My Cornish teen drama thing seems to be moving on apace, and there is now a not-entirely-discountible possibility that a pilot episode will be made this summer. Obviously just by mentioning this, the whole project is now massively fecked, but I thought I'd use this as an excuse to set some pointers on doing accents: specifically Cornish.
The Cornish accent is something an awful lot of people get horribly wrong. Standard procedure, when I mention I'm from Cornwall, is for people to say 'ere now, ooooaaaaargh, har har'. Which is actually an impression of a mad pirate. From Devon.
I, personally, myself, was born in Blackpool (with little or no assistance, I had to do most of the work myself), then moved down to Cornwall in my eights (as nobody says). The local children received my thick Lancastrian vowels with a mixture of hysterical giggling and poking with sticks, so as a brave act of self-assertion and political defiance, I shed it overnight, to be replaced by a rather old-fashioned Received Pronunciation, although words like 'buried' still betray my shameful northern lower middle class upbringing (I thought I was properly middle class until I started working in television/blogging). Apart from when I'm pissed, when I do, to be honest, sound a bit West Country. It's like getting drunk with three different people, all of them quite likely to go on about roleplaying games and Sophie Ellis-Bextor* rather too much.
I have also claimed in the presence of a proper american film producer to be 'jewish actually, although I don't go on about it' (because I'm not). We planned to go to Israel together and have a shalom (I'm hazy about the details), but then the whole thing was abandoned, as we only did it to wind up a nearby television producer who we suspected of rabid anti-semitism. It worked rather too well, and she's now in prison.
Once, for about a day, I decided I was kind of Native American, because of something a girlfriend at the time had said (specifically: 'you look a bit Native American sometimes') but no-one at Waterstone's believed me, so I let it drop.
Anyway (Jesus, let me get on with it!), the bona fide Cornish accent can be characterised by its two central ingredients: a gentle quizzicality, mixed with an implied threat of extreme violence, thusly:
"Tis good to see you having a nice party, m'andsomes, but if them bangin' 'ouse tunes don't get turned down to a considerate level come 'leven, me and Piran'll be back dreckly, whereupon we'll smash you all up."
And lots of people from Cornwall don't have strong accents at all, so if you're an actor and you're thinking of being in my pilot episode, only do a Cornish accent if you're from there (and the plan is to hire only people within a two-mile radius of my flat), otherwise, don't bother.
That's all I wanted to say, really.
* Who does not, by the way, look like she has 'a cat's face stretched across a plate' thank you Patroclus. Or if she does, it's a lovely cat, and a very nice plate. But obviously you're much prettier, and what does SE-B know about Neal Stephenson eh? Nothing, that's how much etc.