Il cane innocente, Il giovane Montalbano, e mi sento male

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In ‘my life as a Hanna Barbera cartoon, the dog known as Ms Roberta “Poppet” Bobs stole my sausages the other day while I was answering the door.

piccolo cane innocente

Other dogs have a good line in looking guilty even if it’s just that they are skilled actors, but Pops just looked at the plate in my hand, hypnotised by her own pleasure, while I was telling her off, transparently thinking “Those were good, are there any more?”

She understands when it is in her interest to do so. Ten used to talk about perambulating the animal, but I think she’s sussed that one out, so it’s lucky I’ve become entrenched in The Young Montalbano so now we have a spot of Italian to spice up our linguistic feints.

I have tried watching Montalbano before, with The Snack Thief which I found slow and boring, and not about sausages at all. Whether it is the young handsome actor in the prequel or to do with the writing or the directing I don’t know, but whatever the reason or cunning combination thereof, I am really enjoying this series. I now believe I should be living in Sicily, and a quick glance at the weather forecasts tell me that I am right.

What is less appealing is that the town which plays Vigàta is apparently notorious for crimes against dogs, and for there being a lot of street dogs, for want of a pound. I saw a picture when I looked it up for daydreaming purposes which would curdle your blood. So, mixed reviews, there.

***

In other not unrelated news, I have been abed for a lot of the week. Ten’s been away so I’ve had to do what I’ve had to do, but I’ve rather run aground and today he is doing everything and I am most grateful. While I am unfaithful to him with Salvo he is dealing with the piccolo cane and the shopping and so on. I am so very sluggish and have been absolutely tanking the triptans. I only hope that today’s turn of the full moon sees off this current malaise, because I’m at a terribly low ebb, unable to get on with the writing project, and generally feeling crappy. So, sorry for lack of posts, but this is the reality of life in the hermitage right now.

What is nice is that Ellis has invited me to Have A Word again in March. Lets hope that I am well enough to write something by then… There’s another thing on, in April, again in Brighton, which is probably going to be called END OF, perhaps with some other words appended. It was only cooked up a couple of nights ago by Julie Burchill, and is going to be a fund raiser for a domestic violence charity. The spots are only 3-5 minutes, and I think perhaps it’s not for me, but I am glad to be in on it, it’s a great project. However, I also intend to get up to Scotland in the in just springtime, and I dare say I will need to be realistic about the wellness to travel ratio that I can cope with outside of the high days of June – August. I really do need to work out how to get somewhere warmer for a bit.

Delft II

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Lisa works in Ikea arranging things, taking photos of her arrangements, and then sending the images around the world so that Ikeas everywhere can better display their bits and bobs. This is obviously part developed skill and part tidybrain syndrome (this is what I have called it, do you like it Lisa? Or is there a better, less pathological sounding term you’d prefer?)

Either way, when I saw my brother had stacked the washing up thusly I asked if this was Lisa’s influence, and he said “No, Richard Serra.” He then explained that you didn’t need sheet metal to do home made Serras. Try it yourself! You might like it!

sorry, not serra

***

When we went out for brunch I was going to have the apple and bacon pancake again – it WAS good. However, I saw the little crown stuck in this and decided to challenge my monomania.

“Most Delicious” – says Alex

Here it is in English, in case you don’t read Dutch.

“I told you it was delicious!” – says Alex

Unlike a lot of food compared to the picture in the menu (there’s a whole tumblr dedicated to this topic, and it makes for dismal reading/viewing) I thought that this was not only well presented but was so easily scarfed that I couldn’t say it wasn’t nice. But the flag was disappointing, and also it wasn’t a bacon and apple pancake, which was sad.

fly the flag!

In other Delft related news, I thought this cheese shop protesteth too much. And I don’t see any of the so – called “MORE” they speak of. (Although we didn’t go inside, so it could have been packed to the gunwales with ‘more’.)

cheese, for sure

nameless famous squinty church

And I leave you with the squinty church. Doubtless it has a name, and it’s definitely famous.

Down the Sofa of Memory, an Unhappy Birthday, and ALL THE PRESENTS

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Good morrow, my friends! It has been some time since my last confession/blog post due to the rolling migraine situation here at l’hermitage. Which is annoying, because I have so much to tell you about, and I’m sure lots of BRILLIANT ideas will have been lost down the sofa of my piss poor memory. Obviously, I have been doing very little, but I have been thinking a lottle about what I want to do for Have A Word in October… It’s in a proper theatre so there’s the opportunity for projections, props, what have you. It’s nice to consider all these things before probably opting to write something down then, er, read it out.

