We Brummies have got it tough – and before you start, let’s set one thing straight we are from Birmingham not ‘Birminum’. Before moving away for university, I was quite content with my accent (well, as content as you can be), I never felt the need to think about the way I pronounced words before I said it. Well, things soon changed back in first year, when I moved into halls with a bunch of parrots. As I would strike a conversation up with a stranger, I could see the look of frustration paint their faces, “not another Brummie”, they thought. I didn’t see the problem myself; until it was brought to my attention that no-one could understand a word I was saying. “Oh great, here we go”, I thought to myself – I had far from prepared myself for this.
It didn’t take long for the awful attempts of the Brummie accents to crawl out of the woodwork. If I collected a pound for every time I was asked to say ‘like chips and gravy’ I would be a millionaire – but I didn’t and I’m not, instead I am just left with a load of northerners and southerners sounding like a crowd of seagulls feebly attempting to imitate me, chanting “loike chips n grayve”. I don’t know what it is, but people seem to have this strange idea that people from Birmingham eat chips and gravy – I’ve lived in Birmingham nearly twenty years and it’s the first I’ve heard of it.
Just when I thought it had all died down, Benefits Street airs – benefitting everything other than Birmingham. I’m just going to clear some things up before any more Brummies get harmed. No, I do not live on James Turner Street, surprisingly no, I don’t have any connections with white Dee and funnily enough not every person in Birmingham is on benefits. Yet, believe it or not, it’s the people who have never been to Birmingham or seen it other than on the map who are jumping on this bandwagon – don’t knock it till you try it like.
If that isn’t bad enough, we’ve got Gavin from Auto glass giving his tuppence worth – this is always a popular one “He’s from Wolverhampton, that’s where you live ain’t it?” – I just want to face palm myself when this happens. I wouldn’t mind but people from Wolverhampton or ‘Wolv’amton’ do not even sound like Brummies – never mind the fact there is twenty miles between them.
After this slow and steady explanation, I often get asked what part of Birmingham I am from, when I reply “Solihull”, people often go quiet and reply “Oh. You mustn’t be as stupid as you sound then, you must be a bit of a snob” or “Do you have a mansion and horses?” I just laugh at their stupidity – and they call us the dumb ones. For the record, I don’t live in a mansion or own horses, but just because I pronounce my words a little bit slower and a little bit longer than necessary doesn’t mean I am any less intelligent than the rest, I worked myself the same way all the rest of you did to get into university, so why the hell should my accent have anything to do with it?
Rant Over – just leave us Brummies be!!