South Park Self


Today I was in traffic with a van which was emblazoned with the logo denoting it the official instrument of a company called "Uncanny Deliveries". I am both bemused and charmed by this. If they're strictly uncanny deliveries, surely they arrive mysteriously in the middle of your carpet via no natural or earthly means? In which case why do they need a van? Also, no degree of searching online reveals their actual existence in Cape Town, which I suppose is appropriate for any organisation of occult significance worth its salt. There is an Uncanny Food Group, which I reject out of hand on account of how I darkly suspect it's boringly involved with canning.

While on the subject of random signage, I have also to report the continuance of jo&stv in the Department of Absolutely Perfect Gifts. This one not actually including wols, strangely enough. Jo found me a copy of a book called FROZEN CHICKEN TRAIN WRECK (the upper case is important), which has vouchsafed to me the existence of other people who are equally impassioned devotees of billboard poetry. It's a collection of South African tabloid headlines, apparently collected unofficially over the years by the simple expedient of leaping out the car and grabbing the good ones, which I'm now rather wishing I'd done rather than scribbling them down. There is no actual archive of these things, other than randomly on my blog, and now the book. It is a vintage collection of linguistic startlement, and makes me very, very happy. Not least because it's printed by Chopped Liver Press, which is a marvellous name.

(I should note, for posterity, that the informal online popular linguistics community is aware of headlines to the extent of having a term for those newspaper headlines whose characteristic construction of tottering noun piles creates beautifully ambiguous readings. They're known as crash blossoms. Language Log has a fine collection.)
I wonder if uncanny deliveries deliver to Maverick Builders whose truck, every time I see it, conjures up delightful brain pictures of houses with the roof in the basement and bathrooms in the living room...with no walls. Unorthodoxy and structurally sound seem to me to be mutually exclusive concepts.