Radio Five called me just as I was settling down to my tea on Friday, the producer of the Stephen Nolan show wanted to chat about the most recent of the irritating surveys about brummie accents. I’d been on before on TLABD, so I must be top of their contact sheet for “brummie that will do radio in the wee small hours”. Last time I went on I was still working for the Beeb so I made my own way to the studio and set myself up and so on, but now I don’t I was treated to the full “contributor” experience: taxis both was, a drink “a water only, Janice Long has drunk everything else” joked one of the Security guys.
The Stephen Nolan show is from Manchester, so I was sat in a tiny studio in Brum on my own with nothing but a mic and a pair of “cans” (see I know all the terms) – I went in at about eleven pm, expecting to be on about ten past, but a voice came over the talkback “we’re talking about paedophiles on Facebook now, we’ll get to you for about 11:30”. So I popped out of the studio to tweet, and then settled in to listen to the inevitable nonsense.
The show was being presented by Nick Wallis in Stephen Nolan’s absence, he seemed to jabber a bit, not the calm air you expect from a phone in host (turns out he was on Liverpool JM Uni’s Shout FM with Jules in the nineties, small world etc.). Anyway, first on was Helen Sewel a voice coach, who threw me a bit by debunking the survey herself (my job? Usually a radio programme will invite two people with contradictory views, where as we both disagreed with the study just for slightly different reasons).
The best bit of the experience was the callers, although Nick tended to interact with them disappointingly, the first Dave (?) tried very hard to get our URL on air through his alcohol-induced fuzz. I must say that I was a little shocked about the 5L prudishness at that late hour – I make a point never to say “shit” unless prompted by the host of any TV or radio, but they are usually grown up enough to do it. Breakfast on radio WM, News 24 -and in print places as diverse as the Sunday Mercury and the Guardian – all have.
As an aside, I don’t think that BiNS would have been as successful if it wasn’t called what it was and I’ve always resisted getting a ‘safe’ URL (although upyourend.co.uk/birmingham will work). To my mind Birmingham: It’s Not Shit tells you everything about the content of the site, and I wouldn’t want to direct even one shocked old lady to the site under false pretences.
I didn’t get chance to respond fully to the abject quackery of the voice coach who claimed that the brummie accent was monotone “because of the lack of hills” – I was struggling with two responses, one a crack about being the highest point west of the Urals (it’s true) so how come we didn’t all speak like we were on helium and one that people from hilly areas must be “out of puff”.
Anyway, have a listen: