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My Accent

America. Land of freedom and opportunity … right? And now to me : new music.

Coming back on the plane last week, I got chatting to the guy next to me who I just assumed was American, because .. well, he sounded it! Turned out though that he was an English chap that had just been living in Alabama for so long, that he’d adopted the local accent – sort of.

He told me that when he goes home, all his friends and family think that he sounds completely American (as I did), but whilst in the ‘states he still doesn’t sound quite American enough to pass as a local, rather he’s the “Strange english guy that still sounds sort of British”.

So … is this what is destined to happen to me?
A halfway morph between a pure British accent and an American-English one, where I sound native to no one anymore. And it got me wondering – would I detect it happening to myself, or would I think that I just sounded the same all the time? How would I be able to tell? And then I came up with an obvious idea …

Music it at the key of it (natch) and it came to me the other day off the back of still being pissed off about the whole map mashing incident. I felt that all my blogging time was being consumed by something which I would have rather have not got wrapped up in. Instead I wanted to mention to you all how marvelous I thought the All-American Rejects “Move along” was. How The Feelings “Sewn”, was already in my personal Top 5 tunes of the year, and how .. I realise now that moving to a new country is going to bring a whole host of new music to my ears.

The Drive 100.5 FMIt happened twice last week whilst in Charleston for just six days. And I don’t even go looking for it – cool new tunes just seem to present themselves to me. Leigh & I were driving around downtown listening to The Drive 100.5 (“Where it’s all about the music“) when a tune comes on in the background.

I’m not really paying attention – until that point comes where somehow my brain tunes into the fact that I do really like it – and I want to know what it is. But do they announce it? Do they bollocks – they play an REM track before, and a Counting Crows track after which they back anno – but not the song inbetween! So I’m thinking “Get to a computer, find the website, get their phone number and call them up and ask them what they just played!”.

So we drop into an office where we know some people in town, jump on the ‘net and rather marvelously instead discover that on their home page they show the last ten tracks that they’ve played – so need to call them.

It turns out to be a really old track by the Primitive Radio Gods, called “Standing outside a phonebooth” – with a blissed and chilled out vibe which fitted my mood perfectly then and since I’ve got back – 36 plays and counting.

The next day though it happened again! I’m shopping in Urban Outfitters, and they start playing a jaunty little electro-pop girly band sounding number with a heavy production edge. It sounds like a cross between Garbage and Goldfrapp. I wander up to the counter, chat to the assistant and it turns out to be the rather marvelous LadyTron, and a track called “All the way”. I get back that evening, fire up ye olde iTunes and download a bunch of tracks off their album. Sorted. 19 plays and counting.

And so here’s the plan … (along with several other iBlogUSA orientated ideas that I’ve got in mind) – is to do a fortnightly audioblog/podcast, where not only do I get to vocally wax lyrical about new choons I’ve discovered, but over a lengthy period of time, we can all get to hear whether I’m losing my charming British accent, and turning into a red neck southern hick! We can have a ‘Accent-o-meter’ and everything. Or perhaps “Rate my accent”. Hell, I’ve started designing graphics for it already …

Rate My Accent

And whilst on Geoff’s recommended hot tunes, I’d just like to point out that as mentioned back here Gnarls Barkley and “Crazy” is tipped to go into the UK charts tonight at No.1 – a feat made more remarkable by the fact that you can’t buy it on CD single yet – it’s going to be the first time a song has made top slot in the charts purely on download sales.

30 responses to “My Accent”

  1. Mark says:

    Having lived in Australia for 10 years I get the same problem, a lot of Australians can detect my English accent but English people hear my Australian accent. I also find that I notice the English accent a lot more now as well :o)

  2. I was wandering around a tacky souvenir shop on the pierhead in San Francisco when I heard Ladytron’s “Playgirl” for the first time. Not that I had a clue what it was at the time, just that I loved it. A bit of careful Googling followed, and it’s not been off my mp3 player since.

    I wonder whether Americans who visit us ever take any of our music home with them?

  3. geofftech says:

    Well we managed to export James Blunt pretty successfully to them. Can’t believe they haven’t picked up on Chico yet though…

  4. Anthony says:

    Chico is an absolute atrocity. As is James “Shut up you whining” Blunt!

  5. stroppycow says:

    With time the accent gets harder to place but a residual bit remains forever. You might like this site http://accent.gmu.edu/ and you could even submit a sample.

  6. Fimb says:

    Also been playing The Feelings Sewn an awful lot. I like the guys voice alot.. kinda quirky something about it. Think I have now overplayed it though!!

  7. Rob(Geoff's brother-in-law) says:

    If I met aliens….which no doubt you will after moving to South Park(I mean Charleston, sorry), & they said to me “show us someone born under the sigh of Leo…” I’d show them YOU.
    Anyone reading this blog, with even a passing interest in astrology, will surely know what I mean…..!

