The joys of internet cafes. A scrofulous whigga has just sat opposite, sniffling from junk sickness, listening to loud and bad German techno, and periodically gasping and moaning, perhaps from the badness of his German techno. Yesterday a girl sat by me, couldn’t get her computer to work, and asked me something in Boschesprache. i replied with my standard “ich spreche kein deutsch” and she said, brightly, in a strong American accent, “oh, do you know if we have to switch these things on?”

i fumbled about and found the on switch for her; we talked a little, my accent becoming, inexplicably, thickly Yorkshire. In my home county of West Yorkshire, and in nearby Manchester, i talked in my usual bland, university-educated Queen’s English – except with dogs. With dogs, and in London, and now, i find, in Germany, i talk like a tweed-clad Yorkshire farmer, a surly, shotgun-bearing man of the land, with sheep blood on his hands and pork pie in his gut, the kind of man who knows how to repair a drystone wall. i had to remind myself, in lessons, to stick to the Queen’s English, though it would have been a worthwhile experiment, to teach the Bundeswehr (army) and Arbeitsamt (JobCentre) groups to speak English with an impenetrable Yorkshire accent, and of course lots of good Yorkshire expressions, curses, and sayings, e.g.:

“It’s no use for man nor beast!”

“By ‘eck it wants chuckin’ it does, and killin’.”

“I don’t want no fancy foreign muck. I just want fish and chips. If yer can’t give me fish and chips be off wi’ yer.”

And so on.

Still no students, no money, seemingly no hope of employment or even survival. i am peculiarly enjoying this. i’m 33 and have never lived as precariously as now. Everything is bright and sharp, and the sun a little cruel in its beauty. No better life could be.

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