It just so happens that Tiverton, where we have put on many a Festival concert, is the centre of the recent how-d’ye-do on apostrophes. It was exciting stuff that caused a huge hiatus and I have to admit that we’re extremely pleased to hear that Mid-Devon District Council has done an about turn and left the street names that were under threat as they were.
But what is it about apostrophes that is so difficult? When it comes to the time of year when we ask all our artists to submit their biographies in order for them to appear in the programme, we are appalled by the huge number of grammatical errors that come with them. It’s not just the dreaded apostrophe, but split infinitives, bad spelling, dreadful use of tenses and so on. Most musicians are educated in a way that is a luxury for some so why is it that it is seemingly impossible to write our own language with any degree of care and knowledge that what we are saying not only makes sense but is well written? If our biography was to appear in print for people of all nationalities to read, we would want it to read well. After all, our career is part of it too. We don’t think artists realise the importance of their written biographies. It’s part of their package. The glorious sounds they make on their instruments and the music they are interpreting are not the only ingredients necessary for a successful professional career.
Last year’s programme required proof-reading over a period of three days. Most of this was spent in correcting errors connected with artists’ details. This year we have decided not to print biographies unless they are well written.
What grammar always gets you stumped?