Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

One Man's Spelling Is Another Man's Blunder

While reading a news feature on Pitchfork this morning, I came across a word that I've rarely seen in print over the last twenty-five years:
An A-Z of Franz Ferdinand is Helen Chase's searing exposé of the seamy underbelly of the Scottish angle-rockers, a Kitty Kelly-style autobiography that digs up every last speck of dirt on the perpetually scandal-ridden, drug-addled renegades.

Sike! Remember, folks, this is a band whose frontman wrote a book about food. Still, there's plenty to learn about Alex and the lads from the tome. According to, Chase's A-Z features a series of thematic vignettes and never-before-seen photos, which should school even the biggest Franz Ferdi-fan (yep, went there). Chase conducted a series of lengthy interviews and did extensive research for A-Z, which seeks to serve as a definitive guide to the band's first five years. And beyond, apparently: the author dishes with the dudes about their elusive forthcoming third LP.
Or, rather, I came across what I take to be a word I've rarely seen in print over the last twenty-five years. Given the context, I'm assuming that the writer Paul Thompson means the idiomatic expression that my African-American friends taught me in my fish-out-of-pond purgatory in the sixth grade at Kettering Elementary. But whenever any of us wrote it, we always spelled it -- or at least tried to spell it -- with the letter P: "Psych!" That derivation made sense to me at the time and still makes sense to me today, because it indicates a relationship with all the words with a "psych-" prefix and therefore suggests that the speaker has been messing with the mind of his addressee. For the life of me, I can't think of an equivalent justification for "Sike!", but perhaps I'm just short on ingenuity at the present moment.
Tags: autobiography, language
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