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February 12, 2016

Some time ago I was doing an odd day’s part-time admin work in the Open University Regional Office in London when a student phoned up to complain about the brusque manner of her tutor. I did my best to soothe the student’s feelings; afterwards I discussed the matter with a colleague, who said, “Oh yes, (name redacted) is a bit of a Marmite tutor.”

A Marmite tutor. That is, you either love her or hate her. It was the first time I’d heard the expression, but since then I’ve heard it used quite a few times about various things: films, bands, TV programmes, politicians… anything or anyone that divides opinion, in short. It’s based of course on the Marmite slogan, “You either love it or you hate it.” A neat expression; the only problem is I don’t think that slogan is true. I don’t love or hate Marmite. I just think it’s quite nice. I have it on toast about once a fortnight. That’s it.

By the way, le marmite is French for cooking pot – did everyone know that?

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