The Surly Northerner vs The Smarmy Southerner

Owners of a tea room in Keswick, Cumbria, which has been criticised for being unfriendly have rejected the criticisms of the southern wusses who posted reviews on Trip Adviser. To be fair these reviewers were probably not generic southerners but effete metrosexual luxury loving leftie luvvies from leafy London suburbs (Wednesday is labials day on Boggart Blog) like Hampstead or Islington.

Owners of The Temporary Measure tea room hit back at the reviewers by saying they only appear grumpy because they are northerners and do not require staff to indulge in that phoney, gushy friendliness London restaurants demand of their staff.

Now come on, let’s get this in perspective, we are talking about Californian falseness here, people gushing friendly to strangers does not come any more naturally to people in the south of England that in the north.

I know plenty of southerners who on being commanded to “enjoy your happy-krappy-mocha-chokka-jabbalokka-latte” by some poor kid with a permagrin have wanted to say “how can anyone enjoy this chemically adulterated shite?”

And I know one inhabitant of Berkshire who on hearing “We hope you enjoyed your lunch at SLOPS” (not the real name of the place) couldn’t take the falseness any more and retorted, “Do you? Do you actually care? Or are you just fishing for a tip. Because I think if you cared you would not work here serving this crap.”

To which the gobsmacked “server” had to reply, “Thank you, have a nice day.”

My bother has a branch of his business in Keswick and I am familiar with The Temporary Measure. It serves tea that tastes like tea, coffee that tastes like coffee and delicious snacks And best of all, staff who don’t treat me as if I am a lifelong friend but do their job politely and efficiently.

I like to be asked “Are you ready to order,” rather than “Have you any emotional problems you’d like to discuss.”

Emma Smalley, who runs the tea room, has defended her business against the criticisms aimed mainly at her brother John,who also works there, saying it is down to him having a typical surly northern demeanour. Cumbrians do. It is because their ancestors spent a few hundred generations out of the fells in freezing winds and pissing rain minding sheep. Samll talk is not their thing.

Emma said 24-year-old John simply does not possess a “sunny disposition” and described him as a moody musician.

“He’s not mean or patronizing or aggressive, he’s just quiet,” she wrote in response to one review. Good for her, if people want to meet Stepford Wives stereotypes they should go to California. You can get your arse kissed there but you can’t get a decent cup of tea.

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Life’s Greatest Mystery

Among a list published today of the great mysteries of life that puzzle us feeble humans, rubbing shoulders with conundrums like hob big is the universe, is there a god, does life have any meaning, is there a fundamental particle that holds matter together, why did Jennifer Grey have that effin’ nose job, who put the ding in rama lama ding dong, does anyone know what the Large Hadron Collider is supposed to do and who ate all the pies is the question of what do women see in Russell Brand.

Now this is not a question that has ever troubled me. Living in the north I have never met a woman who sees anything in Russell Brand. The nearest was one of my daugter’s friends who said “Sometimes he’s nearly a bit funny.”

Actually Boggart Blog though Brand had married Jonathan Ross and buggered off. Sadly not.

This question’s appearance in the list does highlight one serious issue however. That of the widening cultural divide between people to the south of that imaginary line from the Severn to the Trent.

Up in the north here we still like comedians who tell jokes. They need not have beer bellies od dinner jackets and bow ties, but we like humour to be delivered in packets that have the structure of a joke, anecdote or comic monologue.

In the south the new wave of comedian (with the exception of Jack Whitehall and Mickey Flanagan) are unfunny middle class kids who stand on stage for an hour mumbling introspectively about how they hate themselves, all their mates and relatives and their middle class background. Except for Marcus Brigstock who is just a twat.

What we have here is the tragic humour of the clown, the grotesque, the freak. Clowns are not funny, they are tragic, their faces hideous masks, their baggy trousers and oversized shoes serving only to accentuate their clumsiness and ineptitude. But a certain kind of person laughs at clowns because the clown’s tragedy is their tragedy.

In a world controlled by advertising and propaganda, the world inside the M25 for example, on Planet Metrosexual only perfection is accepatable. So everybody, and when I say everybody I think we all know I mean Guardian readers because they are so self absorbed they don’t know anyone else exists, falls short of their target. So they feel inept and clumsy because they are not perfect and they feel grotesque because they are not anorexic and they feel inadequate because they are not the CEO of Barclays Bank. And they hate themselves for all of it.

Russell Brand’s appeal to women lies in this self hatred. Self haters are prone to addiction and the self hating metrosexual women, addicted to chocolate and Chardonnay, white wine, throwing up, the gym, shopping and Sex-and-the-City identify with Russell Brand because he talkes about his self hatred and addictions, to drugs, sex, wanking, taking about his addictions, taking aboutr sex, talking about wanking and most of all his unhappiness. These silly bints think he will understand them and they can make him happy.

The women who rate Brand sexy are of a certain type (sic) I can’t see Essex girls going for Brand, they like someone with a bit more muscle. Norhern girls certainly don’t because they think all southerners are wusses.

Right so that’s Russsell Brand sorted. Next, the meaning of life.

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Pies And Prejudice or How Southerners Can Learn To Love The North

George Osborne did his much anticipated budget speech today but to be honest it has been anticipated so much for so long I couldn’t be arsed listening. Wimbledon holds few attractions and watching bald blokes analyze the World Cup is my idea of dying and going to hell so I buried myself in a book.

Some things will never change, budget or no budget and one of those things is the North South divide. This is the subject of Pies and Prejudice by Stuart Maconie. Though I missed this book when it first came out about three years ago I am finding it is essential reading and should be on the national curriculum under literature, geography and sociology. Three text books for the price of one, that ought to appeal to the government.

Pies and Prejudice is essential reading for everybody. For northerners it is an affirmative experience, for southerners who seek to understand the psychology of the north it is an education and for southerners taught we in the north a ignorant, violent lardarses whe left schhol at six to work in grime mines and conditioned to react with fear and loathing when they hear a flat vowel or see a flat hat, a palliative drug. Seeing as these people must ever live with the knowledge that The North is less than two hours away (or five days if you travel by Virgin Trains) they need all the palliative drugs they can get.

Here are a couple of gems from the book to whet your appetite:

“It was my dinner, not lunch. Gordon Gekko in Wall Street sneered that ‘lunch is for wimps’ but it would have been more accurate to say lunch is for southerners. Up north we have our dinner in the middle of the day and our tea at night. A little defiantly my scouse agent and I will still talk about going ‘out for our tea’ even if we’re going somewhere terribly chi-chi in the West End. And don’t get me started on supper. A TV producer once invited me round for supper and I was genuinely flummoxed. Supper means something very specific in the north and I was rather bemused by the prospect of going round to her house in Chiswick at half ten at night in my dressing gown to have digestive biscuits and cheese off my lap while watching the telly.

Crewe has a Greggs and like every other Greggs in the UK it is packed. Greggs tasty, home baked fare has become synonymous with that other contemporary phenomenon, the chav, a tasteless, pallid, Burberry wearing, jewellery encrusted prole usually found as freakish exhibitions on mid – morning TV shows after they have married their probation officer’s mum or some such.

Pies and Prejudice by Stuart Maconie. (Amazon) It might not make you love the north but it will make you laugh.

More reviews:
How to tell a Makem from a Monkey Hanger
There’s more to the north
behind Maconie’s crafted wordplay is a serious thesis: that the North is more than its image.

Mr & Mrs Lardarse join the school council

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