Friday, January 26, 2018


I watched the film Made in Dagenham the other night with a fellow northerner. We enjoyed the film in a sotto voce way; it's an inspiring story but not a great film like Billy Elliot or Pride. But we both found the strong east London accents off-putting and unattractive, unfamiliar, even alien. 

We don't feel like this at all about the broad northern accents in Billy Elliot (set in County Durham) or Brassed off (set in South Yorkshire) or Educating Rita (set in Liverpool). I was a little ashamed of my feelings about the Dagenham characters' accents. It made me wonder if this was an insight into racism - thinking of people with unfamiliar accents as 'other' a step away from 'they are not like me,' a step away from 'they are not as good as me.'

But my companion said it wasn't like racism, it was a tribal reaction. Neither of us felt that these people were inferior, but just that they were from another tribe. He said he felt the same way when he heard people like Jacob Rees-Mogg talking, with snooty, educated accents with tortured vowels and tight mouths. Except that he doesn't actually like this latter tribe.

What do you think, dear reader?

1 comment:

Christine said...

How interesting! I didn't even notice the accents. Maybe because I have lived in London . . . But some accents I do find off-putting, while realising that it is a prejudice.