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MINDMATTERS.

Byline: Aled Blake

THERE'S nothing nice about being described as, well,

Steve Dub No, nice has lost whatever charm it presumably first had when it was coined, it's been overused by a nation not wanting to ever get too emotional about things.

in Carmarthen I was once described by someone, and I'll be honest here, with whom I shared a mutual dislike and distrust as "nice" - although I think that's because she'd heard other people mentioning that I was OK so thought it best to join in the average plaudits.

And in recent months I've been admonished and reproached for my overuse of the word - but it's because when you can think of nothing else to say, there's always nice to fall back on. It's like a linguistical comfort blanket, the lazy way out of saying anything at all.

Then the other day, I saw this column summarised as "nice".

Now, all two readers of Mind Matters (hi Mum, hi Dad), would likely balk at the idea of this being "nice" writing - I know I did when I saw it. In fact, I'd rather someone tell me it's the most dreadful stuff they've ever had the displeasure of reading - plenty do - than to discover it's merely nice.

Seeing my work being called nice was a dagger through the creative heart.

But the death knell for nice came this week when, showing off my new pounds 19 state-of-the-art digital watch, it was heartbreakingly described to me as simply nice. I mean, what the hell? This is not any old so-called nice watch. It's amazing - it tells the time in all of the world's major time zones, it has a stop watch and countdown timer, makes futuristic beeping noises when you press its buttons and such like.

It even has five alarms, if you are the sort of uber-busy person who needs more than the one to wake you up in the morning.

So it's not nice, its qualities are far more dynamic than that.

It's cool, it's impressive, it's astonishing, it's bedazzling, it's beautiful, it's handsome, it's useful; it's all these things and more - most of all, it is the antithesis of nice.

The problem is that nice has long become a byword for boring.

Stuff that's nice, isn't good, isn't bad, it's just nice. It's middle-of-the-road, average, nothing special, it's a shrug of the shoulders sort of thing to say about the world and often comes with a "but" suffixed to it.

For example: "Yeah, I've heard that Aled Blake is nice, but his column's a bit rubbish isn't it?" Nice people are never the winners in life, it's never enough to get ahead in this tough old world by being nice.

Time for nice to become moribund? Yes please, that'll do nicely.
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 1, 2012
Words:463
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