Never mind! Lets live for today and search the camera for the yesterdays…

First of all, there’s a little catch up from foreign travels before they become too old timey to comment on. It was hard to edit down all the stuff from Paris, and this is a shot I didn’t take until I was already home. It’s from the ‘in flight’ magazine they give you on Eurostar. Well, I don’t think they mean you to take them, but at least I took a whole one, whereas the woman next to me tore pages out, which may or may not have been disappointing for the next traveller. These magazines are kind of meh. But there were a couple of things I wanted to refer to. Here’s one about what the French call a Brazilian.

ticket de metro

What you may need to know is that the Paris Metro ticket’s metallic strip is rather more elegant than the London Tube’s. Not judging, mind. Don’t have one for you to see because modern travellers on the Tube use Oyster cards which don’t have a strip. They have a COMPUTER which is sending INFORMATION about you to the GOVERNMENT (this sentence is dedicated to Amy’s Dad. Click on the side bar and look at virtually any Lucy’s Football post and you’ll see what I mean.) Pictured is the back of a Metro ticket, which I have kept, in the spirit of throwing a coin in a fountain, as a promise of return. Though without genital waxing, thankingyou.

My other thing from down the back of the sofa of time is this little rig featuring a mozzie repellent from Spain. What you may not know is that European plugs are different from UK ones, although, confusingly, we do use adaptors for electric shavers though not much else, so I had one lying around. But it goes uppy downy so I had to find an adaptor that would make it go sidey ways.

con fused

We were eaten ALIVE every night by mozzies and it was only on the eve of the last night that we thought of buying a repellent. This one is basically just citronelle presumably gently warmed up – seems to work here just fine, which is good because we do get the odd mozzie on the Tottenham Costa and I’ve never seen these gizmos on sale. Damned if I was going to leave it behind, though I did miss a trick leaving the garlic. Frankly, it didn’t take me long to wish I had thrown out all my clothes and just stuffed my suitcase with garlic and cheese.

***

Then there was my birthday. Being a monday, and last year having been a proper celebration, perhaps it was always going to be a non event at best, so things were surprisingly festive when Angie Nutt turned up with her balloons on birthday eve…

squeaky bouquet. note ten’s hand ready to restrain poppet from any inquiring bites

On the day lots of people sent me good wishes on the interwebs, and I even got some actual cards, and in the case of the Kirsties presents. One baked good being a hat, and one being a knitted pie.

the pie in question being a fairly accurate rendition of a mason’s pie, traditionally to be found in a scottish chip shop. my mum and her sister used to take them to the swimming pool and put them on the pipes for afterwards, calling them a ‘shivery bite’

the day started off well enough, with strawberries and cream for second breakfast. that’s last year’s present from phillip renshaw in the frame.

However, this perkiness did not last. I got a call from a friend who I chatted happily enough with for a bit, but then he started telling me what I “should” be doing about disability benefits and what I “should” be doing for myself. He meant well, but I started really spiralling while he was talking to me, and ended up saying that I couldn’t cope with the conversation and hanging up. I then went into the bedroom and had a proper howling cry, something which I know flares migraine, but which, for once, I indulged. A visit in the afternoon from Hazel and BJ who bore cake barely lifted me from the gutter, however, and what was worse was that the next morning I woke with the cold toad of depression squatting on my chest.

i saw this in the river and thought it summarised the downfall of my birthday rather well

Lets all sing along with Morrissey…

***

One nice thing that has happened is that I requested a CSI Helsingborg t shirt from my friend Mark whose band it is (of course it’s a BAND, did you think the POLIS are likely to give away their merch?) AND he sent me not one but TWO!

merch from sweden. i am well connected

Naturally, I had to attempt to take a slightly POLIS type photo – but in my half baked style you will just have to imagine a police badge instead of a camera, and while you’re at it de-domesticate the background, oh, and flip reverse the photo so you can read the T shirt. Thanks.

not photoshopped


HEY, YOU, GET OFFA MY CLOUD!

