - but we do things differently here, so we don't need to worry about that sort of thing.

George is right - the Plain English Campaign can be daft in its press releases, but its work in getting companies and councils to write bills, contracts and forms in easily-comprehensible English rather than lawyerese is excellent (particularly given that quarter of the population read at the level of a 12-year-old). And there's (~)never been a serious movement in the UK to legislate on how English should be used. We laugh at the Academie Francaise..

Squander Two

Blimey. Oliver, your mother is an old friend of my step-aunt. Funny old world.


Does anyone have an idea what the writers of Asterix would think of France's foreign policy?

Michael Brooke

I suspect René Goscinny's views are only accessible to those with an ouija board, as he died in 1978. Is Albert Uderzo still alive?

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