February 12, 2014 by AK

Tom Wolfe uses his trademark expression “loamy loans” twice in The Bonfire of the Vanities and A Man in Full, and three times in I Am Charlotte Simmons. I have not yet read his fourth novel, “Back to Blood”, but it would be incomplete without this Wolfean mannerism. By the way, loam comes in different colors, including white. “[S]outh of the village is a deep white loam, lying upon a chalk and clay, extending to Landwade hedge,” writes William Gooch in General View of the Agriculture of the County of Cambridge (1811).

Boris Johnson has used “loamy” in a more direct context but to a comical effect – probably intended since he was parodying his opponents’ arguments:

In their mad denunciations of fracking, the Greens and the eco-warriors betray the mindset of people who cannot bear a piece of unadulterated good news. Beware this new technology, they wail. Do not tamper with the corsets of Gaia! Don’t probe her loamy undergarments with so much as a finger — or else the goddess of the earth will erupt with seismic revenge. Dig out this shale gas, they warn, and our water will be poisoned and our children will be stunted and our cattle will be victims of terrible intestinal explosions.

I’m with the Lord Mayor on this for all his shortcomings, stylistic promiscuity and unsavory affiliations.


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