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The Power of the Scots!; Do you fancy a wee bit?
Topic Started: Oct 30 2013, 07:57 PM (561 Views)
magical_mist
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Out of Dorm
Right this is just for fun!

I'm Scottish and from about 20 miles away from Simone's birthplace of Stirling, but even I find Helen's accent insanely sexy! It made me reflect on some Scottish observations from BG.

First of all, no one apart from Dr Thomas ever mentions anything about Helen being Scottish - when he jokes about how much she can drink ("that's the Scots fae ye!"). This is despite the fact that so many fans love her voice. Also contrast this to when the spikey haired Peckham Boot Gang Scot turns up, Shaz immediately makes a light hearted comment about her being from Haggisland or something - one that she lives to regret unfortunately. Who can forget Nikki's appeal court barrister Maureen being Scottish! Everyone around the world must now accept that the Scots are the sexiest sounding, hardest drinking and legally proficient race ever! The Scots saved Nikki! :actress

Another thing I picked up on when watching the DVD extras: Simone appears to sound more Scottish than Helen - just bear with me so I can explain! A few times when she's not in character she will speak in her non-Helen voice and it comes out more fluid and loose than Helen's dialogue. For example there is one outtake she says to Mandana in a lighthearted way "that was great, I really believed you". You can here the grrr sound much more than you would in Helen's dialogue. This is not totally a surprise to me though as I've heard lots of Scots actors straighten out their speaking for acting purposes, I even do it when I'm on the phone at work sometimes! Anyway hope you enjoyed my comments.
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Prairiegirl
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I have to admit that I agree that the Scottish accent is totally hot. It is always interesting to me that the Scottish thing gets so little play in the show and in the development of Helen's character. I wish we got to see more of the quirky things that define the boundaries of a person. Like has she always liked salmon? And what does she use on her hair to get it so shiny and get it to stay in place so perfectly?

And her barrister is Scottish also, which is totally cool. Again, totally random? Or given there are about 5 million Scots and probably fewer with that accent, is there a connection? Again, I want a back story!

From my totally lame-o perspective, the Scottish accent is very cool, one of the best accents I can imagine in the English language. I think back to the "Sex in the City" episode where Samantha sleeps with the guy from Edinburgh accent despite not actually understanding anything he says and I can totally groove with that. So, yes, Magic, I bow to the east and admit that the Scots are the sexiest sounding and legally proficient race ever. I will hang onto the award for the hardest drinking though...I think that one is up for debate....

I have to get the DVD's now as well as the book so I can catch the interviews to see if she changes her accent or softens it for the show. It is a bummer if she is but now I have to go catch it.

So Magic, why do you soften your accent. It is funny - I have a bit of the woman from the movie Fargo (not nearly as pronounced but a bit of it) in me and when I talk with people nationally, I often play it up more than play it down. Maybe a bit of regional pride but it is fun when they catch the occasional "you becha" or "yah" coming out. Is there any sort of bias against the accent that would make someone play it down? Again, this comes back to the question of accents and the politics around them.

I will also admit despite being literally one-quarter of the globe away, I can buy haggis from a place easy walking distance from my house. I am a fan of Scotland, although not so much of the haggis.
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magical_mist
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Prairie Girl - I'm heartened to hear you say you think the Scots accent is hot - thank you - but it only seems to really work that way when you are not actually in the country where everyone pretty much sounds the same!
You have an excellent point about the minutiae of Helen. Is there a pencil sharpener in the crap drawer? Does she bring her salad box into work in a cool bag or does she store it in the staff fridge? Hee hee - we'll never know!

The Scottish barrister (forget her name right now) always amuses me slightly as her dad is quite famous in Scotland http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Beattie so as soon as I see her I think of her dad! Still she argues Nikki's case and gets her oot.

I might have slightly overstated Helen/Simone's accent change - it's not THAT different, but I suppose it's part of acting technique - you put on the clothes, alter your body language/posture and perhaps change your voice to suit. A Helen sentence is a pre-written line from a script that they have probably rehearsed a few times; a Simone sentence is her naturally just speaking to Mandana or whoever. You might not hear the difference in tone or whatever if you're not used to hearing Scottish accents a lot. However I do think Simone's own voice on more recent interviews sounds different from back then.

I wouldn't say there is any bias against my accent but I occasionally soften my accent as I speak with people from all over the world in my job, and it makes it a little easier for people eg from India to speak to me if I try to straighten it out a bit to sound more like the English they might be used to hearing. I do love to hear other people's accents though, I used to work with a woman from Arizona and I simply loved it when she said "Y'all" I also love to listen to the South African accent.
On haggis - I'm a vegetarian so I don't eat it but you can buy a veggie version which is good - try that! Now I want to know if Helen would buy it. I'm going to say yes. I hope Nikki doesn't find a reason to argue about it with her.
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Prairiegirl
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Magic - let me confirm that Scottish accents are totally hot. Just in case you needed confirmation. Now you have it. Come to the United States and you will find it will get you pretty much anything you want here.

Now I do get that it probably loses its attractiveness when everyone speaks that way. Sort of the downside I guess.

I hadn't thought of Helen having a crap drawer but she must have. Her house is so clean and tidy that it is hard to imagine. There is that scene where it looks like she is coming in from jogging for example - so I always have her pegged as that person who always brushes and flosses twice a day religiously but she must have a crap drawer anyway. And you assume she brings her lunch because if not, it is prison food. Or do you think she would eat prison food in solidarity? Hmm... I have to take another look at that briefcase she has to see if a salad would fit in there.

