6.07 / London Calling

Does tha Believe in Pierce Brosnan?

Now then pal, that dun’t know nowt, thee, and tha best listen up an ken what I’m about to tell thee. Them down there they dun’t know nowt either and they gi’ us lot a bad name. Talking poncy? Ooh la-di-da, he says – the baddie in them films. Always the baddie n’ always dressed up t’nines wi’ tha suit and tie all respectable, like. It’s no good. It’s no good because you dun’t see it. Tha dun’t see the grafters n’ tha dun’t hear us. Tha dun’t know nowt about up ‘ere wi’ us normal folk.

Cuppa tea? Where’s yer umbrella? Where are you from? England. What? England? No  no  no – what what? You’re not English. Toodle doo. Come along now, where is your picture of the Queen? Are you from London?

London in’t right nice. It’s grey. Pavement, buildings, sky, river, rain – they all merge in t’grey like some plonker spilt ‘is tea on a charcoal drawin’. It in’t green like up ‘ere. And besides that tha’s gorrit all wrong anyway cos most of us lot, even them down there, they dun’t talk all posh, they dun’t talk all mockney either, they talk like proper arseholes.

Innit bruv, brrrrrappp. Wot you lookin’ at chav? Don’t mug yusself, yeah?

Always a question. Innit? Yeah? Some o’ ‘um love questions – specially down there. But up ‘ere we’re different.

It might be one country, pal – officially anyway, but it in’t one culture. We ain’t polite or posh or poncy and we ain’t movie baddies or librarians – fer the most part anyway. We don’t wear tweed and wellington boots, mate. We dun’t get on.

That’s it. Right there, pal. The essence, the core, the bit o’ this whatsit that tha needs to ken. We don’t get on. North teks piss out o’ South n’ South teks piss out o’ North. Rich teks piss out o’ poor and poor… well, ye get it. We fight ovver football, religion, politics and region and owt else in between. Everything ‘cept a queue – we’ll queue patient as owt. Yer see, tekking piss is only thing we all do. Why? Cos it’s fuckin’ funny.

Mebbes I’m wrong ‘ere. Mebbes I’m tekkin’ liberties at what tha does ken. Mebbes tha’s heard us in our music and art and all that lot. It’d be right nice if tha ‘as cos we’re getting’ reight sick o’ our own stuff, our own parodies, our constantly shite gangster films an’ that. Gangster or posh – seems t’be two choices there and they ain’t neither o’ em owt special.

But nah I’m asking thee – does tha think there’s nay passion in England? Does tha believe owt? Does tha believe in Pierce Brosnan and Julie Andrews? It’s in the beer belly o’ a man in a footie shirt or the acerbic rant of a London rapper or the tenacious fingers o’ a girl in ‘er University exam. It dun’t matter what colour yer are, what age yer are or what gender yer are cos we all keep it locked deep inside. Deeper than tha can ever comprehend. That’s yer Englishness mate, right there.

Sarah Dalton is a 27 year old writer from Sheffield. Although primarily interested in speculative fiction she is known to dabble with surrealist flash fiction and has work published in the Medulla Literary Review, the British Fantasy Society’s Dark Horizons and has a short story due to be published in Wyvern’s Fangtales anthology. Sarah graduated from Sheffield University with a degree in Psychology and is currently working on her first novel of Dystopian Young Adult fiction set in the UK. You can find out more by visiting www.sarahdaltonbooks.com.