Tuesday, 22 July 2008

The 'C' Word

Some shudder at the sound of it, whilst others have become immune to its ability to offend, as it becomes a part of everyday vocabulary. As hugely enjoyable as my first year as a Northerner has been, I've increasingly felt the shadow of the 'c' word looming over me.

With some amusement, my fellow University of Leeds students and I had guffawed at the omnipresence of the word in our first term, be it on the campus or student clothing of Leeds Metropolitan. However, its inescapability has worn the novelty thin. We are now wary to tread anywhere in the city, in the fear that we are likely to be faced with the dreaded lexeme.

It's not big, and it's not clever but, everywhere one turns, it's Carnegie.

I'll be living within a two-minute walk of Headingley Carnegie next year, home to the Leeds Carnegie rugby union team and the Yorkshire Carnegie one-day cricket side. Women's football in the area clearly felt as if they were missing out, as Leeds United Ladies have morphed into Leeds Carnegie.

The word's presence is felt in non-sporting circles too, with the 'leading experts in childhood obesity' (fat camp, in other words) going by the name of Carnegie Weight Management. More alarming still was my encounter with the word at the Latitude music festival, as the obscenity was plastered across the shirts of the event's volunteers. Despite being in the deepest, most eastwardly Suffolk forests, in what I thought was a world away from the 'c' word's northern monopoly, I was Carnegie-confronted.

With such a rapidly increasing level of public exposure, the 'c' word can no longer be considered taboo. Whether you're looking to lose weight, watch sport or sip some lovely Aspall cider to the dulcet tones of Joanna Newsom, it seems that none of this can be done without the looming influence of that dirty word, Carnegie.

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