Listen to Kerre McIvor on Newstalk ZB, 12pm to 4pm weekdays and read her column in the Herald on Sunday.

The first time I said the F-word, I truly thought I would be struck down dead.

I was 15 years old and I can remember exactly where I was - in the common room at boarding school.

I don't think I was particularly cross or annoyed - I think it was more of an experiment to see whether or not some sins were punishable by death upon immediate committal.

And once you've done it once, like most sins, it's so much easier to do again.


The F-word used to be powerful for its shock value - now it's ubiquitous. You hear it on the telly - crikey, thanks to The Sopranos, you can even hear the C-word on TV - you hear it in music, you hear it at bus stops.

So I was a little surprised to read that a woman has been evicted for using the F-word.

Her landlord decided that her use of the swear word - which came about after her landlord left a gate to the property open, causing her dog to run out on the road - was disturbing and not normal behaviour.

Vrnda Torckler said she didn't normally swear and it wasn't directed at anyone in particular - she was just worried about her dog and her inability to control the situation.

Not good enough for landlord Vincent Calzone who, in an interview with the Herald, used a number of swear words - although no F-bombs.

He wants her gone as her language, he says, is symptomatic of a personality type he doesn't want in the house.

His house, his rules I suppose - and I wouldn't want to stay in a house where my landlord was so obviously eccentric, shall we say.

I get that some people don't like swear words - my own mother has ruined perfectly good jokes by refusing to swear.

But I love language with all its refinement and all its vulgarity. Words in all their fabulous glory are wonderful. Evanescent. Curmudgeonly. Petrichor.

And yes, the F-word. It's just so complete. Why do you think its one of the first words toddlers pick up - to the horror of their parents?

The "uck" sound is just so satisfying.

And sometimes the F-word is the "mot juste". Absolutely the only word that will do.

If you don't like to hear it, I sympathise and I absolutely moderate my language among those who I know detest swearing.

Perhaps people could take to wearing badges that let the rest of us - with a wide-ranging and less filtered lexicon - limit ourselves to G-rated conversations around them.