I looked up the Scottish barrister's father. Her name is Maureen Beattie and her father is Johnny Beattie. On wikipedia, he has awesome knees. And her accent is totally awesome too. I don't know about his.

Once you talked about Simone's accent changing, I did go look her up on Youtube and it is different - softened as you said - on some of the things she did. I'm waiting for Philomena to come out so I can check it out there. But you were right, it is different from now and back then in Bad Girls. I wondered if for Helen she was just speaking naturally or if there was some back story that had that character specifically from Scotland. I have been meaning to get a copy of the book to see if it has any more back story but it may be another one of those things that we will never know.

I do like different accents too. I don't get too many South African but we do get some Southern where I am, although we are much closer to Canada than the American South. We have a lot of immigrants too so get a lot of different accents that way.

On haggis, given that it is traditionally cooked in a sheep's stomach, I'm thinking vegetarian haggis is cooked in a giant cabbage leaf? And it is made without all the sheep's offal? Sounds like an improvement.

You implied Helen could be a vegetarian? She did go for salmon though, so she could at least be a no meat person. I would assume she would do for moral reasons, which would fit her personality. Nikki strikes me as an omnivore though. Now something else to watch for the next time I throw one of these on. Magic - do you do the vegetarian thing for moral reasons or other reasons?
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magical_mist
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Right Prarie Girl - I'm back on the case - literally. I came across a video on You Tube with a snippet of Simone's accent - round about 6 mins in - she's responding to Mandana's disappointment with her own acting I think - oh and she says a wee swear word just before the Grrr so if you're sensitive about that then don't watch it. I don't really like these kind of videos as it tends to ruin the show for me a bit when I watch it again but if you want to hear it listen closely at around 6 mins. Interested to hear what you think!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUbmVk2L_Ns
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magical_mist
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Right Prarie Girl - I'm back on the case - literally. I came across a video on You Tube with a snippet of Simone's accent - round about 6 mins in - she's responding to Mandana's disappointment with her own acting I think - oh and she says a wee swear word just before the Grrr so if you're sensitive about that then don't watch it. I don't really like these kind of videos as it tends to ruin the show for me a bit when I watch it again but if you want to hear it listen closely at around 6 mins. Interested to hear what you think!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUbmVk2L_Ns
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Prairiegirl
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Just for future reference, I am way past sensitive. I listened and you can hear it. I had checked her out in something later in her career and the accent is much more what sounds like "mainstream" British English. At least to my loutish American ear.

http://m.youtube.com/results?q=simone%20lahbib&sm=3

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Prairiegirl
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Just for future reference, I am way past sensitive. I listened and you can hear it. I had checked her out in something later in her career and the accent is much more what sounds like "mainstream" British English. At least to my loutish American ear.

http://m.youtube.com/results?q=simone%20lahbib&sm=3

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ElspethR
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Cool discussion!

Are you saying Simone is in Philomena as I have resisted this but now I may go, esp. as people have told me that despite having a Judi Denchism and particularly a Steve Cooganism, it is very good.

I can't imagine Helen's character having any other accent, glad this is an international opinion. I can always hear Scots in Simone's voice, though sometimes it's more lilting and subtle than others. I think I do pick up subtleties of accent.

I think Stella Gonad who was in House of Eliot has a lovely Scots accent, but she didn't use it for the show... though on the French and Saunders take off, Jennifer did the Scots. Stella is from Greenock, West Scotland.

My favourite accent in Scotland is what I call the Morningside accent, a part of Edinburgh, a creamy burr.

I accepted Helen's crap draw, though I can see why it might seem a little out of character, but I think she chucks things she doesn't want to think about in one place, and that's emotional as well as material.

Has anyone been to Stirling? (Obviously magical mist has!) I thought of Simone as much as Mary, Queen of Scots.
Edited by ElspethR, Mar 24 2014, 10:18 PM.
Elspeth

author of Parallel Spirals

http://parallel-spirals.webs.com/
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Prairiegirl
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Have not seen Philomena yet - waiting for a streaming option. Argh - I am not patient.

Elspeth, what you mean by Helen's crap draw?

I have not been to Stirling but have seen pictures. It is on my bucket list. Have to finish paying off the house - for the third time...sigh. Did I mention I am not patient?
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magical_mist
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Elspeth R - Yes Simone is in Philomena - I haven't seen it yet but I do believe it's only a small part but I'm sure worthy of a watch anyway. Stella Gonet is from my neck of the woods! I think she's a wee bit posher sounding than me though :-)

Prarie Girl - Yes I've been to Stirling, not for a long time now though. It's most famous I would say for it's large castle and maybe for Simone! The crap drawer is mentioned in the very first episode when Sean calls a stressed Helen while she is at work and she's annoyed at being interrupted by him when he's only looking for a pencil sharpenener. H tells him to look in the crap drawer! Everyone has one :-)
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Prairiegirl
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I have seen the castle in pictures. I'm a couple years from getting there I will get there. The castle looks amazing though. For folks who have been there, what is it like?

Is Simone famous there?

And yes, everyone has a crap drawer. Possibly more than one. I just redid my kitchen and am trying to be disciplined and not let any drawer become another crap drawer...
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