The question I was asked most often when I was in the US was: “Is that an accent?”. To which the answer of course is … “no”. One of the weird things about the US is that, perhaps because of its size and relative importance in the world at the moment, it can be quite inward-looking. So while people in the UK are familiar with the States through television, film and the news, there are many Americans who will stare at a poor alien Brit with an utter lack of comprehension. So consider the bulk of today’s weblog entry to be a light-hearted attempt to slap some sense into our American cousins. Your honour, I here present evidence to this effect..
Written by an American for other Americans, this site manages to explain why one shouldn’t ask to see an Englishman’s pants more closely. It doesn’t quite explain why Americans can’t manage to do an English accent without using the word “Wot?”, nor does it explain why almost all English actors in the US have to use bizarre fake intonations so that people understand that they are not American (take a bow Jane Leeves and Spike and Druscilla from Buffy).
- The American’s guide to speaking British
A testament to America’s complete inability to understand that other countries speak differently from them and yet do not sound any more ridiculous than they do themselves. Look – I have a passion for the US – but I have to make a stand! We do not all sound like Bert from Mary Poppins (nor for that matter are we all evil megalomaniacs). And anyway, we get really cool down to earth words like bollocks, wanker and shag where you have balls, jerk and screw. I mean – really!
- The Stolen White Elephant
Even Mark Twain is in on the act. Please feel free to laugh with me at his: “You say flahsk, and bahsket, and jackahss; we say ‘flask,’ ‘basket,’ ‘jackass,’ — sounding the a as it is in ‘tallow,’ ‘fallow,’ and so on” – because if the poor Englishman (being bashed around by his boorish compartment colleague) had had been given the slightest say, he may very well have replied: “Actually, you poor uneducated hick, you say flairssk, and bairskit and jeckairss; we say ‘flask,’ basket,’ *$%”^%$£,’ — and while we are at it, could you be so kind as to take your cowboy boots off the seat, stop chewing that tobacco quite so noisily, and try to stop your president shagging the interns…” (In those days English people were more polite than they are today).
DISCLAIMER: The above piece of writing is meant to be taken in a light-hearted fashion…
A little announcement regarding the Nexus. The site should be operational again by the weekend (no promises, but I’ll see what I can do), but in the meantime there is a temporary alternative at onelist: TemporaryNexus.
In case anyone hadn’t guessed from the bible quote last night, I went to see Magnolia. Katy, Evil Nick and I didn’t really know what to expect from it. I’m still reeling from it today. The acting was all of the highest standard, the script was well written and, while the removal of twenty minutes might have sharpened it up a bit, basically it was certainly professional and original stuff. And yet I am still not completely convinced by it. The weirdest thing for me was that they actually put an intermission in it, which amazed me. I’d be interested to know if they did that in the US as well. Could anyone enlighten me? [Enlighten Tom]
A couple of brief bits of news on the flat front – Kate and I went to see a place in Kentish Town yesterday which was pretty impressive – large open rooms, a conservatory, garden, garage and balcony for only £330 a week. A wonderful place. I am a little wavering because it pushes my rent up quite considerably, although I don’t think I’ll see another place as good for a while. All we have to do is shunt Manuela around it and hope she likes it. At the same time, Evil Nick’s flatmate has moved out a week early, leaving a place to sleep comfortably and privately (and on a bed no less) for a full week. So all in all, pretty good news.