Not to be outdone, Poppet has been acquiring presents, too. Neighbour Paul let her have his dear departed doggy’s toys. Buster had clearly kept his presents nice, but you can see in the picture that Poppet has made a start on ripping the face off one of these already…

not the face!

And lastly in Tales of the Riverbank, we had squatted moorings! Yes. All the excitement here on the Ferry Lane Estate. Obviously, Poppet had to go have a little investigate and made friends with them, and I ended up giving one of them a pair of flip flops. I guessed her shoe size – 5 1/2 – which might sound weird, but that is also my size, so no, I am not about to reveal a foot fetish or a past working in a shoe shop.

squat – tastic

So, that will have to do in the way of a catch up. In the meantime, if that’s still not enough, here’s a tumblr collection for your further edification “elaine4queen.tumblr.com/day/2013/7/05

Illumination, Amusement and a Connection between Depression and the Immune System

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The British Library Digital Catalogue Of Illuminated Manuscripts is now open for business. Interface is a little stark, so here’s their human friendly introduction to the archive.

just ripping the heads off devils, with you in a mo

And if that’s not enough excitement for you for one day I’ve found you another video ou un person anglais parler en francais;

Oui. C’est Eddie Izzard.

***

Et bien, What else is new? Well, I went to see our friend Giles yesterday.

yep, still brainy

He handily untangled the bullshit from the truth about what was likely to happen at the NHS headache clinic for me, and he says that the neuro I had seen was wrong to say I’d have to come off preventative pain killers. He also said it was far better to abuse triptans than codeine from the point of view of botox treatment, because triptan overusers responded really well to the botox while the codeine users responded markedly less so.

AND! mes amis! he offered to give me my next go round for free if I would go to a training thing and talk to the docs who are learning how to give the botox. Possibly even docs who might subsequently treat me… He also said something quite interesting which was that in the deregulation of health services being offered treatment in eight months time was outwith the legal time frame, and that I might be able to get my own doc to commission him to treat me instead of the headache clinic at the neuro hospital. This would be advantageous for a couple of reasons; 1 – organ grinder rather than monkey, 2 – he goes ‘off piste’ with the botox and will also do areas other than those mapped out, so if you get referred pain from a particular part of your head, neck or even shoulders he will inject in extra places, 3 – after initially being intimidated by him I now really like him and also think he is FUNNY.

***

This morning I read an article called Thoughts About Depression From Under the Sheets by one @scicurious.
It’s worth clicking through to if you are interested in links between the immune system and depression. If this research gets some air time it could really revolutionize the way that depression is treated. It would be seen as an illness and not a condition, and people like me who get pain won’t be told that it is ‘psychosomatic’.

If I could Upload a Language by Bluetooth

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012
If you could instantly know any language in the world, which one would it be?

I’d really like to know any of the languages I pretend to speak. And if I could have an implant that would upload knowledge by bluetooth or something, then languages would be my first purchase. On a practical level I’d go for ramping up the french or german, or maybe spanish, because SPAIN!!!!

in andalucia people don’t keep dogs as pets, but they might just have a horse loitering in their garden

It might be an idea to learn polish because Ten is half polish, but my feeling is that if we ever go there he can communicate most of the stuff and I can indulge in my usual mime and pointing routine. Theoretically any languages that uses these characters is just a question of bothering to learn. What confounds me is greek and arabic and chinese. If I was paying top dollar for a language implant I’d probably go for something cuneform. I’d very much like to go to Istambul, so turkish would be quite high on the want list.

Realistically, though, I am more likely to spend time somewhere nearer home. And spanish has become a top three language, so probably that. It might not be too shabby to be able to go back to Andalucia and be able to do something other than be a 9ft blonde gonk doing mimes.

Here is a funny video. I’ts by an italian comic  Adriano Celentano for the Italian TV programme Mileluci.

Prisecolinensinenciousol, a parody by is sung entirely in gibberish designed to sound like American English.

In Which I Speak All the Languages

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Monday, November 26, 2012
Do you speak more than one language?  How did you learn the additional languages?

When I was a teenager I hitch hiked to Italy and Spain. I was a typical shy kid – I found the challenge of foreign language totally intimidating and I only remember having one conversation on either of those trips, and that was while my friend was asleep, talking french with an Italian. We were both speaking in a second language so both spoke very slowly and simply. I enjoyed it a lot, but it didn’t really encourage me – I thought that real language acquisition would be too difficult ever to manage properly.

