41 year old female public sector worker living in London
Question 1. Give your reasons and analyse your motives for living in the district where you do live.
I live very centrally in London; partially it was entirely accidental, I needed a flat and my then boss needed a tenant and partially I'd always wanted to live as close to the centre as I could afford. I love it, I like being able to walk everywhere, that things are always happening, something is always open but, conversely at the weekend that the loudest thing is often birdsong. I come from a very small, remote place so for me living here epitomises 'city life'. If/when I move, I think I will find it very difficult. A couple of years ago my boyfriend moved in with me, mainly I think because his previous landlord needed him to move out. The flat is really too small for both of us but I still really like there.
Question 2. In what ways do you consider yourself different from your neighbours?
The area I live in is an old white, particularly Irish, working class area with a lot of council housing. Like many areas in London there have clearly been waves of immigration and I understand that Urdu and Somali are widely spoken. I think that there are probably fewer, although the population is growing, people like me; educated, professional, middle class but I generally don’t feel any hostility. My immediate neighbours are very friendly towards me although there two who actively blank me (no idea what on earth I’ve done to offend them) I find it no more than slightly confusing / amusing. I think it’s quite a respectable area which suffered in the past from being used as a red light area (it’s near a mainline station) but there has been a significant clampdown and I have not seen any of that type of activity since I arrived over five years ago. I notice the differences between myself and my neighbours most when I go to the doctors, then it becomes apparent that the area is probably quite deprived. The doctor's surgery is the only place I interact with large numbers of my neighbours; I work elsewhere, socialise in town and shop on the way home from work.
Question 3. When you go into pubs, which bar do you use and why?
Because I live so near the centre of town most of the pubs I go into don’t have defined bars, they are open plan, striped floorboards, wooden tables, gastro kind of places. However when I lived at home I think I would say I aspired to the public bar but usually ended up in the saloon bar, with the loud, bright carpet – all the fun seemed to happen in the public bar and all the old ladies were in the saloon bar. I have never been in pub for a drink by myself and I can’t imagine doing so, in fact I’ve only gone into a bar a couple of times by myself even if I’m meeting someone. I'm not overly fond of self consciously hip bars (East London) but neither would I frequent really old fashioned boozers full of men.
Question 4. What priced seats do you use at the cinema and why?
The cheapest usually although I have recently discovered a much nicer, small chain with marvellous and expensive seats so that has become somewhere I like to go, even if in practice it’s just orange Wednesdays and cheap seats.
Question 5. What forms of food, drink or amusement are thought “infra dig”* or not quite the things in your circles?
Food; I don’t eat fast food except for occasional fish and chips (which to my mind don’t count!), I’ve never eaten a MacDonalds, Burger King or KFC in my life. I’m very predictably a non meat eating but fish eating vegetable lover as are many of my friends. I would also say ready meals are not particularly acceptable, although possibly Marks and Spencer’s ones sneak in there sometimes. In my circles it’s usual to cook from scratch. Drink; well in my circles I'd say we drink too much but it tends to be wine. Women would also drink cocktails and men (and lots of women) also drink beer - but that's often organic from a small brewery made by someone called 'Tom'. We'd never drink alcopops or cider. Amusement; I go to a lot of galleries and exhibitions, I go to the cinema but not as often as I'd like to go. We have dinner at each others houses or out in restaurants or go for a drink. We never go clubbing or dancing. I go to the gym after work, which is sort of an amusement. We also go for walks outside London and 'days out'. Thinking about this makes me feel boring.
Question 6. Are you sensitive on the subject of accent and have you made any attempt to change your own?
My accent is a loaded issue for me, I grew up in a place with a very distinctive accent but neither of my parents are from there and they also both, particularly my mother, speak RP. My mother also made a point of 'correcting' my pronunciation which I am now very grateful for but as a child it marked me as an outsider. Studying a long way from home and years spent abroad teaching English also changed my accent, there are very few traces of where I grew up. However when I spend time with friends from home an accent slowly appears - I do often find my accent 'shifting' in line with whoever I'm talking to and I have a habit of picking up pieces of accent with certain words. I will also play my accent up or down depending on the situation.
Question 7. Do you make a habit of using the following words and phrases? If not, what is your reaction when they are used by others?
Cheerioh - not really but have used it and would do so without issue, if someone said it to me I'd think nothing of it. Bye-bye - probably do say this but would usually say 'bye' or 'goodbye', no problem with someone using it with me Tooleoo - I can't imagine saying this and would like that someone was a little odd if they said it to me Okay - I say this all the time, far too much probably as does everyone Okidoke - arggh would not say this and would find it irritating if someone said it to me Not half - nor this and the same feeling Ta (for thank you) - do use this, in emails sometimes (such hard work to type 'thank you') if I was to say it I would probably put on an accent, I don't mind if people use this Old Boy, chum, pal, mate - I would never use these words, I think that some of the them sound quite agressive (that might be because the Glaswegian drunk's word of choice would be 'pal' as in 'see you pal...'), I used to work for someone who called people 'chum' when he was being a bit agressive and I really didn't like it.