Archive | March, 2016

A wannabe Dublin Irish man with a Michael Caine accent

26 Mar

 

Donal did not think that he was in anyway different from born and bred Dubliners. Although his accent was London, he believed his Irish DNA would keep him one hundred per cent in tune with all around him.

In fact he definitely did not want to acquire an Irish accent – either by intention or osmosis. He had met a number of Irish people in London who had tried too hard to achieve a local accent. The result was a hilarious mixture of sounds. Whilst he was very amused by this Donal did not want to become a similar source of mirth in reverse.

When he joined London Irish Rugby Club, in the late 1970’s, he was desperate to fit in. After training and a drink, the players helped to clear up the bar. Donal leapt enthusiastically to the task. Then, in a pathetic attempt at an Irish accent, he found himself saying “Are these glasses for the washing” – not even Tom Cruise could have delivered a worse sound and word order. Donal felt guilty, ashamed and naff. He vowed never to do it again.

Besides all that he quite liked his English accent. On a few occasions people remarked that he sounded like Michael Caine. Donal liked this – he thought Michael was a brilliant actor.

In response Donal would offer a more contrived impersonation in which he combined Michael’s “did you know  … not a lot of people know that” technique with a standard music hall joke :-

“Did you know, did you know that every day a man gets knocked over by a London bus? – and he’s getting bloody annoyed at it!”

Donal thought this was a sure-fire winner – the feedback he received was mixed.

When shouting his Michael Caine head off in support of Ireland at a match in the Lansdowne Road stadium, a polite Irishman, sitting next to him, gently inquired as to what part of Ireland he was from and observed that he must have spent a lot of time in England – he was correct.

It was several years later, with the coming of voicemail messages, that he realised just how very English his accent was. In the early days of his time in Dublin this revelation might have shaken his belief that he would totally integrate with the Dubliners but by the time he became aware of it he was already fully settled.

This is an edited extract from “London Irish Dublin Irish”. You can download the eBook or order a printed copy from Amazon.

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A wannabe Dublin Irish man with a Michael Caine accent

26 Mar

A wannabe Dublin Irish man with a Michael Caine accent

Donal did not think that he was in anyway different from born and bred Dubliners. Although his accent was London, he believed his Irish DNA would keep him one hundred per cent in tune with all around him.

In fact he definitely did not want to acquire an Irish accent – either by intention or osmosis. He had met a number of Irish people in London who had tried too hard to achieve a local accent. The result was a hilarious mixture of sounds. Whilst he was very amused by this Donal did not want to become a similar source of mirth in reverse.

When he joined London Irish Rugby Club, in the late 1970’s, he was desperate to fit in. After training and a drink, the players helped to clear up the bar. Donal leapt enthusiastically to the task. Then, in a pathetic attempt at an Irish accent, he found himself saying “Are these glasses for the washing” – not even Tom Cruise could have delivered a worse sound and word order. Donal felt guilty, ashamed and naff. He vowed never to do it again.

Besides all that he quite liked his English accent. On a few occasions people remarked that he sounded like Michael Caine. Donal liked this – he thought Michael was a brilliant actor.

In response Donal would offer a more contrived impersonation in which he combined Michael’s “did you know  … not a lot of people know that” technique with a standard music hall joke :-

“Did you know, did you know that every day a man gets knocked over by a London bus? – and he’s getting bloody annoyed at it!”

Donal thought this was a sure-fire winner – the feedback he received was mixed.

When shouting his Michael Caine head off in support of Ireland at a match in the Lansdowne Road stadium, a polite Irishman, sitting next to him, gently inquired as to what part of Ireland he was from and observed that he must have spent a lot of time in England – he was correct.

It was several years later, with the coming of voicemail messages, that he realised just how very English his accent was. In the early days of his time in Dublin this revelation might have shaken his belief that he would totally integrate with the Dubliners but by the time he became aware of it he was already fully settled.

This is an edited extract from “London Irish Dublin Irish”. You can download the eBook or order a printed copy from Amazon.

After the match in a Dublin pub

16 Mar

After the match in a Dublin pub: The curious case of the smouldering Scotsman and the flying tea caddy.

 

 In Kehoe’s, four rugger-types stood at the bar next to Nicky and her two escorts, Terry and Donal. Three of the rugger boys were Dubliners and one was a Scotsman. This was evident aurally, from his accent, and visually by his apparel of kilt, sporran, off-white woolly socks and footwear which was a hybrid of Doc Martin’s and black ballet shoes. They were clearly in an advanced state of enjoyment and could not but notice Nicky sitting pertly on her bar stool.

With enthusiasm, they engaged her in conversation. As expected, Nicky was well able to handle them in a ladette but controlled manner, which only encouraged them more. Any attempts by Donal or Terry to prevent this were futile. Donal passed a few sporadic words with one of the Dubliners. After a few minutes, the Scottish citizen moved around the extended group and asked Donal a question.

