The other day I was compared to the character J.P from the series Fresh Meat. The character is the upper-class arsehole in the misfit student gang and played by comedian Jack Whitehall. This comparison, coming from someone I consider my closest friend, landed a little bit below the belt. It’s ironic even considering that I grew up in a working-class neighbourhood made up of council flats, and people who used to sell pirate copy DVDs at the pub, before Kodi came along and put them all out of business.
Thinking about it, my southern accent became more pronounced when I moved to the north made even more obvious by when people first met me in Fresher’s Week, I was asked to simply speak. To my surprise my drunk flatmates around the table would shout: ‘Oh my God, it’s like Harry Potter!’. The novelty wore off quickly like anything like that when I couldn’t return to my normal ways of dropping T’s and G’s on the ends of my words. Just listening to my northern friend when she came to visit my house in the south was amusing as she became very northern – Coronation Street northern.
It begs the question on whether actors over-do the British accent in the US. Perhaps people like James Corden, who perhaps would never had drunk a cup of tea before became an ‘avid’ tea drinker as soon as he got his own state-side chat sow. I’m not sure how he could have in all honesty – even if it does defeat my point -, I was only in New York for four days and ‘path’ became ‘side-walk’ for much longer than I care to admit.
While microscopic in scale, perhaps it’s a simplistic view of inbred nationalistic zeal in all of us. That strange pride in our place of origin that we become far more self-aware of when we’re not there. Personally, I hate the city I grew up in but strangely, while I’m away from it, I’ve never spoken as highly about it. It’s when I think about this, I actually understand the mentality of the football hooligan who pisses up a wall in France in the name of England and St. George. I don’t condone it unfortunately; my fair city was full of people like that. Yet if I can feel some pride about a place I hate and weirdly personify that in my bloody accent, maybe in a larger sense patriotism and nationalism is a subconscious function. Obviously, this is based on no evidence at all other than my own accidental growing snobbery saying ‘b-ah-th’ instead of ‘b-a-th’.