Dear Cathy and Claire, what’s wun to do?
SITTING in a jam-packed 1,076-seater theatre waiting for the show to begin, I noticed Mr F was busy counting heads. The ‘man-tally’ was only 14, he told me, and that included him and his brother.
This was not too surprising, as the outnumbered pair had accompanied us (me and a female friend) to see Jackie – the Musical, at the Wycombe Swan.
Based on the girls’ magazine popular in the 1960s and 1970s, the show was a snapshot of a young girl’s life then. Jolly and occasionally poignant, it was also startlingly innocent.
If there were any younger women in the audience they may have been fascinated to see what life was like before sexting replaced love letters and pornography was a furtive look in a top-shelf magazine in the local newsagent. Even the dance routines, choreographed by Arlene Phillips, were authentic, as in those fab decades she would have been making the Pan’s People-type moves herself.
Mr F and F2 enjoyed the excellent show, much to their surprise, but drew the line at joining in with hundreds of arm-waving females singing Donny Osmond’s Puppy Love.
It was quite stuffy in the theatre, and one woman suggested to me (in the inevitably long toilet queue during the interval) that it was probably all the hot flushes generating heat for free. I do hope the management were grateful.
Talking of the 1970s, my early teaching days in Greenford were in that decade and when I arrived fresh from Birmingham I had more of an accent. People can’t always detect it now, but Mr F says he still hears it in certain words like one (WUN), almonds (AL-MUNDS) or trough (TRUFF).
A linguistics lecturer at Manchester University said there is now prejudice against staff with regional accents and his study, ‘exposed a culture of linguistic prejudice.’
There is a respect and tolerance for diversity in society, yet accents do not seem to get this treatment, said Dr Alex Baratta,
I never felt that. My only problem was remembering to say plimsolls instead of pumps and crumpets instead of pikelets.
As we are now such a melting pot of dialects and language, I was surprised recently when a man asked where I hailed from originally, as he detected a slightly different accent.
Particularly as he was Polish!