Fast forward to a couple of years ago. A friend suggested we go to Spain for a holiday. She could speak some spanish but was rather shy. I crowdsourced on Facebook, and came up with a fail-safe lexicon;

bano (bathroom).

I figured that if I remembered that one word I could happily mime everything else. This resulted in me doing a lot of the ‘talking’. My shyness long gone, I felt that if I didn’t have to mime going to the toilet, then what was to worry about? I enjoyed my ‘conversations’ and felt rather proud of myself. I did pick up jamón because after pointing at enough breakfasts I liked the look of it seemed that saying ‘ham’ was enough to get you the good local grub.

Like everyone in the UK I believe I have some apprehension of american english. We get enough US telly, americans visit here, what’s not to know? Imagine my shock when I first arrived at New York’s airport. I got my passport out and stood in line. When it was my turn the immigration guy said “alakyahatt”. Well, I was quite intimidated – a man in uniform saying something unintelligible to me at immigration, this couldn’t be good news, could it?

This was when I discovered I had an inner Julie Andrews. I said “I beg your pardon?”

“alakyahatt”

(speaking louder and slower – this is what brits do to foreigners) “I’m terribly sorry? Could you repeat that?” (becoming increasingly panicky)

i’m terribly sorry?

This went on for what must have been seconds but I experienced it somewhat differently.

“Oh! You like my HAT! Thank you!”

Well, that was me, as you lot say “schooled”.

Since then I have come to realize that not only does one not know american dialect just from watching TV and films, but also there are key linguistic differences which must be adhered to if you want to communicate. Unless you want to resort to mime.

***

A few years ago I went to Berlin to have an operation. I went on my own, and I relied entirely on german learned over one year, I think it was, at school. Given the fact that I had perfected the art of staring out of the window and imagining survival strategies in the event of an apocalypse. This was inspired by and helped along by BBC’s Survivors. The 70′s original was remade recently so any mini-me people would be well catered for even if there weren’t a glut of such programming. We now know not only what to do and what not to do in the event of a pandemic, but also what to do if everyone gets all undead on us. Excellent.

As an added bonus I know someone in the modern version, so I can say “Look at friend! Isn’t s/he clever!” as well as gleaning survival tips.

Anyway, back to the german. What I have learned from my interest in the english language is that while english is made up of hundreds of languages the vast bulk of it comes from german and french. This is from when toffs spoke french and peasants spoke german. Hence bœuf (on the table, you see) becomes BEEF, while cow, in the field is kuh. What happened, therefore, was that I could speak a fair amount of “german” but was left stranded when I needed a word I didn’t know but which in english is french in origin.

I enjoyed butchering german, and when the taxi driver dropped me off at the airport I said Auf Wiedersehen. Germans seem to like to pretend they don’t know any english, but they watch a lot of the same telly as we do, though most of it is dubbed, but pop songs aren’t.

He replied “So long!”

***

I hadn’t been to France since hitching through as a teenager when my brother and I went with my dad on a trip to see the relics and graves at the Somme. My dad wasn’t being a history buff, he believed he might see the grave of his uncle who had been killed in WW1. This was never going to happen, since the kind of war that that was ensured that everyone and everything got mashed in together. Indeed, two raised areas of ground were known at the time as “Sausage and Mash” and not because that’s where you’d get a hearty meal.

Anyway, talking of hearty meals, we may have eaten the worst meal in France that night, so by the time we were let loose in a small town for lunch my brother and I were grimly determined to eat something nice. The tour guide opted for a liquid lunch, and it seemed everyone else was joining them. We had a look round and there was nothing open – it was a sunday. We spotted, however, an hotel, which seemed to be starting to seat people. While the french would be spending the afternoon eating we had less than an hour. This required advanced french – in short, this required begging.

Happily, french is the one language I can speak in sentences in, and can hooch together make-like phrases well enough to be understood. Considering children in the UK started learning french in primary school, you’d think this would be perfectly a perfectly reasonable thing, but let me tell you, as much as the french don’t want to learn english, we resist learning french, and I was speaking like a HERO.

