There was an article in the newspaper this week about British children starting to develop American inflections in their speech. This was attributed to their exposure to technological sound gadgets which frequently have an American accent. The Daily Mail was, as usual, outraged by this and called for Jeremy Corbyn to resign (or Jeremy Cor-Bine as the kids will pronounce his name). The Times reported it fairly factually, but in charming Lesley “Oh, I say” Phillips phraseology, and the Daily Express ran the feature accompanied by a large image of Princess Diana. She would have been horrified, they penned, as an excuse for publishing the picture.I’m a sucker for accents. I love trying to pin down someone’s accent to their roots, and figure out where they come from originally. I’m also very susceptible to picking up bits of accents without realising I’m doing it. I’m not taking the mickey here, but I do tend to say ‘och’ and ‘wee’ a lot if I’m working with my Scottish friends. I can’t say ‘Combine Harvester’ without channelling the Wurzels (although there isn’t a lot of call for me to mention combine harvesters in my line of work). I find it hard to call my mate Ricky without imitating Bianca from EastEnders and calling him Rick-AYYY at the top of my voice.
From travelling all over the country, my accent is now so mongrel, I don’t even know how I’m coming across. When I’m training or running events, I can always pick out the person in the room who is trying to figure out my accent. There is a look of bemusement on their face. They know I’m Northern but they can’t quite pin it down, especially when I throw in a ringer and pronounce ‘Master’ as ‘Mar-ster’.
This week’s beer has a name which you can’t help pronouncing in the manner the locals do. It comes from North Shields, deep in Geordie land, and has been around for over twenty years. It’s a fabulous beer from the lads at Mordue, and it’s Workie Ticket. Go on, try saying that out loud in Queen’s English. You can’t, can you? You automatically say Workie Ticket with a ‘Marcus from Big Brother’ accent because it’s the only way it sounds right.
This beer has picked up a veritable clutch of awards since it was launched, and most beer fans have come across it at some point in their drinking careers, albeit accidentally. I went up to see the Fawson brothers at Mordue this week and we had a good couple of hours nattering about all things beer. Workie Ticket has been the Red Rum of their stable for a long time, it’s a thoroughbred champion with the durability of a cart horse thrown in. Why has Workie Ticket stood the test of time as trends and fashions in beer have ebbed and flowed, I asked? Garry Fawson threw his hands in the air, laughed, and said “I haven’t a clue!”
They don’t throw a marketing budget at this beer (“we haven’t got one” Garry said apologetically); they know they’ve got a good beer with doesn’t need tinkering with, and over the years they’ve built a solid fan base. The brothers got fed up of drinking un-drinkable beer, so whilst at college they turned to home brewing. Not with a kit, but with an old tea urn with a false bottom to replicate the actual brewing process. It helps that they now have a brilliant young brewer called Rob Millichamp who sees hops as ‘colours’ rather than flavours. The first time I’ve come across a brewer who adopts this concept.
Mark my word, Workie Ticket will still be beavering away long after we’ve shuffled off this mortal coil, and that’s one of my indicators of a great beer. It was always a staple in my pub and I urge you to seek out this 4.5% beer – it’s the Sarah Hughes of the strong bitter category. With food it’s massively versatile; bridge it with a locally produced Scotch Egg, balance it with a fiery curry or boost it with a good piece of Vintage mature cheddar.
In the car on the way to the station, I suddenly realised the brothers didn’t have a pronounced Geordie accent. Where do you come from originally, I asked?
“We were born in Rugby, but the whole family originally came from Newcastle and we came back here as soon as we could”. Wa-hey the lads.