The Null Device
Over the next week, the BBC has a special feature on dialects, accents and regional usages in the UK. As part of this series, a BBC reporter tries speaking in Received Pronounciation. the cut-glass proper English accent formerly known as "BBC English", but now only used by automated announcements on the Tube and effete, treacherous aristocrats in Hollywood movies:
For example, wedging a cork in my mouth and attempting to read lines from Julius Caesar was invaluable, helping me keep the tongue flat and speaking with restricted lip movement, but I did feel like a snake who had tried to open a wine bottle with his fangs, only to get stuck.
American tourists in particular seemed to love it, perhaps mistaking me for a Hugh Grant impersonator. A few were slightly scared by my over-enthusiastic use of the phrase "Dear fellow", but a woman named Judy seemed especially enamoured with the accent. "Can I take you home to the ranch?" she said in a rich Texan drawl.Also on the BBC in the Voices series: language change and (the myth of) Americanisation, the language of love, and the language of the love that (once) dare not speak its name, or "Polari".
Martin Carr, of interestingly progressive Creation-signed indie band The Boo Radleys (who were often lumped in with "Britpop") gives a somewhat bitter recollection of living through the hype storm:
"I tried to have nothing to do with what was being called Britpop. Our whole career was spent trying not to 'fit in'. We just carried on doing what we had been doing. I didn't like most of the new bands or the flag-waving. I didn't like New Labour or idolise Paul Weller and I hated media-generated movements within music."
But Carr disagrees with the notion that the British music scene was celebrating a sense of Britishness. "It was about record companies trying to make money. Bands weren't given a chance to learn and grow; it was all about having hits," he says.
"I was gutted when Creation signed to Sony, I'd never wanted to be on a major label and we were under much more pressure after that. It was also a chance for everyone to get away with more jingoism than usual."
Jailed dissident Belarussian scientist Yury Bandazhevsky: the only decent release from The Cure since the 1980s? Discuss.
The 9/11 films are coming; Oliver Stone (best known for the steaming turd that was Alexander) is working on one, and now there's one about Flight 93. It's going to be a Working Title film, so perhaps they'll have Hugh Grant doing a cameo as Tony Blair or something. No word on whether either Jerry Bruckheimer or the Independence Day guy is going to do a 9/11-themed gung-ho patriotic thriller.
There should be 9/11 movie drinking game. Drink one shot for each scene with a US flag. Drain the bottle for footage of an eagle soaring against a blue sky.