Friday, 28 July 2017

My Top Ten Punctuation Songs

Following on from my grammar pedantry Top Ten, here's ten songs celebrating the wonders of punctuation.

Special mentions to Question Mark & The Mysterians, Slash, The Parenthetical Girls and !!! (which is a contender for worst band name ever: how do you even pronounce that?).

10. Discount - Apostrophe

Floridas own Discount. Sorry, I meant Florida's.

Being an English teacher, getting people to use the possessive apostrophe is the bane of my life.

9. The Wombats - Sex & Question Marks

Sex is one big question mark to me too.

Fans of the most inquisitive form of punctuation might also enjoy The Fuzztones - Look For The Question Mark.

8. Wire - Dot Dash

Wire use punctuation as Morse Code. Don't crash!

7. The Beat - Ranking Full Stop

Ranking Roger loved his Full Stops from the very first Beat single, of which this was double-A side with their more-played version of Tears of a Clown. The final full stop comes right at the end of the song though...

6. Spearmint - Punctuation

Today, class, Shirley won't just be teaching us about punctuation... but alliteration too!
Helps you hide inside your head 
Typewriter taps: use it as punctuation 
To escape every grey degrading day of your life
5. The Libertines - Up The Bracket

Pete and Carl in parenthesis. (Pair of annoying chancers?)

4. Thea Gilmore - Punctuation

In legal documents and religious texts, punctuation is all-important. Thea proves that here... 
‘Cause you see, I’ve got this theory that it’s only punctuation
That separates the list from you to me
And you can have your little war of full stops and meritings
But the real power’s in parentheses
3. Amanda Palmer - Ampersand
The ghetto boys are catcalling me
As I pull my keys from my pocket
I wonder if this method of courtship
Has ever been effective
Has any girl in history said
Sure, you seem so nice, let's get it on
Still, I always shock them when I answer
Hi my name's Amanda
And I'm not gonna live my life on one side of an ampersand
Wonder what Neil Gaiman makes of that philosophy? (Let's not ask him, his answers tend to go on for years without end, like his stories.)

2. Vampire Weekend - Oxford Comma

So the Oxford Comma, if you don't know, is the optional comma you may sometimes use before the 'and' at the end of a list. Used properly, it can avoid confusion and comedy...

Vampire Weekend though, they don't give an f-bomb about it. Philistines.

1. Dan Baird - I Love You, Period

Top single from the former Georgia Satellite in which Dan's affair with his English teacher is curtailed by bad punctuation...

That's the problem with English teachers.They let pedantry get in the way of romance.

Question mark? Exclamation mark!


  1. Ooh I do love an oxford comma, and use them liberally over at my place although I am conscious of the fact that I may sometimes misplace them which could be picked up on by professionals like yourself (although you would probably be too kind to mention it).

    Liked Thea's song, a singer I have come to really enjoy.

    Discovered only last week that Dexys Midnight Runners don't use any apostrophes which is probably a good thing for the name of a band as would just look untidy but surely it should either be Dexy's or Dexys' - but which I wonder? Is Dexy a person or a place, or are there a groups of Dexys. These are the things that give me sleepless night but really shouldn't.

    1. Could Dexys be an adjective,making the s neither possessive nor plural, simply the last letter of the word?

    2. Only you could have thought of that one! Yes we'll just say that Dexys in a weird adjective that no-one has heard of.

    3. This made me curious, so I looked it up and found this:
      'Contrary to what might be expected, Dexys Midnight Runners is consistently spelled without an apostrophe. The word Dexy, in this case, comes from a colloquialism of dextroamphetamine or purple hearts, a type of amphetamine diet pill that was a popular "upper" drug with England's Northern Soul scene in the 1960s.'

      So would be right in thinking, Rol, that whenever a word is a contraction like this, you don't change the 'y' in a plural to an 'ie'? (I've never been sure!)

  2. It's the difference between knowing your shit, and knowing you're shit.

    1. I tell my students this regularly.

      Probably won't be in this job much longer...

  3. If you are allowed to count stop as in a telegraph that opens up a whole new ball game

    1. There's probably ten songs out there (easily) just called Stop. Maybe I should gather them together in tribute to the WYCRA gang... Maybe even give out points.

  4. !!! is pronounced Chk Chk Chk - apparently

    Definite contender for sh*ttest band name ... ever

    1. Yes, now you've said that, I remember reading it somewhere.

      Somehow that makes the name even worse...

  5. Great selection and nice to see AFP's Ampersand in there. When I was a kid I used to get confused with the word ampersand and the Psammead from my favourite book Three Children And (&?) It. Now it's just one of those words I can only picture that way, if that makes sense (it does to me).

    - I like your idea of the 'Stop' songs, btw - would be a good tribute.


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