On my first day of university I felt prepared for a decadent feast of small talk and inane information gathering. I'm sure you know the drill: "Hi, and where are you from?"; "What are you studying?"; "Where are you going tonight?" And so on, and so forth. However, there was one thing I really wasn't prepared for:
Twat: "Hi, and where are you from?"
Twat: "Oh BURRRRMINNNUM."
Me: "No. Birmingham."
I really wasn't equipped for this at all. Being from Birmingham, I was used to the soft, lilting, soothing tones (OK that might be a slight exaggeration) of the Brummie accent and the thought that this was somehow "The Worst Accent Ever" had never occurred to me. When I made it to University and was bombarded with a series of shit and embarrassing (for them, not me) renditions of an accent these people had only heard off Howard from the Halifax advert, I was very much taken aback.
I'm not entirely sure what it is that makes anyone who does not come from Birmingham suddenly think it is appropriate to launch into the worst attempt at an accent ever. What is most striking about this is that this "hilarious" accent isn't just reserved for friends. Oh no. Anyone who isn't from Birmingham, and has never been, still thinks that it is perfectly acceptable to do the accent to a total stranger who has let it slip where they are from. I even had an alcoholic taxi driver from Warrington get in on the act; in between his mad ramblings about Bobby Charlton and racial slurs, that is.
If that isn't bad enough, the world of advertising has taken their clothes off and wallowed in the shit like a huge pig. I suggest you Google the recent "Hotels4U" advert with the tagline "Anything4u Cupcake". It features literally one of the most outrageously bad accents ever. I mean, what the actual fuck is that meant to be? In it, the husband responds to his wife's requests by saying: "Anythin' for YOWWWWWWW cupcake" in what I fear is meant to be a Brummie accent. It is soul-destroying. Anyone reading this from Birmingham: I challenge you to watch that advert and not reach for the sharp objects. It's like they decided that one mispronounced word an accent makes, and the results are truly terrifying. It is this type of shit a student from Birmingham who studies elsewhere is greeted to regularly.
However, things get worse. Once the rip-roaring, side-splitting, belly-aching laughter had subsided after their brilliant accent, I was often hit with this:
Twat: "Whereabouts in Birmingham are you from?"
Twat: "Oh is that near Cadbury World! You must go there all the time!"
Well no, I don't. I've been there about twice. Why do people, when hearing I live in Bournville, think that my life is so empty and meaningless, that I spend my time filing through Cadbury World like some sort of depressing bad smell, going around, and around, and around, stuffing my ever-expanding fat face with free chocolate? Do they honestly believe there is nothing better to do in the UK's second city then go to a bloody chocolate factory?
If someone was to say to me, "Oh, I live in Central London" I wouldn't then reply with a gormless "OH! Is that near Buckingham Palace?! YOU MUST GO THERE ALL THE TIME!" Or "Oh, I live in Trafford, Manchester" I wouldn't then reply "OH! Is that near Old Trafford?! YOU MUST GO THERE ALL THE TIME!" No, I wouldn't. Because I understand that the novelty certainly wears off, especially when you see this attraction at least 5 times a week.
And then comes the King of all ridiculously ignorant things to say about a place you've never, ever set foot in:
Twat: "So Birmingham yeah? Isn't it a bit of a, you know, shithole?"
I'm not even lying; this question has been asked to me countless times by people who aren't my friend. OK, Birmingham isn't exactly Venice, although it does have more canals (probably more used condoms and syringes in said canals) and I appreciate there are certain parts that are shithole-esque - like all modern metropolises. But in the same way you wouldn't judge the entirety of London on the state of Croydon (look what you made me do people! Now I've made a disparaging remark about a place I've never been to), one shouldn't just decide Birmingham is a shithole because of one or two less aesthetically pleasing parts.
So people who don't like Birmingham listen up: next time you feel like imposing your misinformed, terribly executed, utter bollocks on a poor unsuspecting Brummie why don't you think twice about it? You could even get yourself down to Birmingham to see if your tired shit is in any way reflective of the truth. If you do so, you might find a youthful city with a lot going for it, including a brand-spanking new Central Library which makes you feel like you're going to jump into hyperspeed at any minute, and a shiny train station. New York Magazine recently voted Birmingham a more worthwhile place to visit than London and there is plenty of reason for that. And, one word of advice: if you do go to Birmingham, whatever you do, don't do the shit accent. Just don't do it to yourself.