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I recently spent a drunken evening and night with a linguistics professor who informed me that “pure zero-grade English” is spoken not in England, but over in Ohio and specifically in the posh suburbs of Cleveland (e.g. Shaker Heights), Columbus (e.g. Upper Arlington), Dayton (e.g. Oakwood and Kettering), Toledo (e.g. Sylvania and Ottawa Hills) and northern Cincinnati (e.g. West Chester).

I do not recommend spending an evening or night with a linguistics professor.

The actor John Thaw had quite an interesting accent. In the Inspector Morse TV detective series based on Colin Dexter’s novels he adopted a sort of posh accent with something of a drawl and long vowels. I assume this was so the character could seemingly deal with Oxford dons and luminaries as supposed equals. However, an underlying Northern accent kept creeping in. I always thought this was inadvertent and that he simply was unable to sustain the accent he was adopting.

John Thaw is (or was) from the north of England.

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Black Dogs Defined

This is the best of me; for the rest, I ate, and drank, and slept, loved and hated, like another: my life was as the vapour and is not; but this I saw and knew; this, if anything of mine, is worth your memory.

(John Ruskin, Sesame and Lilies)

Whatever people say I am, that’s what I’m not.

(Alan Sillitoe, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning)

This is my letter to the world, that never wrote to me.

(Emily Dickinson, This is my letter to the world)

Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand:
Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!

(Edna St. Vincent Millay, Second Fig)

R.A.D. Stainforth

I was born before The Beatles’ first LP and brought up in the reeking slums of Jericho. I am in love with a woman called Hazel and in love with her daughter, also called Hazel, both of whom I met at Alcoholics Anonymous.

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