Hyperbole is great isn’t it?
No, it’s better than great; it’s bloody fantastic. It’s the best thing ever. Words cannot describe how good it is: it’s the best thing since sliced bread. It’s better than sex.
Hyperbole is a very useful rhetorical tool. By exaggerating and amplifying your message it can help people to see your point of view. It can help to win people to your side of an argument.
But taken too far hyperbole can make you look a bit silly.
No, I’m not talking about one of Donald Trump’s speeches; my thoughts are closer to home.
What raised my eyebrow was an argument put forward in the debate over a 24 hour licence application for Sedoo’s Corner Shop in London Road, Gloucester.
I’d heard the argument put forward some time ago, but it came back into my consciousness last week when Sedoo’s application was refused.
I have no issue with the application being refused, I’m sure there were sound reasons. There were concerns about anti-social behaviour and, apparently, they have breached their current licence applications on a number of occasions. Fair enough.
What I thought was taking things a little far – stretching credibility with its hyperbole – was the fear that “London Road could become an entertainment hub like Eastgate Street”.
For those of you unfamiliar with our fair city, allow me to unpick this statement.
Eastgate Street is locally known the ‘Eastgate Strip’ or ‘Glos Vegas’.
It provides a home to Gloucester’s only two night clubs. The street is lined with ‘disco bars’ such as Butlers, Fever and Bar H2O, pumping out loud music and questionable drinks to their target clientele of 18-24 year olds. Most of the rest of the street is taken up with the sort of fast food outlets which only look appealing very late at night after ill-advised amounts of alcohol.
By contrast, London Road has two pubs: The York House and England’s Glory. They are right at the far end of the street some distance from the town centre (and Sedoo’s). They may have the odd karaoke night or disco, but generally they are regular pubs. I think the York House may actually be closed at the moment.
At the other end of London Road you have a few pubs such as the Northend Vaults and Imperial, and Kingsholm is a bit of a walk away with some more pubs, but these are all also regular pubs. They rely far more on trade from the rugby ground than they do young revellers.
So I can only imagine the conversation that may have taken place in university and college campuses across the city if Sedoo’s licence had been granted:
“So are we going out partying Saturday night then? Let’s hit the Eastgate Strip, get wasted and get off with someone at Liquid.”
Their friend rolls their eyes in a patronising manner: “You’re so out of touch – we’re off to Sedoo’s”
“Cool, is that a new club?”
“No, stupid, it’s the corner shop in London Road.”
“Really? Does it have music?”
“Well, he has his radio on sometimes. And the flickering light above the counter is almost as good as strobe lighting”
“Okay… are there at least girls/ blokes (delete as appropriate)?”
“Yes, there are usually a few popping in for a packet of fags or a pint of milk”
“It doesn’t sound that great; why are we going there?”
“Well they now sell cheap cans of booze 24 hours a day”
“Oh, why didn’t you say – let’s go party!”