It is exactly 100 days since I last set foot in my home country. Tomorrow will be my day 101 and I shall be returning via Liverpool to the hub of the North. I can’t say I’m looking forward to it. Landing in Liverpool is one thing – us Mancs aren’t well-known for a love of Scousers, and in all honesty, the Scouse accent does nothing for me. In fact, having once spent a holiday in Crete, where I heard one Scouse girl shout across five balconies to another Scouse girl:
“Aayyyyyyyyy, Laurrrrrrrrrrrrra, I’ve gorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrraaaaaa diseeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaasssssse!”
I can safely say that I categorised all Scousers in a similar manner: easy, loud, cheap and as lovely as an orange fake tan. Sorry to any Scousers who don’t conform to that stereotype; it’s the Manc in me. It’s the ‘rrrrrrrrrrss’. I blame Cilla Black.
This is both ‘pretend’ Cilla (and watching it, I’m reminded actually how lovely she was. Great legs for an old bird!) and the Scousers by Harry Enfield. It shows you the great Scouse style and the ‘Dey do doh, don’t dey doh?’ as well as the ‘Calm Down’ that probably plagued Liverpudlians for a long time.
However, I dislike that the scouse accent has seeped over the borders into Warrington and St Helens, thus giving rise to the ‘Plastic Scouser’. A Plastic Scouser is a wannabe-Scouser. I’m thus reminded of the man a few months ago who cut me up and then put on a fake scouse accent when I was videoing him with my phone as he continued to swerve and drive badly. He’d already spoken to me as he cut me up – cut glass Bolton accent. But, by the time he got out of the car, it was full-on Plastic Scouser. Needless to say, he was not so happy when I challenged him on this. I’m sure he was trying to imply that he was ‘connected’ and that he had Toxteth or Croxteth connections. I did the whole ‘Calm down, Calm down!’ routine and he eventually got back in his car. Seriously, even I could do a better Plastic Scouser accent.
Ironically, having looked for a Scouse video on Youtube, virtually all the videos are posted by (or accused of being) Mancs and are all quite – how shall I say? – derogatory. Virtually all of them have ‘Ferry ‘Cross the Mersey’ as their soundtrack and I’m reminded how much the Scousers love a bit of Gerry and the Pacemakers. Whilst they may have called their airport ‘John Lennon Airport’, it’s noticeable that the famous Beatle did not remain in Liverpool; neither has Sir Paul McCartney. On that subject, I’d be pretty pissed off if I were Sir Paul; they could have at least named the bus depot after him.
In all seriousness, I think it’s much of a muchness, and it’s a friendly rivalry, not unlike the French and the English – the difficulty of close neighbours with very different habits but with rather more in common than otherwise. We call them ‘bin dippers’ – as if they all go foraging in bins; we joke about their unemployment and their football loyalty. You only have to go to a Manchester City/Liverpool match to hear the worst of the songs come out. I blame all of this on ancient rivalries.
In reality, both cities have more in common than they would like to admit. Unemployment hit both towns badly, as did the 70s and 80s. Both have reinvented themselves. Both are massively proud of working-class roots, and both are fuelled by Irish immigrants.
I know the Scousers get (perhaps rightly) upset about the local ribbing, but there are many more programmes that mock Manchester in much worse ways.
Shameless is one of my favourites… although it’s less comedy and more real life these days!
And a little clip from The Royle Family – another Manchester classic!