Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Traditional watch - the street version

The misuse of the word "traditional" isn't limited to the beer world. Elsewhere it's also used with the very vague meaning of "sometime in the last few hundred years".

I was shocked to hear it used in this particular context: a BBC TV report about replacing the street lights in Sheffield. The reporter said that LED lights were going to replace the traditional orange street lights.

Traditional? Street lights can be traditional? Wouldn't a traditional street light be a gas one?

It's probably my age that makes me baulk at this usage. Because I can remember those sodium lamps appearing. I can even remember the very first time I encountered them. It was in Sunderland, probably about 1968 or 1969. They were introduced even later than that in Newark. Not much more than 40 years ago.

Here's a phiosophical question. How long does a practice or an object have to have been around before it becomes traditional?


Oblivious said...

A good example is Christmas dinner, there has been approximately on been only 150 of the traditional dinner yet its now see as the norn ;)

Reppation or a passage of time is all it appears ot newd

Martyn Cornell said...

'Trick or treat" in the US is no more than 70 years old, and in the UK no more than 40.

Sodium lights - ugh. Up to the 1970s, Stevenage, where I lived, had no sodium lights, and coming up the A1(M) from the south at night you would suddenly see, as you crested the hill near Knebworth House, a field of stars over to the right, which was the street light display. Then the council changed to orange sodium lights and the effect was utterly lost.

Rob said...

Anything done twice is a tradition.

jan said...

once it is old enough to be beautiful, its traditional. (variation on an architecture law that is.(