Friday, July 20, 2012

Man Without A Country

I have an affliction.

Because I feel like a man without a country I have adopted all sorts of odd accents that I instantly employ (almost without thinking) for particular situations I'm in. They're mostly based around where I've lived or whatnot. So being English from a RAF family (Welsh mother/Liverpudlian Dad) and moving a lot as a kid around the UK/Europe, and spending a large chunk of time in South Wales where peopel were more than willing to remind me I am not one of them, then transplanting to the US and then briefly back to Bristol in England - I've developed a strange elastic accent. It is never the same. Depends on mood, situation and who's there. Around my kids I'm very English in a way I'm not around most Americans (or even with my wife - whom rarely gets my English-with-the-kids voice because she thinks I'm putting it on). When I moved back to the UK nobody thought I was English - even though I thought I was just speaking in a clear, concise English voice. Most of the time here in central NY I'll use an easy mid-Atlantic thing to save me from the puzzled, "a foreigner is here - I should alert the authorities...." look I can get from people. It still sounds English enough for everyone to think instantly feel like I have a PhD and for them all to want to have sex with me obviously. Still, If I'm with my kids I tend not to bother with all that though - employing some odd multi-regional English that even includes cadence and enunciation from places I've never lived. The problem with all this chopping and changing is that not only do I have no country, but I don't even know what I really sound like anymore.

But all morning I've been watching Ask Rhod Gilbert (with very Welsh people like Lloyd Langford on it) on Youtube and my late 90s Swansea University welsh accent has returned so thick it's actually beginning to frighten my kids. My daughter genuinely asked me if I was okay.


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