Whether polar or recessionary, you can be sure they’re extremely unpleasant
Ah well, I suppose in these fractious times that we must take our comforts where we can find them – and so we must look to Italy and the prognostications of my favourite hyperbolic economic commentator, who never fails to cheer, with his dazzling and fresh lexicon of doom and chaos. Last week was no exception. As the country slides into recession, he thundered about a “recessionary vortex” that has “metastasised” over the past two months, while a former chief economist at the Italian treasury offers the terrifying warning that the country is “entering a self-defeating loop of negative growth”. (I’m not certain if a self-defeating loop is the same as a doom loop, but I’m pretty sure they must be related.) Further, “the downturn is tightening the noose on their non-performing loans”, while the pay-off – “Italy’s debt trajectory can quickly go parabolic” – conjures a suitably apocalyptic vision of a country deeper into the doo-doo than even this benighted isle.
And so, almost inevitably, to the weather. While much of America suffers perishingly cold conditions thanks to the polar vortex (and if I were in charge, I would ban snow – filthy, worthless stuff), what do we get from the BBC forecasters but: “A quick heads up about the weather today.” Please, can we agree to proscribe the poxy phrase “heads up”, with all its ghastly PR/advertising/marketing overtones? And can we also chuck into the great big bin marked “redundant phrases” “spits and spots of rain” and “mist and murk”. I know we are obsessed with the weather, but these infantile phrases mean nothing.
Anyway, back to the not so dolce vita. As I say, we must take our comforts where we can.
• Jonathan Bouquet is an Observer columnist