McCoy Staircase, Portland Oregon. Photo by Foul Pete
I really enjoy reading literature written in colloquial dialects, especially regional British ones. Writers such as Irvine Welsh and James Kelman do a great job of capturing various Scottish dialects and accents. More recently Niall Griffiths captured the Welsh dialect and other regional British dialects in his book Grits.
A lot of Americans are unfamiliar with a Welsh accent. Mine has been neutralized by years of living in Bahrain and Oregon so I don't have the 'Welshest' of accents. Anyway, inspired by Kelman and Welsh I wrote this a few years ago and put it in my second zine. I know you can't 'read' an accent but I believe it is possible to get some form of sense of it from a written passage. When I wrote this piece I was thinking of the sixteen year olds I was working with before I left Wales. I was a basic skills tutor, teaching basic literacy skills to a group of underprivaliged 'at risk' young males. They were hilarious to work with and gave me no end of shit for being a surfer. This piece was also inspired by the montreal-based rock quintet, Fly Pan Am. There is some ugly language in this, incase you are sensitive to such things.
A Walk In The Vernacular #1
there's this piece of music repeatin' ovah an' ovah in me 'ead like. 'kin annoyin it is. some echoey gita. like some cunts sittin in a cave or somethin' twagin' away. then the drums kick in, like marchin' band style like, know what i mean? then the gita ges a bit more complicated like, a bit of variation but still very repetitive ovah and ovah. then it speeds up a bit and ges louda but still very fuckin' repetitive. an' now 'is got me inna groove like. hypnotized me it 'as i tell you. an 'is no longa so annoyin, 'is jus the soundtrack to my walk downa street like. 'kin hell i'm loosin' it mun.
so i'm walkin' downa street like, with this fuckin' spaced out tune in me head. an i'm feelin' all dizzy like 'coz i been up since 'alf past fuckin' two inna mornin' see. i can't sleep propa anymore. i'm up for like three days inna row and then i sleeps for like twenty four fuckin' hours an' then anotha twenty four 'ours. chrissake mun. 'is is gonna kill me 'is is. is like i fugets 'ow ta sleep like. 'is like i lie down an' i'm fuckin knacked an' all but i jus cant fuckin' nod off propa. is tha tune see, it keeps me goin'. it feels like i'm on one a them runnin' machines, a fuckin' treadmill like. like i'm inna a fuckin dome shaped room, like the shape of one a them 3D cinemas like, witha treadmill inna middle an' some footage of the city movin all 'round me. only i'm really out in the streets walkin' but 'is so fuckin' surreal. i feel like the music is suckin' my legs onward and forward onward and forward. marchin' i am thats what i'm doin' i'm fuckin' marchin' like a fuckin' soldja. on to fuckin' war. an the shit i'm seein. 'auntin me fuckin thoughts it is like the echo music in the cave. nothin' makes any bloody sense. and no i'm not on the drugs, thank you very much. pure fuckin' sleep depravation this is, i tell you. maybe i'm walkin' back from war. yeah tha makes more fuckin' sense ta me. i'm so fucked, i musta been inna war somewhere. so the music is tryin' to keep me a marchin' soldja 'coz i just fought a 'ard an bitter war and i don't wanna go on. yeah tha mus be it. maybe i'm onto anotha fuckin' war. 'kin feels like we're at war. not like in the bloody films though. like an invisible war or some bollox like tha. some fuckin' ferocious battle witha hidden enemy. neva endin. day afta day, each time we hit the fuckin streets. jeezuz i should be 'ungry by now. i 'aven't eaten for like a day an a 'alf like. i'm suprised i'm not passin' out right now crossin this fuckin' road. i should be passin' out now to be crushed by this speedin' lorry thas bout to knock me ovah. cunt. i 'aint speedin up fa no fucka. the drums are rollin' now. rollin' and rollin' and the gita is doin' a bit of an angry solo now. still very fuckin' repetitive but reachin' some form of climax or some shit like tha.
so nothin' is makin' sense now nothin' 'cept maybe the fuckin' music inme head, which i think might 'ave always been there like. only i nevah noticed it as much before. i think i'm startin' to like it, like. i think i'll roll me fuckin' sleeves up and get some pace goin'. the things you notice when you are walkin' not drivin'. fuckin' madness mun. fuckin' crazy. all these cunts in theya cars. smokin' fags and waitin' in traffik. what the fuck for mun? where the fuck are they goin' don't they know there's fuckin' war on? i'm gonna march right through this fuckin' buildin' right now. the fuckin' thing is right in me way like. wha the fuck? surely the cunt tha built it knew it was in the way. blocking this particular journey. stupid cunts all of them. 'is a 'kin battlefield. no fuckin' birds sing and all tha crap. like a fuckin' poem. and no birds sing. they've deserted this fuckin' wasteland for betta pastures innit? why the 'ell i still live 'ere i don't know. i should be dead by now. 'ow long now without any kip? i'm fucked. so very fuckin' fucked. i should be fallin' asleep on the pavement beside this pathetic excuse fora tree. i mean what the fuck is a tree doin' groin out of all the concrete? it makes no sense. no fuckin' sense whatsoevah. trees aren't supposed ta grow in tiny patched of earth. look the pavement's crackin'.
so here i am at a junction and i can't decide which way to turn like. which fuckin way do i go now? i know if i was in a green field inna country i wouldn't 'ave this dilema. only inna city is this shit a problem. feels like i'm bein tugged by two opposin' forces. every otha cunt is jus rushin' onwards to fuckin' work or somewhere. why work when we are obviously at war. stupid stupid cunts. pavements crackin' innit. 'neath the pavement - soil an' dirt. earth. roots. real fuckin' things. the gita in me head is screechin' now wailin' fuckin' hurts it does but its nice inna way. like bein' angry is sometimes nice, like. nothin' seems real. nothin' i feel like i'm jus watchin a pointless film. readin' some arty farty pointless book. nothin' is really 'appenin' nothin'. was the point 'ere? only thing thas real is the bloody music inme head, like. nothin outside is real. i mean i see it an' everythin' but i'm nota apart of it. i don't get it. it 'as no meanin' to me. just hypnotises me. fuck i thought it was the music hypnotisin' me. shit. i'm losin' this battle. maybe 'is time to go 'ome an' try an' crash again. was this war all 'bout anyway? i can't fuckin remba why i was fightin' why i'm so fuckin' knacked. if only i could see the cunts. where do they hide? i know theres only a few of the cunts. just so fuckin' good at hidin' they is. good at buildin' huge buildins in my fuckin way 'swell. fuckin cunts. brick by brick, if thas what it takes i fuckin' take 'em down. rip up the road and reveal the muck