I looked at the menu and chose what I wanted and my brother and dad agreed to have the same. I asked the waitress if we could have it within an hour and she was totally scandalized and said “Non”. She conceded that we could have the main course but nothing else. I agreed. Then something magical happend – between her and the chef some quick work was turned around and she excitedly announced that we had time for starters before our main. Wonderful! Heaped with gratitude she dashed off and brought us starters. As soon as we’d finished those the mains arrived, and towards the end of the meal, she told us that we would have time for dessert as well.

Our feast was only marred by one thing. Since I do not cook rabbit I do rather like to have it if it’s on a menu. Our mains comprised of rabbit in prune sauce. My dad asked what we were eating and I told him. He balefully told us that his stepfather had killed his pet rabbit during the war.

I bet it was delicious.

***

And finally! I do not speak any Scanwedgian language, but like the rest of the UK I have lapped up Wallander in swedish with subs, The Killing, in danish, Borgen in swedish and danish, and recently I have enjoyed Lilyhammer in english and norwegian. I’ve also seen many nordic films over the years. Although there are plenty english loan words in use there is also something else going on. I would never have thought that spending my formative years in Scotland would have been of much use to me apart from giving me a rather crisp classless accent, but I was wrong. Dear reader, there are quite a few words and expressions which these languages share with lowland scots. It is very exciting to the ear.

It is also useful to have lowland scots for Scrabble and Words With Friends.

A Day Out with My Brain

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To the trains!

Today was a most intrepid day. I had Bowen lady followed by a neurology appointment.

to the trains!

Ten came with me, because, you know, traveling. The first half of the day was easy enough, but by the time we’d done it all I needed serious supervision to get home.

I’d wondered what he was going to do for the hour I was having the Bowen treatment, but I needn’t have worried, he’d already hooked himself up for a hang out. Turns out he has a friend who runs an arty bookshop just round the corner. We were a bit early so I got to meet her. She was very nice and advised me about selling my signed Damien Hirst book, which might be worth a bob or two.

I’d thought we should eat in Bethnal Green, but I felt too nervous, and wanted to be as near the hospital as possible in case of EVENTS and being late and everything. I am hardly ever late for anything. I get too nervous. Then I am stupidly early and have to hang around.

So it was a happy thing that Ten remembered the cafe at the Mary Ward Centre, where I taught once upon a time, so we went there because it couldn’t really be nearer the hospital without sitting in it’s lap.

***

This hospital is the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery so you’d think all the doctors there would be pretty fancy. But no! It turns out my doctor was “only” a neurologist, and I would have to go to the extra super fancy Headache Clinic there to get the botox, but get it I very well may – ON THE NHS  no less. And at £600 every three months to get it privately  it’s rather worth the wait to get it free. Eight months waiting list to see them, she reckoned. But she also told me some useful stuff to do in the meantime which would mean I wouldn’t have to mess around having more appointments than strictly necessary before getting the good stuff (assuming they see fit to give it me).

Whereas our good friend Giles Elrington at the National Migraine Clinic (very worth the name drop as it turns out) will give you botox, if he sees fit, whatever drugs you are taking, this clinic want you to be off as much as possible, and will even have you in to get you off your drugs, so assiduous are they.

remember giles? he does as he sees fit. you can tell, can’t you?

Now, it has never been suggested that I come off the preventative pain killer I take (naproxen) before, but this is what she says they would want me to do. She also said I should go up on my mood stabilizer – this being a project I had put on hold for the winter because every time I go up a dose I have at least a week of ricochet headaches before it settles down, possibly because it has an effect on hormones, so these may be ‘period migraines’ of sorts.

See, the migraine clinic is a private charity – hence the cost, and also hence I could get the botox treatment before it was available on the NHS in London. So what I am thinking is that if i get Dr Elrington to hit me up with the good shit for one more time then I can a) feel a bit better at a time of the year when I traditionally start going on the skids pain wise, and b) get a kick start on the drug withdrawl.

I have done drug withdrawl many times, and I do know not to go cold turkey, but even so, it’s a hard thing to do when not all your pain is rebound pain. Because, dur, you are going to have ALL THE PAIN and it will be bad and it will continue. So having something to leven that with will be most welcome and certainly worth £600.

***
Addendum

Just as an aside, really, I have to tell you I was super nervous about seeing the neuro. Doctors have a lot of power, and I’d never met her before, so I was worried about that, and also because my brain isn’t what it might be, and because I have had this for so very long, I certainly can’t remember all the drugs I have tried. Anyway it was all fine, she was kind. And impressed with my name dropping (thanks, Giles, for being so very name droppable).