‘Are you English?’

This would normally be a cue for Donal to give the whole Cork roots story but he knew that the question was not asked in a friendly manner. He felt he owed this person no explanations so, in order to keep the conversation short, he replied:

‘Yes’.

‘That’s interesting because, where I come from, we f***ing hate the English.’

Donal did not reply to this challenge. He feigned not to hear it and casually turned his body through 45 degrees so that he could join a conversation between Nicky and another of the rugger boys. The Scotsman moved away and spoke to Terry in order to further research Donal. After a few minutes he returned.

‘And you live here, do you?’ said the Scotsman to Donal.

‘Yes.’

‘And the Irish – don’t they hate you?’

‘No.’

‘That’s interesting because, where I come from, we f***ing hate the English.’

The Scotsman was well dressed in his traditional attire. He did not look rough so Donal felt pretty sure that he would not extend the traditional Scottish greeting ‘Do you like embroidery?’ followed by a head-butt and the exclamation ‘Well stitch that!’. Therefore, Donal chose to respond to, rather than ignore, this repeated act of aggression.

In the most nauseating, smug English accent that he could muster, he replied.

‘No, no, no old chap. There are tens of thousands of English people living in Dublin in perfect harmony with their Irish hosts. And you know why that is don’t you?’

‘No.’

‘You see, about 70 years ago, the Irish f***ed the English out of Ireland. They own this land and they are masters of their own destiny. So they have no hang-ups about the English. Whereas you chappies – you’re still under the thumb aren’t you?’

“No, no, no – we could have f***ed the English out of Scotland but we were bribed.’

‘What a sad, sad lot you are. To think that you traded your sovereignty for the King’s shilling’.

‘I will be not lectured on Scottish history by a miserable, yellow-livered Sassenach . . . ‘

Fortunately, Nicky intervened at this point. ’Now boys, boys, boys – please pick up your toys and calm down.’

An uneasy calm was restored. However, the Scotsman was still smouldering and likely to erupt at any time. The trio finished their drinks, trying not to be seen to rush them, and headed for the exit.

As they opened the door, the Scotsman could restrain himself no longer. On a high shelf above his head various items of pub paraphernalia were on display. He grabbed a rusty tea caddy and threw it in their direction.

‘Stick that up your jumper, perfidious Albion,’ he roared defiantly.

The artefact, made of tin, spun slowly as it glided above the heads of the crowd. It left a trail of rust and dust in its wake like an aging jet liner struggling to gain height after take-off. However, it was not aerodynamically designed and, being light and empty, its height and speed soon diminished. Limply, it glanced off the entrance door’s lintel with a disappointing ‘pop’ before landing on the threshold with an equally unimpressive ‘boing’ sound. The door then closed and pushed the caddy out onto the pavement.

The Scotsman had crossed the line. He had become a health and safety issue and had endangered the quiet enjoyment of the pub’s clientele. Within seconds he found that two small, but wiry, barmen had linked their arms around each of his. They marched him to the door. He protested but he could not break their vice-like grip.

‘Let me go. Do ya no ken ? I’m trying to help you rid this land of Sassenachs.’

A pedal driven rickshaw taxi was passing as the three stood on the pavement outside. Inexplicably, Donal hailed it, thinking this would provide a fast getaway. As the trio mounted the rickshaw the pub door opened. The Scotsman, with arms still locked, kicked the caddy in frustration. It flew forward loudly and lodged under the back wheel of the rickshaw. The two barmen released their grip while skilfully propelling the Scotsman away from the pub and towards the rickshaw.

‘Quickly man – go! Haste post haste! And don’t spare the horses,’ implored Donal.

The emaciated cyclist upfront turned his head sideways and looked back at Donal with a doleful left eye, very much like an exhausted horse might do. His legs did not possess the explosive power required for a quick getaway and with the caddy jammed against his back wheel he was going nowhere.

With menace, the Scotsman walked slowly up to the rickshaw. He was on eye level with the seated Donal, who chose not to look at him but straight ahead at the cyclist, whom he silently implored to action. Into Donal’s left ear was roared:

‘We hate you f***ing English!’

Then he gave the rickshaw a dismissive push which, fortunately, caused the wheel to roll over the caddy and, with this added momentum, it moved slowly forward. Behind them he could be heard extolling the virtues of his native land.

‘And another thing pal – oil, mountains, skiing, Sean Connery, Bill Shankly, Denis Law, Archie Gemmel, Jock Stein, Billy Bremner, Bill McLaren, Jim Telfer, Mighty Mouse McLaughlin, Sandy Carmichael,  Rod Stewart, Lulu, Kenneth McKellar, Andy Stewart, Moira Anderson – you’ve got nothing like that.’

This is an edited extract from the book ‘London Irish Dublin English’. You can download it now at the special St Patrick’s week price of 99c/99p for the next couple of days.