Tuesday 26 May 2015


The twinning process between the city of Plymouth and the whole of the United States continues apace. Last week, after reading an internet article about the UK, Wonkyeye asked me the unlikely question "What does WKD Blue taste of?" Describing a flavour is almost impossible but I think I captured the essence of the drink when I said "Low rent nightclubs and regret".

This weekend I was at the council tip and a totter helped us to unload the car, he was charming, polite, and had a strong and pleasing American accent. He sounded a little bit like Cletus the Slack Jawed Yokel from The Simpsons but with a more sing-song lilt. I'm no expert in identifying American accents, but his put me in mind of somewhere more troubled by alligators than hipsters, and rife with Christianity.

I asked him where he was from and he told me "I'm a yank". In fact he said something more like "Ahm are yeyank". To start with I thought that that was hopelessly unspecific, a bit like me telling people that I'm from The Northern Hemisphere, but it makes perfect sense. He works in a customer facing role amongst the people of Southwest Devon – the slack jawed yokels of the UK – and he has a strong and distinctive accent. He probably has to answer the same question ten times an hour for his whole working life. This is how I imagine the conversation used to go until he got bored of the middle bit:

"You talk funny, where you from then?"
"I'm from Shreveport."
"Eh? Where?"
"That's in Louisiana ma'am."
"Eh? Where?"
"U.S of A".
"Oh. You’re a yank".

Richard "American Totter" B

1 comment:

  1. Sort of fascinating that he described himself as a yank (given his accent). Further supports the theory that the word has a totally different meaning in the UK. In the US, no one south of the Mason-Dixon line would associate themselves with the word "Yankee" if they could possibly avoid it. ;)