Sunday, 29 May 2011

Skills four life

So I got his 'Skills 4 Life' leaflet and knew I should do something about it. Hell she would walk out on me if I didn't. But I 'd picked up this book in Oxfam and I fancied sitting down with it and a spliff for a while. There was plenty of time after all.

One spliff led to another and I was gone. I mean real gone. I mean up there in the Milky Way gone. I mean I could almost taste the cosmos if it had a taste gone and why was there a curious smell of vinegar in the air?

I must have passed out. Either that or I was hallucinating but the blow wasn't that good surely?
- Steve?
- (Oh fuck!) Barbie!
- Steve you're out of your fucking head again and don't smile at me like a god damn Tellytubbie!
- (Fuck, fuck, fuck) ...Ah sorry.
- Sorry? No bloody way!I don't suppose... No don't bullshit me, you haven't?
- Haven't what?
- Well if you don't know then of course you bloody haven't
- Oh fuck
- Fuck doesn't come anywhere near it

She stormed out. I slumped back in the armchair. Fuck I was crying. Weird.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

There's theology for you

Inspirational Rush Hour Choir session last night with Carla. We were working on a pop song called ‘Imagine me’ and she joked about the drama in the song at varies points whilst getting us to express it. But I felt the pain involved in my guts and wanted to cry (that’s typical of me!) I remember listening to the Scottish band the Proclaimers singing ‘In my heart Lord, I want to be a Christian’ from the song ‘I want to be a Christian’ and wondering whether they were being ironic as no white English group would sing that way and not sound naff (think Cliff Richard for example!). However, they are Scottish and mean it. Then I think of how Neil of the Pets sings. He writes very poignant lyrics that work on several levels e.g. ‘I get along without you very well’ which is about someone in denial about a broken up love affair but it is also a song about Blair and Mandelson etc. And Neil’s voice has a languid somewhat detached quality – it’s so damn English. He often signs tongue in cheek but also meaning it at the same time so it becomes OK to be ambivalent. But basically Neil loves pop and being clever and postmodern. Me too.

And then there Al Bowlly that wonderful pre Second World War singer. He once said that when he got a new song he would carefully read through the lyrics and try and get the emotions behind the words and then sing with those feelings in mind. There is such an unEnglish tenderness about his singing which is no surprise as he wasn’t English! Try this link

So I guess I am still just a big kid inside and that’s Ok by me but I am also a grown up and horrified by many grown up ways, I sure wish we could live better, I try and fail and end up blaming our Creator – we may aspire to being angels but we are sadly designed all too human. There’s theology for you! (Try saying that phrase with a Welsh accent)

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Accentuate the positive

People sometimes think I come from Birmingham as they hear traces of my West Midlands accent from time to time – when I am tired, emotional, drunk or all 3. But I am not Brummie, indeed to suggest I am is a bit of an insult (well a lot actually), even though my maternal grand father was a Brummie. I hail from Kidderminster a small town in Worcestershire. However, when I hear a Brummie accent or hear a Wolverhampton accent or Coventry I feel at home! And I can distinguish between these accents and mine and West Worcestershire too.

At school one of my Latin teachers (yes that was 1960s Grammar School for you!) referred to the local accent we all used as being a ‘linguistic cesspool’. Thankfully my other Latin teacher was fascinated by it and talked composing a book of Kidderminster-ese.

So for example I (along with other denizens from Kidderminster) find I don’t distinguish in my speech between ‘pint’ as in pint of beer and ‘point’ as in Aston Villa just won 3 points for a victory over Man U (in my dreams). I also pronounce ‘bus’ in a strange way rather like ‘buzz’ I think, so my eldest son born on the York/Lancs border did not understand me when i said 'Bus'. I also use ‘borrow’ when I mean ‘lend’ as in ‘borrow me a quid’. What I don’t do that Brummies do do is end sentences with just – as in ‘I’ll see you just’ I love that.

I have learnt to speak more posh especially with policemen and other authority figures and know the research that says you are less likely to get a job with a Brummie accent and since most people can’t distinguish my accent from Brummie…. But this dropping of my accent was part of getting educated and part of leaving my small home town behind which was warm and smothering. So I love my freer life and I miss that damn community. So you can take this boy out of a small town but you can't take the small town out of this boy! And of course the bit of Msnchetser I live in kind of functions as a small town. Almost.