Monthly Archives: May 2007

On Holiday from Thursday 31st

yes, I’m finally off for my holiday in two days’ time. C00l. I’ll be taking my Vaio of course, and I’ll have Internet access where I’m going.

Shame that my digital camera is in Edinburgh, so I won’t be able to take any pics 😦

Anyhow, the plan is to:

I should come back all relaxed 😛

A Nice Web 1.0 site

My friend automatthias sent me a link today to a Speech Accent Archive, where loads of people from all over the world (native and non-native speakers of English) read out the same paragraph and you can either search for a specific accent or browse via three different categories. The ‘researchers’ (i.e. people submitting their reading of the paragraph) are indexed only as [language] [NN], e.g. english1, english2, english3, and so on.

Luckily, there is a very nice Edinburgh sample (english188), which is very well pronounced and sounds very pretty, though I have to say it’s very clean, ‘received pronuncation’ almost, and not what a lot of people around where I live speak like, ken whit ah mean 😛 ?

Anyway, I spent quite a while on the site (probably even 10 minutes!), which for me these days is highly unusual. And guess what: it’s a web 1.0 site. Very straightforward navigation, pretty, and clean. No ‘two-way-interaction’ where I can ‘talk back’ to the site, but instead, mostly educational. It reminded me in fact of a site I created many years ago, at the University of Cologne. I like it.

Though for British accents, the BBC’s Voices Archive is of course much better than the Speech Accent Archive. The Speech Accent Archive doesn’t even link to the Beeb site (they’re so web 1.0 they don’t even have links!).

The only downside to the BBC site is that you have to install sucky, bloaty, RealPlayer in order to be able to listen to it (yes, I know there are alternative players). Anyhow, there are 3 Edinburgh examples on the Beeb site, check them out! I think they are much better than the Edinburgh male on the Speech Accent Archive. Plus loads of other Scottish ones.

London is Aggressive

In the short time I’ve been here, I’ve encountered two instances of aggression in London people (towards me), which makes me think I may need to/want to take up some form of self-defence.

The first time, I think it was last week, was when I was standing in the post office queue, trying to buy a new road tax disc. This woman started verbally attacking a guy queuing behind me as he had apparently said to her young child ‘EXCUSE ME’ when the little boy kept bumping into him. She totally had a go at this guy, raising her voice at him and shouting things like ‘DO NOT BE AGGRESSIVE AND RUDE TOWARDS MY CHILD, DON’T TELL MY CHILD ‘EXCUSE ME”. And so on. I can’t even remember what it is exactly that she said. All I know was it was completely unnecessary and pointlessly aggressive, and she really didn’t stop. So the guy started defending himself but she only got louder and more aggressive, trying to involve other people in the queue.

So I stepped in, stepped towards her and next to the guy and said to her:

Stop being so aggressive.

Of course she then started attacking me and so forth, though I didn’t say anything else. She simply wouldn’t stop though. After another couple of minutes or so I told her again

Stop being so aggressive.

And I whispered in the guy’s ears to simply ignore her. So he did, and the woman stopped.

The second time is actually an ongoing form of aggression of a woman towards me. My BF has a circle of friends which I don’t particularly get on with (I blogged about it here). Now, because I don’t really have anything in common with them, I tend to avoid them.

Lately, a new person has joined the ‘social circle’ and she’s a pain in the ass. She’s in her 40s, single (I think), quite desperate, needy, and attention-seeking. That in itself wouldn’t be so bad. On top of that, however, she has a nasty aggressive streak which to me indicates that she’s quite common, either from a lower-class background or simply not cultured/educated enough to conduct arguments in spoken language, rather than through bodily aggression. We had a bit of an argument about something stupid the first time I met her (last week), and yesterday we saw them again and it escalated a bit.

She gets very touchy-feely with my BF and, while I don’t mind harmless flirting, yesterday her flirting with him was quite aggressive and over the top. I think she does it because she wants to wind me up and also, because she is very needy and has to be in the centre of attention at all times. So, throughout the evening she touched up my BF, e.g. stroked his hair and arm, and getting too close for my liking (My BF is too polite to say anything). When she then started hugging him and kissing him on the cheek, I said to her:

Actually, I don’t like it when you touch him.

Bearing in mind that her sole purpose is to (a) be in the centre of attention and (b) cause me grief, she reacted by hugging him again and kissing him again. I said to her, quite loudly (and probably with a threatening tone in my voice):

Don’t do that again.

She didn’t do it again, but even afterwards she continued to verbally chat him up, saying he was beautiful in body and mind etc. blah blah blah. What I’d like to do is, next time she touches him up, grab her arms, holding both her wrists and tell her calmly not to do it again. She’s like a naughty child. The only thing I’m worried about is her aggressiveness and her simple mind, which might result in her being physically abusive towards me. I just want to resolve the argument and make her understand that her behaviour is inappropriate and unacceptable.

You may say that my BF should have told her to stop touching him, and you have a point. The problem is that my BF is very nice, and he never wants to offend people (it’s kinda a psychological condition – even if he wanted to, he can’t say what he really thinks). Plus, he probably feels a bit flattered by getting all the attention from this lonely woman.

Overall, it’s just another negative aspect of London in general. I think people here are more desperate, unhappy, and therefore, aggressive. I certainly haven’t encountered the sort of behaviour of the woman in the post office, or the simple 40-year-old bunny boiler, in quite some time. And NEVER in Edinburgh. It’s a culture that I find quite unpleasant. I like solving arguments rationally, and not by bringing emotions and aggression into it, and I absolutely cannot bear childish behaviour.

I think I’ll just have to stop seeing my BF’s ‘friends’. If he still wants to see them, fine, if he wants to see them too much, I’m going to fuck off back to Edinburgh. When these people were just boring, i.e. not stimulating, I could just about put up with them. Now that one of them is aggressive and nasty, I really see no point to it as it decreases my quality of life and wastes my time.