  8. The Divine Mrs M says:

    Ooh – 50p Man. Glad you like The Feeling my (cough) favourite band that I (cough) bombarded you with when you (cough hadn’t heard of them before when you (cough) came for supper and I (cough) offered you my spare ticket to come and see them at the Brixton Academy which you (cough) declined….changed your mind then?

    Anyhoo – any joy on the pretzel front?!

    (must get some…cough…mixture)

  9. Chris says:

    And Gnarls Barkley did indeed make it to number one!

  10. pixeldiva says:

    Well, I’ve been down here for four and a half years now, and I haven’t entirely lost my accent… so while you’ll pick up words and inflections here and there, you’ll still retain your core Englishness, don’t worry 🙂

  11. geofftech says:

    #7 – Didn’t anyone ever tell you Bob that Father Christmas, the Tooth Fairy, and ‘Aliens from another planet’ don’t actually exist?

    #8 – And that’s a bad *cough* you’ve got there Mrs M … 😉

  12. Mikey says:

    Top tunes of the year…*creates new smartplaylist*
    Don’t you just love itunes 🙂

  13. Rob(Geoff's brother-in-law) says:

    #11…Yeah, they did Geoff – & then I had Kids…..& now they exist again!

  14. Dave says:

    Did I misunderstand – or did I miss the anouncement that you are moving to the USA? That’s a pretty major event to pass by without a blog entry!

  15. Chz says:

    Three and a half years having gone the opposite way and my accent’s barely changed at all. My vocabulary has, mind you. You get odd looks in a Toronto pub asking where the loo is. 🙂

    To go along with dg’s experience, I first heard Ladytron off internet radio station Soma-FM – based in San Francisco as well.

  16. Love the sound of podcast, always good to hear some new music. Was amused that you travelled all the way to the U.S to discover two English bands, Ladytron, and Manchesters The Feeling 🙂
    Chuffed that Gnarls made it to No.1, although the downside is I’m sick of hearing it now after being slightly obsessed with it last year.

  17. The Divine Mrs M says:

    #16 – The Feeling are a Sussex/London band 🙂

  18. geofftech says:

    #13 – Rob, I think you’ve also missed the gag here – Are you not aware of sites such as http://www.ratemykitten.com, http://www.ratemyface.com, http://www.ratemypicture.com, and not forgetting http://www.ratemypoo.com ?

    #14 – Dave. Umm… Yes! Honestly. Do I not drop enough hints around here? Do I really need to be more direct?

    #16 – I already knew of The Feeling before I left, I was just to busy having fun & games with TFL to be abel to rave about it. Ladytron I did discover ‘stateside though – and rather good they are too. Yay!

  19. Mikey says:

    No more working for the BBC…

  20. Neil says:

    You have two choices:

    (a) Fight it like a man and keep the British accent

    (b) Give in and try to speak like a Yank

    Whatever you do, DON’T adopt a transatlantic accent (Cliff Richard, Tony Blackburn etc).

    Actually, whatever you do, don’t to (b) either.

  21. *17 (where has my hash key gone!)

    Sussex/London you say… ah so they are. That’ll teach me to trust google, knew they were UK, but I stand corrected

  22. Geoff, are you no longer on Aunties payroll then?
    I’ve just finished seven 12 hour night shifts.. how could you leave such delights behind for the U.S. of A?

  23. geofftech says:

    I am still on the payroll … for the moment …

    “Watch this space” !

  24. pixeldiva’s American? Suddenly that explains a lot 😉

    You know John Barrowman aka Captain Jack and his flawless American accent? He’s actually Scottish, but was brought up in Illinois. He can switch flawlessly inbetween the accents.

    The guy who plays Frasier’s dad? From Manchester. Went out to the US back in the 1950s, and again, now switches flawlessly between accents.

    Never having met you or heard your voice, I don’t think your accent’s going to switch any time soon. Give it 20 years maybe.

    As for new trans-Atlantic music, it’s a curse. I can still rave about this song called “The People You Know” that I heard on an American radio station once, but hell none of my American friends knew about it, let alone my British chums. And I still think Beautiful by Joydrop is one of the best songs evah. Even if it was played to death on US alternative radio and nobody in the UK has heard of it.

    Conversely, mention your love of the Pet Shop Boys in some circles, and they will look upon you as if you are the music expert who reaffirms their good taste in music. Or they will suspect you are gay. I’ve had both happen.

  25. geofftech says:

    What about if I mention the PSB’s and wear my scarf (below) at the same time?

  26. 25* Then you will truly be 100% man magnet

  27. I see how the American side of the meter is HOT (red) and the English side is COOL (blue)… any subliminal meanings there for us to pick up on then?

  28. geofftech says:

    Yes Kris – You’re too hot too handle, whilst I am one cool dude. (Stifled chuckles …)

    Right, who wants to come to my “Geoff leaves for the USA” piss up then? iParty2, perhaps?

  29. Peter says:

    Pah Tea? Count me in.

  30. Kirk says:

    #20a – You could try saying “Jolly Good Show, what what” at the end of every sentence – the Americans would love your “quaint English accent” and you’d keep sounding British. Well, American Tourist British, anyhow.

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