As much as I’m loving my time in America and very much feeling like I fit in here, the one aspect which is making me self-conscious and different is my accent.
Now – depending where you live, you may have different ideas about the sounds and the perceived stereotypes of accents. For example, here in America, the UK West Country accent doesn’t carry the same kind of rural connotation that it does in Britain.
Although I actually grew up on a farm in the West Country, I don’t have that accent. When I was 18 I left the farm and went to university in the North-East at literally the other end of the country, where I picked up some Northern influence, and for the last ten years I’ve lived in London, absorbing a lot of different accents from around the world.
I’m like a chameleon with accents – mine changes subtly depending who I’m talking with. Out here though, my UK accent makes me stuck out like a sore thumb. Nick Roberts is the worst for poking fun but only because secretly he loves the sound of it when I tell him off. Maybe that’s why he’s always trying to annoy me… <lightbulb>!
The guys here at the Dick Wadd ranch are always cracking up when I say something very stereotypically English, like ‘loo’ (toilet), or ‘bloody hell’. So naturally I’m either playing up to it to make them laugh, or I’m trying to use more Americanisms and soften my accent when I don’t want to pull too much attention.
Even when coming up with a nickname for me – Nick Roberts is ‘Bulge Master’, Rob Rodin is ‘Load Master’ – what do we come up with for me? Something so British it almost pains me to say it (and say it in true Austin Powers style): I, Jason Stormme, am to be known as… ‘Shag Master’.
They think it’s hilarious. I think I have to go back to London in a month and face the mocking of all my friends for being known as ‘Shag Master’… Maybe I’ll just go by ‘Shag’ for short…