Don’t be an idiot: it’s Meat Loaf, two words. But my friends call me Meat


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The New York Times, which once referred to the eminent Sex Pistols as “Mr Rotten” and “Mr Vicious”, would no doubt call him Mr Loaf. But for the rest of us, it’s Meat Loaf. Two words. And don’t you forget it.

To take the words right out of his mouth: “When I see my name spelt with one word, I want to slap and choke people. If you do that, you got to be a moron. It’s on every poster, every album and every ticket as two words. If you spell it as one, you’re an idiot.”

Despite this warning, lots of people still get it wrong, as OK! magazine did in September:

Saturday Kitchen fans express shock and concern for Meatloaf’s health on the show: ‘He doesn’t sound very well’
Saturday Kitchen fans have taken to Twitter to express their shock and concern for the show’s guest Meatloaf.

Had he been feeling a bit better, Meat Loaf would no doubt have been round to OK! to slap and choke people like – oh, I don’t know, a bat out of hell …

That fine publication the Guardian style guide (full disclosure: I used to work there) includes this succinct advice:

Meat Loaf
doesn’t sing


Meatloaf, above: not exactly a real dead ringer for Meat Loaf, below


There are quite a number of music-related entries in the Guardian guide. The decision to rock things up a bit, so to speak, followed the barrage of criticism the paper received from younger readers for all but ignoring the death of Kurt Cobain, of whom many Guardian journalists had never heard, in 1994. (They hadn’t heard of Jeff Buckley, either, but I felt very confident about putting his death three years later on the front page.) Anyway, here are a few of my favourites:

awopbopaloobop alopbamboom
from Little Richard’s Tutti Frutti (1955), a recording that has been described as “the sound of the birth of rock’n’roll”

band names
Try to include diacritical marks if bands use them in their name, no matter how absurd: Maxïmo Park, Mötley Crüe, Motörhead, etc

Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci
“the most ridiculous crap name we could think of”, according to the band

Germanic tribe that invaded the Roman empire
Sisters of Mercy fans who invaded the Shepherd’s Bush Empire

The Guardian had, and perhaps still has, a reputation for typos and other mistakes; to its credit, it was the first British newspaper to actually admit making them, and employ a readers’ editor to correct them. Anyway, here are a couple of gems.

An interview with the Irish singer Gavin Friday included this quote: “And those hip-hop guys, they all have about 10 managers and 10 assistants, all with the black berets.” On reflection, the writer realised that he had misheard and what he should have written was: “And those hip-hop guys, they all have about 10 managers and 10 assistants, all with the BlackBerrys.”

Even better, just a few weeks later:

Our panel listing the expected highlights at Glastonbury this summer catapulted into the festival’s headliners a band not so much obscure as unknown, even to those expert in Judaic contributions to rock (Taking the stage: Sunday, 15 April, page 3). The group Frightened Rabbi should have been the Scottish band Frightened Rabbit.

And here they are, with a title that feels somehow appropriate for a post about journalism.

Last modified: January 23, 2017

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