As we approached the hospital I started feeling a little hysterical. I started wanting to shout “TAKE MY BRAIN OUT!”

When we got to reception there was a man working there with a huge bulging forehead.

einstein’s brain. thank goodness someone had the foresight to steal it! (click through for more einstein’s brain goodness)

I found myself having a kind of tourettish urge to shout about his massive frontal lobe. My internal head shouting continued after that at various intervals (I never gave in to it – I have SUCH restraint) up to and including when the neuro lady said that under some circumstance or other I would have “less” headaches.

Gentle reader, it took all my strength not to shout “FEWER”.

i may be fancy, but i am not really POSH

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NOW. some time ago our amy  from lucy’s football said that i had a posh voice.

we had been sharing snippets of spoken word with each other and i made a body scan meditation. you can hear it here, and judge for yourself if i sound posh, though i really think i am mainly speaking slowly. i agreed that i did sound fairly BBC (what used to be more commonly known as ‘RP’, or received pronunciation) and i also relented, after some back and forth, and allowed her to say i sounded ‘fancy’ since it is reasonable that someone from ABROAD might very well sound fancy, even if they don’t sound terribly fancy to their neighbours. and ‘sounding fancy’ has no resonance here the way that ‘posh’ does.

in reality, the neutral accent, which used to be taught to the offspring of the rich at their ‘fancy’ schools and actors at theirs, and is still the lingua franca of news broadcasting but not acting, and posh families, but i don’t know about schools, can also come of being somewhat displaced as a person. my own accent is the product of having been brought up by two parents who had both had elocution lessons as children, as well as having been brought up partly in england and partly in scotland. elocution lessons were common enough, back in the day, but nobody has them now, that i know of. my mother had the lessons because my grandmother was quite actively posh, and she didn’t want her to sound coarse. it is still true that no matter that lowland scots is not slang per se it is still not a language to ‘get on in the world’ with. my dad had the lessons because of a stammer.

earlier in the week i read this new yorker article with much pleasure. among the gems to be found is this short table of U and non – U terms.

U \Non-U

Expensive \Costly
False Teeth \Dentures
Pregnant \Expecting
House (a lovely)  \Home (a lovely)
What? \Pardon?
Napkin \Serviette
Awful smell \Unpleasant odor
Rich \Wealthy
Curtains \Drapes

‘U and non-U’ was, and still is, to some extent, a measure of whether something was ‘upper class’ or not. you can see more on the wikipedia page about it, where there is a longer list, so even more fun to be had.

i seriously doubt if anyone in the uk actually says ‘drapes’ but then, i don’t really know anyone socially aspirational. because, you see, this is not a rich/poor divide thing, this is a rich/aspirational divide thing. it’s how you spot an interloper. the first list is entirely congruent with working class parlance, but not necessarily middle class. d’you see?

so, now you know. and did you know this? that POSH stands for Port Out, Starboard Home? it may be an acronym, or it may be a backronym – which is the same as an acronym, except that the words are fitted around the letters. the truth is lost in time, you can see as good an explanation as any here.

anyway, lets go through the rest of the little sample list.

costly. does anyone anywhere say “costly”? maybe it was a thing in the early 50′s? i am not sure anyone says it. i would say “expensive”. often with the prefix “bloody”.

i’m with the ‘non U’ on dentures. but not having falsies i don’t know what i would call them if i had them in my life on a daily basis. probably just “my teeth”.

expecting. well, it’s alright i suppose, but very oblique. like a lot of the ‘non U’ words. i don’t really see what is wrong with “pregnant”. or indeed GOINGTOHAVEAPERSONCOMEOUTOFHERVAGINAFFS!!

i would only say “lovely home” if i was parodying a tv show or something. “so and so, and their lovely home” or, as david sedaris mocks, in his fabulous tale our perfect summer  “my home, well! one of my homes…”

i would neither say “what?” nor “pardon?” if i didn’t hear someone properly. i would say “i’m sorry?” so i don’t know what that makes me, and i would say “napkin” if the thing was cloth and “serviette” if it was paper.

i identify with “awful smell” more than “unpleasant odor” but would probably go with “good god, what’s that STINK!” in reality. or “can you SMELL something?” if i was trying to be polite.

