Friday, April 16, 2010

Received pronounciation

So. I may have mentioned before that we have frequented the London Transport Museum. What I may not have mentioned, although for those who know my child it seems obvious, is that we are actually members. I feel the need to interject here, this is not a sponsored post; sadly we've done this all on our own without the benefit of PR agencies. Face it, it's a tenner to get in but only twenty to get free entry all year. And they subtract your first tenner, so if you've been once, effectively it's only another tenner. And, for those... er... two tenners, one has the priviledge of spending one's life being dragged around buses by a child who lacks only an anorak to blend completely into the display.

Anyway. So, membership grants benefits beyond the free entrance. Every three months an extremely spoddy publication arrives through the letterbox and while the writing may be full of eager gentlemen who have located rare bus photographs on a neighbour's wall, the pictures are enough to keep a small spud spod VERY happy for, well, for the three months until the next one comes.

The latest edtion slipped through our letterbox on Wednesday and in it they announced (sadly this tells you that I read the actual text) that they have put some old films on the website. Ah, I thought. Charlie will like that. And so he does. Endlessly.

There is one particular film which secretly I'm rather fond of. It's a film about the last tram, narrated by a chap (he can only be a chap) speaking perfect BBC received pronounciation, talking about the 'Cockeneys' and waxing lyrical about the trams. It was made in 1952 and there are some wonderful shots of London in it but what makes it both dreadful and sort of great is the mix of this terribly terribly precise British and the use of an old music hall song sung by a stock cockney. It's the sort of thing parodied endlessly by British comedians and here is the real thing in black and white.

The spud's own accent is something we are watching emerge with great interest given that I talk like some sort of mid-Atlantic troll and the frog talks like Inspector Clouseau. We do, however, live in South London and he is coming out with some extremely local pronounciation like 'I'm free yeahs old'; 'I don't want nuffin' and 'yo, gimme more chocolate, innit!' (ok I made that last one up). The killer was today when he was rumbled by his father while practicing saying "Scoo-ah... scooter... scoo-ah.... scooter...". Sadly, it appears he will talk which-ever way he pleases and all the media and colonial eurotrash in the world ain't going to stop him... It actually makes me kill myself laughing whenever he comes out with something really local but I do worry that he's going to be tainted by his accent.

I suppose I should be more worried that he will be tainted by his love of all things train related but anyone who owns a three-year-old boy will agree (I suspect) that anything that can occupy them for an hour without needing intervention is a Good Thing. So, if putting him in his room with the Brio track and the latest trainspotter's guide gets us an hour to ourselves well then hey, I'll watch the damn tram film another 100 times and like it.

.

14 comments:

Iota said...

"One last week to clatter through the streets..." - marvellous. And the sign on the side of the tram "LAST TRAM WEEK".

This was way before my time, but even I'm feeling nostalgic. Those poor trams on their sides at the scrappers.

If you're ever travelling north on the M1, you should break the journey at the Tram Museum. Can't quite remember where it is. Peak District somewhere, but not far off the M1. Spud would love it. You get to ride the trams as much as you like.

Potty Mummy said...

Bless you Sparx - Boy #2 is going to LOVE this!

Sparx said...

Iota - a tram museum!!! No WAY!! I've just said the words and Charlie is sitting beside me saying 'There's a Tram Museum? What tram museum?!!" We may have to make a weekend of it :)

Potty Mummy - seriously, it's a boy magnet. And all that time I thought short skirts would do it... sigh...

Belgravia wife - sort of said...

I sort of have this problem with the Natural History Museum - twice over.it's got to the stage now where I actually think of it as an extension to my own home. All very odd. I have been to the Transport Museum - my children like watching the street performers - I think they're spooky..xxx

DJ Kirkby said...

N3S would love that museum, I must take him there during summer hols. I've given you an award on my chez aspie blog. Love from the other Mid Atlantic troll. xo

Sparx said...

Belgravia Wife - sort of: Whoa, that's a nice extention! Charlie's a bit young for that, he's had to sleep with the light on since the last time we went to the Natural History museum... about six months ago... and I find the street performers in Covent Garden spooky - or at least, the statue ones!

DJ - OOh, thank you! And if you do take N3S then we'd be glad to join you! Love back x

Hoto said...

Sparxy

Yup. Comes by it honestly. Remember the giant painting of an early steam locomotive "steaming through Stockport" or whatever? Still on the wall at the parental units.

My/Dad's extensive Hornby collection? Still in basement (in a box) but...

Remember the mousetrap in the mountain tunnel on my trainset in Castle Bar. Scaring the crap out of me as it decapitated another victim in my train tunnel? And I used to put sliced up plastic figurines on the rail tracks to signify someone who'd fallen on the tracks?

The mice were far more ominous...

Sparx said...

Hoto - oh man, your trainset... and the mice eating it from the inside... comes from making it out of flour and water papier mache... I'd forgotten your plastic train victims though, just remember the model crash pics.

I know he comes by it honestly, I do know. Heck, I still have photographs from our trip to the York train museum. Sadly, if it's still there I may end up taking identical photographs of Charlie there one day... poor kid.

So. Did you check out those films? Did it stir any old, er, longings?? Oh - and 'Train Accident' - the Elephant will never forget (snorf snorf).

Metropolitan Mum said...

Oh God, how embarrassing, that film almost made me cry. Ok, maybe I cried just a little.
Honestly, I can't wait to move away from Islington and all the Hackney slang around us. I almost forgot how proper English sounds. Innit indeed!

Btw, where have all the well dressed people gone? Do you think that film was incredibly staged?

Sparx said...

MM - I don't know - I get the feeling it was just filmed 'as is' on the last tram week. Does make one want to dress up a bit, hey?

We've watched it SO many times now. I bet the team at the museum think they've got a huge hit on their hands, meanwhile it's only the few who have stopped by here plus my son, watching it over and over - his record is 4 times in a row. And it is quite moving, isn't it? We always get sad when the tram burns. The good thing is that there's one in the actual museum and some days one can climb up to the top... I think if we did it again I'd have to burst into that song... "Oh we'll go, go go on the top of the car, car car..." sadly we know most of the words...

Mum said...

Yup, everyone dressed that way. In 1952 no woman would go out without a hat and gloves and the guys all wore three piece suits. Then came the Teds and we all rushed downhill with our mothers wringing their hands behind us.

The mice in the train set happened because I had built a viaduct, using wall paper glue for the mache, and Hoto decided he wanted a tunnel - NOW. So I used flour and water. 4 cats in the house and they just sat about and scanned the ceiling as the mice trotted about upstairs.
Mum

Sparx said...

Hi Mum - yeah, with all those fearless hunters prowling around, why DID we have mice? Felix was all about the comfy chair but Boo, Benjy and Tass were full on tooth-and-claw hunters...

Muddling Along Mummy said...

You'll probably hate me for suggesting this but there are DVDs of the various tube lines from the drivers cab... which are incredibly fascinating to small train obsessed people. As are the DVDs about the construction of some of the lines

All available at the transport museum...

Sparx said...

Muddling Along - oh, what a good idea! Although I think that the ones they have for free are good enough at the moment... Charlie is right this second bugging me to stop playing on my computer so he can watch the tram film... again...