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.