[ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON 28TH JANUARY 2010 BY RED C MAGAZINE]
When I was growing up in a quiet little town in the south of England, I was always jealous of people with accents. Wouldn’t it be wonderful, I thought, to be able to ask for jellied eels, or a sausage barm, without sounding like a ponce. Wouldn’t it be bloody brilliant if the sound of my voice alone communicated a deep-rooted link to the precise location of my upbringing.
I do, of course, have vocal indicators that identify me as southern English. Many can even place my accent in the south east. But am I from Basildon or from Basingstoke; from Berkshire or from Kent? My part-BBC, part-Estuary English style of speech gives few pointers to a precise location. The fact is, millions of people across a large part of the country speak in much the same boring way as I do. My voice is a poor compass. It’s hardly surprising, then, that I dreamt of having a real accent. Continue reading