Thursday, 18 February 2016

Dialects. Use them - or lose them.

Th'all 'ave to forgive me Lanky dialect today.  Tha' knows I'm a sandgrown 'un wi' watter in me boots but lately, I've bin a bit of a clothead, forgettin' me Lanky roots. I was fair havin' kittens about writin' t'blog terday but t'penny dropped yesterday, 'bout heawf an hour after I got 'ome. I was spittin' feathers and dyin' fer a reet gradely cup a tae by't time I geet 'indoers, tha knows.  I'd been at the crem' seeing off a fellow poet and Grand Lancashire lad and it were fair bucketin' down.  I looked like a dreawned rat.  Anyway, I put wood in'th'ole and it suddenly dawned on me, that I am a native Lanky speaker an' all.

Enough of that for now.  Don't want to lose you all. I need to explain.  I was born in Blackpool, the daughter of a publican, who moved us first to St Helen's when I was four and a year later to the outskirts of Liverpool where we lived until I was eleven. I had developed a soft, scouse accent by then but as any true city born Liverpudlian would tell you, with rising intonation and a rolled 'r', 'Maghull is in the country!"  Unfortunately, arriving back in Blackpool to attend Elmslie Girls Grammar School, with any degree of Liverpool accent was never going to win me house points. The emphasis on the 'ck' in 'Blackpool' went down like a French kiss at a family reunion. 

To add to the 'scouse' twang, Dad had taken a pub in a small village and most of the locals used a lot of Lancashire dialect.  Expressions rolled out of them like a foreign language. 'It'll be reet' or 'es in'th elbow room', would send me in to fits of laughter. The girls in the kitchen and a couple of the bar staff spoke in this strange dialect and I thought it was hilarious.  My two older brothers called them, 'woolly backs.'

In the village was a small, 'sells everything' shop.  They had the most clutter I had ever seen in my life. The owner, Mary Smith was a Lancashire dialect poet and was also the proud holder of the title, 'Worst Singer in The World', for several years running. Mary posted some of her poems on the shop door.  I recall one that was intended to stop people dropping litter, although I doubt that anyone reading it would really get the message. So here I was, a sort of Liverpool girl, living in a Lancashire village, attending a posh girl's school where only 'received pronunciation' would do. The solution.  Electrocution lessons: Worked a treat! 

The poem this week was commissioned by The Imperial Hotel, Blackpool, for a pamphlet entitled, Visitors in Verse.' It is a work to celebrate some of the many famous characters who have stayed in the hotel. There is a George Formby convention here every year.  So here's a tribute from a Lanky Lass to a very cheeky Lanky Lad.

Ooh Mother It’s George Formby

A cheeky little chappie,
‘A Lad fra’ Lancasheer’,
Strummed his banjolele,
Buck-toothed for ear to ear.  

Leaning on a lamp-post,
A little lady walking by,
A beauty known as Beryl.
By ‘eck she caught his eye.  

She became his missus
And managed his career,
He was soon the Nation’s favourite,
The ‘Chaplin over ‘ere.’ 

He made a good few movies,
Some at Ealing studios,
Singing ‘bout what he could see
When he was cleaning windows.  

With his little stick of Blackpool rock,
He said he liked to stroll,
Along the promenade,
‘Cause he was such a happy soul.

And when the wind was bracin’
He was often heard to say
To anybody listenin’
As he went on his way.  

“Turned out nice again then, hasn’t it?” 
Thanks for reading.  Adele




Steve Rowland said...

Splendid blog, Adele. I laughed out loud at "Electrocution lessons" - but then my resistance is low at the moment :-)

Annie Walton said...

Aawh! that made me think so much about my Dad ! Thanks Adele xxxx
And it was on the way to Stan's "Send Off" that I pointed out to Anthony the house that George Formby lived in.
He was my Dad's favourite singer..... my Mum's was Mario it takes a strong imagination to understand how they ever got together in the first place.
Dad was broad Lanky and loved daft stories and witty ditties and would boast that I could sing Barefoot Days and Albert and the Lion ( as he called it ) at three years old.
Mum read poetry to us and was proud that I could sing the Mass in Latin and solo in Church by eight years of age..... oh I do miss them.
Any rowad al be off now ive getten me corsets soakin int bucket an av is tae to mek.
Sithee luv xxxx