Our students are getting ready for Kim's party. For Abel, this means changing
his t-shirt. He's not into dressing up, especially in kinky stuff associated with
the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and he can't afford to anyway.
As Kim dresses up as Frank N. Furter, she reflects on the difference between
today and yesterday. Yesterday, she was in a smart suit impressing industrial
sponsors with her talk about the role of engineering in environmental
improvement. It was very successful; there were no wrong past participles and
her passion for the subject shone through her well-prepared talk. She will
probably get sponsorship to do a PhD. Today, she will be the centre of attention
again – in the role of a mad scientist from the planet Transsexual. She looks at
the apostrophe on a stick and decides to take it with her to the film and the
party. It will go with the whip. She has promised the police and her friends not
to be quite so expressive in correcting people in future, but these are just
Barbara has a lot to think about: outrageous costume, make-up, props for
the film (she's taking toast, rice, and a newspaper), the bag with Kim's birth-
day presents. And, most importantly, she has her list of put downs for grammar
snobs. She spent half the night with Derek making this up. They can be seen in
Unlike the rest of the book, this chapter is more about the soap opera than the points of grammar. Its main function is to tidy up some loose ends. If you want to know more about Barbara's put downs, check them in the Glossary, the internet and other grammar books. The main point about them is that they contain examples of what they are talking about: she's showing she knows the 'correct' version but is trying to suggest that the snob is being unnecessarily fussy.
What Kingsley Amis (see Bibliography) said is the opposite of 'berk' is too rude for this book, so you'll have to look it up somewhere else.