The Guardian (Letters to the Editor)


Occasional Writings
February 9, 2005

Dear Sir,

While Jimmy White’s name-change as part of HP Sauce’s sponsorship of snooker is terrific, it does represent a missed opportunity, though there may still be time to correct this (“Brown is the new White in saucy promotion” February 9th).

Given that many of us had our first experiences of reading French by being on the other side of the table from the English version of the HP Sauce bottle, they might have considered using the song about the “Chapel in the valley” by the French a capella group Les Compagnons de la Chanson, with its constant refrain of “little Jimmy Brown”. They might even have used the real (and great) Jimmy Brown, former cor anglais soloist with the English Chamber Orchestra, to play it himself, as he did at the opening of a cello concerto I wrote some ten years ago.

But most usefully, perhaps, they might have used the occasion to solve snooker’s greatest linguistic challenge by entering into snooker’s rule book some term such as “browned-off” or “HP-ed”, thereby finding a single term for the annoying circumlocution “,,,,,,,, is left requiring snookers”.

Gavin Bryars

Gavin Bryars