Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Trying to focus. What, all of us?

As I have mentioned before, I have taken refuge from the demands of the needy on the electric internet by immersing myself in the ancient science of genealogy. I had given up hope of ever tracing my male line back further than Ben, who had the misfortune to be born in Ireland. There is nothing wrong with being Irish, I must clarify, it is just that they failed to keep records of who did what to whom and the consequences thereof.

However, some time ago I submitted a DNA sample to some kind folk who were compiling a database, and this week I have found that there is a match, and Ben had a brother/cousin/second cousin and all sorts of people who came from Staffordshire, so although I cannot be sure of the relationships at the moment, I have found hundreds of his kin who wondered what possessed his mother to go to Dublin to give birth (perhaps they were doing a census, and Quirinius had mistaken Ben’s dad for a leprechaun).

Staffordshire sounds quite neutral, doesn’t it? It may lead you to deduce that the Scurras of Staffs were rural folk, tending their sheep and alpacas. But no, it is time to fess up. My forebears came from Willenhall. You know. Near Wolverhampton. In the Black Country. Willenhall, for some reason with which I am not yet cognisant, is associated with lock making. Many lock makers developed humped backs as a result of their work, but it is not this affliction that concerns me. I am not, as far as I know, quasimodoesque, although since the invention of the electric internet and Sky television I have little occasion to stand up. No, rather it is the fact that the Black Country has the most appalling dialect in this corner of the galaxy.

I am bereft to discover that not only do I not have anything worthwhile to say, but that when I say it I sound like a constipated manic depressive. For those of you of a foreign persuasion who are unfamiliar with the sound of the Wolverhampton accent, and are curious to hear it, let me just say this. DON’T!

Lugubrious does not begin to describe it. The caterwaulings of Robbie Williams, all country and western singers, Max Bygraves and Celine Dion combined are as heavenly choirs compared to the speech of the typical Willenhallonian. Those of you who find the singing of Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen less than cheerful (and I do not share that view) would change your mind if you had to spend a morning conversing in Walsall.

The dialect is more hideous than that of:

  • Trevor Brooking, whose nasal whine and failure to pronounce the letter ‘g’ even though it is in his own name, has caused over 3 million people to defect from following football to taking up crochet.
  • David Frost, for whom the word “smarm” would be complimentary.
  • Mariella Frostrup, obviously one of Frost’s cousins whose sickening saccharine laden utterances have forced me to abandon watching the only cultural programme on Sky 1.
  • Hugh Whatshisbollocks who does the rugby commentary in South Africa. God, in the cause of balance, decided that one of the most beautiful countries on earth should have an over abundance of Nazis, and, were that not enough, gave the inhabitants an accent that could only be achieved by a normal human being who was wearing underwear three sizes too small. Hugh has taken this already Hades-like rant, and infected it with a monotone so loathsome that his microphone melts three times during a typical Currie Cup game.
  • Bob Willis. His voice may put you to sleep, however you will not sleep soundly, but rather have nightmares so horrendous that you would rather stay awake and read Jeffrey Archer.
  • Gyles Badbreath. No explanation necessary.


Dave said...

3rd Para: 'where' should be 'were'. Later on, an unnecessary 'were'.

Hope this helps.

Will now go back to read the rest of your fascinating post.

Rog said...

The Irish bit explains everything.

Clippy Mat said...

ben's dad the leprechaun?


Geoff said...

Wot, no Michael McIntyre or David Mitchell?

I may be biased but I like the accent. And my impression of it is hilarious.

Donn w/2nz said...

Well you can't pick y'er antecedentiarys..which is not a word, I checked.

There is no shame in having arisen from a group of marble-mouthed, bandy-legged, pie-faced, hump-backed, locksmiths.

I'm sorry that so far you were unable to procure an infamous ancestor whose grandiose self-serving exploits included discovering Albania or Insulin or Hot-knifing.
Keep digging.

I, Like The View said...

how fascinating

Richard said...


Richard said...

While living with your relative, our tv aerial was pointed towards Sutton Coldfield for some reason so we got the Midlands telly. The accents were vastly preferable to the Granada ones, a league or two to the north. Being from Kent and naturally having no discernible accent, I find there is little more offensive to the ear than the two cauldrons of endlessly questioning high-pitched whining at each end of the East Lancs Road. And then I saw a policeman from Ashford, my home town, being interviewed on the telly recently. I hang my head. Common or what?

Christopher said...

Hearing this post read aloud I understood 'my four bears came from Willenhall'. I'm afraid mental images of your bear garden, you dancing with them, etc. eclipsed whatever followed.

Vicus Scurra said...

Dave, no it didn't.
Rog. I am pleased to have solved all of your problems.
Clippy. Shh! This is not the forum for those sort of intimacies.
Geoff. Your liking of the accent only contributes to the veracity of my hypothesis.
Donn. I have remarkably so far managed to avoid anyone of any note (a seventh cousin or some such was knighted, but we don't talk about him). When I do trace my ancestry back to royalty I hope that it is someone like Nebuchadnezzar or Ivan the Terrible.
Richard. No, no, no, Lancastrian is a beautiful language in comparison. I did not dare to suggest that everyone in the South East sounds like Brookin'. But they do.

Vicus Scurra said...

Christopher! I hope you do not mind my prying, but am I to deduce that you have a man (or woman) whose duty it is to read all of the daily updates on the electric internet to you while you are breakfasting? How very feudal. Alas, it seems to rule out our being related.

zIggI said...

how fortuitous because the lock on my backdoor has become stuck in the closed position but I would like to go out. Could you pop round and mend/fix/replace/open it please?

Donn w/2nz said...

I think I found one of your famous rellies on Wiki!
Sir Seamus O'Scurra.

Apparently he discovered "Restless Leg Syndrome" and according to their diaries, soon after Catherine the Great had convinced Queen Victoria that Seamus was part shetland pony, Victoria invited O'Scurra to head up the London School of Economics and also lead all of the wild stoats out of London with his magical flute.

Victoria knighted him soon thereafter and he was immediately imprisoned in her stables where he faithfully served at Her Majesty's pleasure until an unfortunatre "incident" with a certain Mr Brown.

Robynn's Ravings said...

I needed the laugh and had one, even though I'm not intelligent enough to KNOW all these folks.

I WOULD love to hear the accent just so I could mock you effectively. Right now, I have nothing.

Dave said...

I know you like to quote from the Torygraph, a webiste I've started frequenting following your recommendation. I don't want to pinch your thunder, but look forward to your views on the report that Andre Agassi 'lost the French Open due to a defective wig.'