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Archive for the ‘Glasgow vs Edinburgh’ Category

Don’t worry, I’m not going to write much about Big Brother 7 here (yet) *evil laugh* but this programme is going to be almost unavoidable in the UK for the next few months. Even people such as ourselves, who shun such low-level so-called entertainment and prefer to spend our leisure hours in more cerebral pursuits (watching Hollyoaks) will have it inflicted on us by selfish flatmates and inconsiderate relatives.

Last night, for instance, whilst perusing a tome of Philosophia Mathematica, my eye was momentarily diverted away from the page by the antics of one the the first contestants to enter the BB house —  ‘Shahbaz’:  determinedly Glaswegian, screechingly camp, sickeningly touchy-feely, cross-dressing windbag (not that I’m not going to like him).

 As his souped-up Mrs Doubtfire tones invaded my brain-space, I found myself thinking, ‘why does he have to be Glaswegian?’ Now I’d have to put up with yet more ‘Weegie’ jokes from my Edinburgh-born housemates.

If you live in Scotland you’re no doubt aware of the friendly(ish) rivalry between the residents of Edinburgh and their neighbours in Glasgow. As I have affection for both cities — having been born in one and having spent most of my life in the other — I thought I’d give my unbiased account of the whole business.

Generosity

It is unfair to say that the people of Edinburgh are mean — it’s just that the boundless generosity of Glaswegians is so overwhelming that Edinburgers will forever live in their shadow in that respect. If you call around unexpectedly at the home of an Edinburger near mealtimes (the height of bad manners, surely) you will be met with the phrase “you’ll have had your tea”. Note please, that they’re not asking if you’ve already eaten but are in fact telling you that you’re getting nothing out of them; not a sausage. Even if they’ve just been to Sainsburys and done a big shop and even if they have vanloads of groceries parked in their driveway, there’s no possibilty that a morsel of their food will pass your (starving) lips.

Glaswegians are quite the opposite. As soon as you ring their doorbell, or even if they just catch a glimpse of you passing by on your way to work or the chip shop, and even if they don’t know you and you have never before set eyes on them — they will attempt to feed you, whether you want it or not. This will happen even if their fridge and their food cupboards are entirely devoid of contents and even if they don’t have a pot to piss in. If necessary, they will make you eat an imaginary meal with them.

Friendliness (to strangers)  

Once you get to know them, Glaswegians and Edinburgers are equally friendly. It’s their inclination to strike up a conversation with a strangers which sets them apart. And no-where can this be witnessed more clearly than in doctor’s waiting rooms.

 No-one in Edinburgh talks to anyone else in a doctor’s waiting room. It’s an unwritten rule (just like the one where you don’t make eye contact with anyone at a bus stop). Even if the doctor is called away on an emergency and there’s only two of you left sitting there for a couple of hours, the other person will prefer to re-read the copy of Country Life that they first made acquaintance with when they came in for their Measles booster in 1974. If you do attempt to strike up a conversation with them — even of the most innocuous sort: “ah, the night’s are fair drawing in, are they not?” — you will only be met with a noncommittal nod and thereafter will be studiously ignored.

Glaswegians, on the other hand, will quite happily talk about (and possibly show you) the boil which has led them to the GP’s door, before getting ripped into what they see as the failings of the present government, the state of the pavements, why Hogmanay is not he same these days and why they believe that Lord Lucan was, indeed, innocent. Sometimes it all gets a bit much and you have to leave before you start bleeding from the ears.

Accents

It is a truth, self-evident, that when it comes to accents, Edinburgers have the upper hand when it comes to consistancy. Take a person out of Edinburgh and ten or even twenty years later they will still sound the same as the day they left (apart from Sean Connery, who is a man apart and barely mortal).

Glaswegians, however, do one of two things when they move away from the place of their birth. The first option is that the Glaswegian adopts an American accent. This can occur even when thet’ve spent their entire exile from The Dear Green Place in some leafy Suffolk glade and the nearest they’ve ever come to The States is the odd outing to McDonalds. You might find that hard to believe but I can think of at least a dozen people of my acquaintance who have taken up this strange affection.

 But there’s a far worse fate that can befall a Glaswegian who decants to distant climes: they can become very very very exaggeratedly Glaswegian. This happens even if they’ve lived in the Ukraine since 1946 and had, in fact, left Glasgow as mere infants. This tendency becomes worse if they are at all exposed to another Glaswegian (or even anyone who is perceived as possibly having some vaguely Scottish heritage). And if they happen to get hold of a copy of The Steamy, then all restraint is abandoned and everything they say for the next year or more is incomprehensible to even the closest members of their own family.

 In time, the dire day arrives and they end up (God save them) talking like GMTV’s Lorraine Kelly (who isn’t even a real Glaswegian, but has adopted our dulcet tones because she knows the accent comes high in the ‘makes you sound sincere’ polls).

There are a multitude of other differences between the lovely people of Glasgow and the fine people of Edinburgh but I’ll have to give them a miss, seeing as this whole blogging business is taking up too much of my time and I still have not finished my business plan.

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