Not in a million years could anyone accuse me of being “on trend” (old dogs, new tricks, etc) and sometimes I’m eternally grateful for being decidedly out of step. Take last week, for example. There I was, happily browsing the papers when I read the following headline: “Denims, logos and lasagne: what Gen Z deems ‘cheugy’ now”. Gen Z I get, but cheugy? I’m all for new words but... Bewildered, I read on. According to the New York Times, it’s an insult Gen Zers use to describe millennials who are now “off trend”.
Oh dear, you are in your late 20s or 30s and already you’re being sneered at by the pipsqueaks coming along behind you. (By the way, it’s pronounced with a hard G, should you ever feel the need to utter it.) Apparently, we have a Los Angeles software developer called Gaby Rasson to thank for its coinage and it is much beloved by TikTok users. I think that’s all I really need to know.
Equally bewildering is the art world. One of this year’s finalists for the Turner prize is a pair of artists who go by the name of Cooking Sections, whose recent work includes “a sound, light and sculpture installation at Tate Britain in 2020 reflecting on salmon farming, as well as an ongoing installation-performance in the Isle of Skye which sees an underwater oyster table turn into a community dining space at low tide”. It instantly took me back to my art history tutor at college who said: “Never read the catalogues - they’re always written by idiots. Just look at the bloody pictures! Much more important.” Sage words, indeed.
As for Radio 4 presenter Evan Davis last week: “We’ll be listening across to Boris Johnson” (who was giving a press conference). That’s about as vile a construction as I’ve heard. Hang your head in shame, Davis.
• Jonathan Bouquet is an Observer columnist