Monday, December 31, 2007

Those New Year Resolutions in Full...


This year, I've decided to raise my game as far as New Year Resolutions are concerned. So rather than mess about with the simply unachievable, this year I'm aiming for a spectacularly unlikely lifestyle change. I'm going to learn to love opera. Maybe even ballet too.

This seems to fit nicely with my Cabinet role which includes culture. There are, however, hidden perils for a native Bristolian such as myself.

To understand why, you have to understand something about the Bristol accent, known variously as 'Bristolese' or simply "Bristle". A variant of the standard West Country burr, Bristle makes speakers sound like they have a permanently blocked nose. Its unique feature is the "Bristol L", whereby natives add an 'l' on to the end of words ending with the letter 'a'. So Formica becomes Formical, a Ford Astra is a Ford Astral, films come from Americal and so on.

(As a youngster, I distinctly remember being confused about the fact that there were two different meanings of the word aeriel - there was your car aeriel, of course, and the areal in which you lived).

And so to the opera link. In the 70's, I can also recall BBC Nationwide sending down metropolitan reporters to accost unsuspecting Bristolians outside the Hippodrome, and ask them to read the opera poster outside. Invariably they said something like "The Carl Rosal Operal presents Carl Orff's "Carminal Branal" before the passer-by stopped and looked quizzically, wondering why the reporter was sniggering.

So I'll have to brush up my pronunctiation before attempting Toscal or Rigolletol. I'll keep you posted on how I get on.


Ian White, said...

Hi Nick

Happy New Year

For all you heathens out there
"Carmina Brana o Fortuna" is......
The X Factor music!

All the Best.

Anonymous said...

Alan Macnab writes....

Happy New Year.

Interesting posting on the Bristol dialect. I hope it is being preserved because different dialects are part of the rich heritage of Great Britain which, as you know, goes back thousands of years. I was brought up in
rural North Yorkshire. Different
villages only a few miles
apart had different dialects and
different ways of pronunciation.

Good luck with your understanding opera and ballet.

Anonymous said...

Tom Stebbings writes.

A Soprano died and went to heaven. St.Peter stopped her at the gate asking, "Well, how many false notes did you sing in your life?"
The Soprano answers, "Three"

"Three times fellows!" says Pete, and along comes an angel and sticks the Soprano three times with a needle.

"Ow! "What was that for?" asks the Soprano.

Peter explains, "Here in heaven, we stick you once for each false note you've sung down on earth."

"Oh," says the Soprano, and is just about to step through the gates, when she suddenly hears a horrible screaming from behind a door.
"Oh my goodness, what is that?" asks the Soprano, horrified.

"Oh," says Peter, "That's a Tenor we got some time back. He's just about to start his third week in the sewing machine."

Good luck Nick. Rather you than me!!.

Best wishes to you all.

miketually said...

I think I'd rather eat Quorn "Turkey and Cranberry-style" slices than listen to opera.

Anonymous said...

Where are you Nick? Your site is boring without your input.....
Happy new year!!

IW TL said...

Yes, where are you?

Anonymous said...

Alan Macnab writes...

Mike T. I recommend Classic FM. on the way to work and back home again. Wonderful.

Isn't the American Presidential Election interesting? John McCane sounds just like Reagan.