Men and women, no swearing please

Brian Clough
Brian Clough
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Andrew Stafford

Trap Lane, Bents Green, Sheffield, S11

I have attended a number of events in the city organised under the "Off the Shelf" banner over the last few days. 

I have found them to be both enjoyable as well as surprising.

The guest speakers I heard all had books to promote, which they did.

However they spent more time giving out their life stories, both public and private.

This was very useful in that the audience was able to see behind the masks that most of us tend to live behind.

What was particularly noteworthy was that many of the guests did use what I would have to call bad language regularly during their talks.

As this is a literary festival I did find this to be rather out of place.

Similarly when what could be termed difficult questions were posed by some members of the audience, these were met by murmurs of annoyance by "fans".

This gives rise to the question of whether such gatherings are solely for supporters of the invited guests to massage the egos of the stars, or are the, as I believe, a forum for debate.

My favourite talk was given by crime writer Val McDermid who gave an enthralling account of how she has perfected her craft.

I will be attending future literary festivals, but could I quote the words of the late football manager Brian Clough who erected a sign at his ground that said "Gentlemen, No Swearing Please".

Of course these days I would obviously need to alter the wording to "men and women" rather than gentlemen!