“rich” is good for most purposes. with the prefix “stinking”. or “rolling in it”. “wealthy”, again, perhaps has a use in parody. although, it does seem reasonable to call a self made rich american “wealthy”.

the actors are coming!

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quick question. is it just me noticing something that always goes on or is there really a bit of a british invasion on american screens?

so, we all know about hugh laurie, both sides of the pond. english actor impresses all with his grasp of american english as house. we’re all on the same page with this, right? old news. see, the thing is that i don’t have a tv, and haven’t had one for a few years now. this means that i see some things from the US that haven’t been on tv in the uk and i don’t see any of the magazine style tv shows that fill up the schedules, so i don’t know what ‘we’ know about. this puts me rather on the back foot as a tv reviewer, but bear with me.

hugh laurie talks slang with ellen

what i want to talk about is what seems to me to be a thing. you might be able to tell me whether it is a thing or not. it’s just something that seems to be happening more and more. maybe i am wrong, but is there some sort of english invasion on the screens of the US?

with laurie/house it could be seen as a one off. and then there was ian mcshane as al swearengen in deadwood. he plays a character originally from england and has a rather cut and shut accent which works. for UK viewers it was less that he was in an american show that was the big deal and much, much more that someone who had played a long running middle of the road show here - lovejoy – could actually act. coincidentally, deadwood was also the beginning of my addiction to the style of watching enabled by the box set. i watched all of season one with my brother over a few days at christmas one year. we ate, we took a sofa each, and we watched deadwood. a perfect festive season.

so, this brings me to the wire. and a definite shift – two english actors, both playing americans. HOWEVER – i can’t remember if i knew idris elba was a hackney boy before watching, but i certainly had no idea who dominic west was.

mcnulty (west) and stringer bell (elba)

imagine my shock when i saw him in the hour.

dominic west in the hour.

it was quite good, i wasn’t crazy about it. but it was very strange seeing mcnulty toff up. if you like mad men then you might like this, too.

and if you haven’t heard idris elba sporting his real accent, i can verify that his accent in luther is authentic. i loved luther. very watchable. if you like crime drama it’s a treat.

idris elba – luther

so, this was when i started thinking that there was something going on with our actorly exports – two major parts in the wire being played IN AMERICAN by brits? interesting.

then something else happened – homeland came onto UK tv. ANOTHER two actors, both playing americans. being me, i didn’t recognize damian lewis as being from here, and in any case he has played american before (band of brothers for example) and is one of those english actors who speaks in RP (recieved pronunciaton) or, as it is now more commonly recognized ‘BBC english’, which makes ‘doing accents’ rather unsurprising since those that have it tend to use it as a baseline from which to deviate.

damian lewis talks about homeland

david harewood from homeland - as himself. not the strongest brummie accent, but it’s there.

so then i started thinking – what about women in all this? alex kingston comes immediately to mind. in ER she keeps her english accent. she is also pretty high profile here, having been a major character  in dr who.

it’s not as if british actors are new in town, after all, charlie chaplin and stan laurel were brits. but what i am wondering is, is being an actress really that far behind being an actor? are women uncle tomming it like james mason who played his englishness as either ‘englishman as villain’ or ‘english accent as german nazi’? what do you think? i mean, i am very much NOT  an expert. i barely know who actors are. i wouldn’t even be able to name these actors if it weren’t for wikipedia. so maybe i have it all wrong?

ETA thanks to kirsty for pointing me to this post where people seem to be mainly complaining that british actresses are playing american parts. you can’t please ‘em all.

colouring books and crayons – indoors on a rainy day

Standard

rainy days are not as frequent as you might think. i notice this because i take the dog out, and she really dislikes rain. a lot. staffies do, i know one who refuses to go out in the rain and his owner begs him just to go out and pee.

a proper rainy day is about staying in and making things. to that end, gentle reader, i have collated some rainy day images on tumblr for you to look at. elaine4queen.tumblr.com/day/2012/04/18


Nina Leen

hmm, so i’ve just noticed that tumblr do their dates year/month/day which is a really good compromise between the uk day/month/year and the us month/day/year because the month and day look the same as they always do to american eyes and the whole thing can be simply read backwards by a brit. mind you, it could be that i am unusual in finding this comfortable – as a left handed person i spent my life before computers leafing through magazines and books from the back to the front. it must affect your brain. your basic cognition must get rewired, d’you think?