Anne Jolis

Bored bores boring – critics love the Dull Men’s calendar

The Telegraph has a nice photo gallery featuring the specimens of the 2015 Dull Men of Great Britain calendar, which our own Dot Wordsworth plans to give her husband for Christmas:

‘I had thought that dull, in reference to people, was a metaphor from dull in the sense of ‘unshiny’. ‘Dieu de batailles!’ as the Constable of France in Henry V exclaims of the English, ‘where have they this mettle?/ Is not their climate foggy, raw and dull?’ But I was quite wrong, as so often. It started off (in the form dol) meaning ‘foolish’. In English almost as old as you could care to have it, the author of The Seafarer declares: Dol bith se the him his dryhten ne ondrædeth; cymeth him se death unthinged. ‘Foolish is he who fears not his Lord; to him unreconciled comes death.’ I like unthinged, as I do, in a different way, Jeremy Hunt the Health Secretary’s underdoctored, despite its connotations of understrapping.’

Dot goes on to note the villages of Dull, Perthshire and Boring, Oregon, before issuing the sound advice:

‘Those who dare to be dull have the most interesting time.’

So it is with the Dull Men calendar, whose subjects range from a traffic-cone collector to the founder of the Apostrophe Protection Society (God bless you, Mr October). Then again, your correspondent’s delight with the collection may just be the latest example of a truism attributed to American writer Harold Rosenberg:

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