It can't have escaped the attention of any of you that spotty South Yorkshire teenage ragamuffins are storming the so-called pop charts at the moment. Yes, it's those crazy Arctic Monkeys again. And this time, rather than trying to claim some spurious youth credibility by featuring them on this here blog and pretending I like their music (but I do, dammit: 36 isn't too old to rock out, man) I'd like to look at their fantastic use of regional accent and dialect.
Take, for example, their mighty tune "Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secure" on their number 1 album: delivered in a proud Sheffield accent, the lyrics contain a mass of non-standard grammar and lexis and are all the better for it. This stuff is so much better than the focus group-led bobbins that passes for mainstream pop, or the miserable cliche-ridden angst rock of emo no-hopers, or dumb gangstas like 50 Cent and his idiotic tales of crack-slinging in da hood, or da club, or wherever:
Ask if we can have six in, if not we'll have to have 2
You're coming up our end aren't you? So I'll get one with you
Oh won't he let us have six in? especially not with the food
He coulda just told us no though, he dint have to be rude
See her in the green dress? She talked to me at the bar
How come its already two pound fifty? We've only gone about a yard
Dint ya see she were gorgeous, she was beyond belief
But this lad at the side drinking a Smirnoff ice came and paid for her tropical Reef
And I'm sitting going backwards, and I didn't want to leave
It's high green mate, via hillsborough please
How funny was that sketch earlier, up near that taxi rank
Oh no you will have missed it, think it was when you went to the bank
These two lads squaring up proper shouting, bout who was next in the queue The kind of thing that would seem so silly but not when they've both had a few
Calm down temper temper, you shouldn't get so annoyedDrunken plots hatched to jump it, ask around are ya sure?
You're acting like a silly little boy
They wanted to be men and do some fighting in the street
No surrender, no chance of retreat
Went for it but the red light was showing
And the red light indicates doors are secured
Have a look at the subject - verb agreements of "she were", the lexical choice of "our end" for a start. Meanwhile, any band that can rhyme "Ford Mondeo" with "don't have to say 'owt" gets my vote as best lyricists of the decade. It's almost enough to get me nostalgiac about the glory days of Shed Seven.
nowt but a bit of a laff and ENA5 Language Varieties