Cheryl ‘Chezza’ Cole’s planned world domination took a swift kick in the pills this week, after she got the boot as a judge on American X Factor over fears that Americans wouldn’t understand her accent. There was obviously concern that dense viewers would become a bemused mess if Chezza complimented a eighteen year old soprano by stating ‘Howay, I fort youz reet good, pet’. But does the Geordie accent hold people back from making waves on other shores? Let’s look at certain people who have tried to become success stories both home and away…….
Paul Gasgcoine is multi-talented, as both Britain’s most loved Lindisfarne contributor and visitor-to-crime-scenes-with-special-brew-and-fishing-rods. He really is the ‘doyenne’ of those particular activities. However, he also used to play a bit of footy footy ball ball in his former years, and in 1992 secured in a move to Rome based side Lazio. Gazza’s spell in Rome was turbulent to say to least. With loss of form, homesickness, injury and general confusion in Italy over who or what a ’Jimmy Five Bellies’ was, Gazza’s brief sojourn in Rome ended almost as quickly as it started, and he returned to Glasgow Rangers in 1995.
Furthermore, Paul Gascoigne’s singing career never really took off either. After cutting his teeth with Lindisfarne’s ‘Fog on The Tyne’, Gazza went solo with ‘Geordie Boys’; a quasi-house/rap number about the dwellers of Newcastle, with a video looking like a cross between an episode of Booze Britain and an advert for a gay chat-up line. Whether or not Paul was looking to cash in on the mid 90s homo-erotic party market is unconfirmed. Other than having some novelty appreciation in the UK, it failed to do much Stateside. Thus proving that Gascoigne is definitely an ‘English thing’.
Ant & Dec
Despite their combined height of 3ft, Ant & Dec are as much a tenet of British culture as Shakespeare, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and On The Buses (with Reg Varney). After outgrowing Byker Grove, they embarked on a chart-stomping singing career in which as PEEEJJEEERRR N DUNKK’NNN, LIKKEEEE, they formed a 2 man ‘Take That’; wearing nonsensical fashion and releasing novelty dancefloor number ‘Let’s Get Ready To Rhumble’, in which despite carefully considered caution to watch them ‘wreck the mic’, not a single item of the stage apparatus was damaged. Anti-climactic, to say the least. Why anyone thought that two 3′ 4″ lads in ill-fitting clothes, curtain haircuts and red visors should attempt the tricky genre of ‘rap’ is beyond me, but they did.
Like ‘Geordie Boys’, the track had novelty value which saw people the length and breath of the country purchase it, and to this day it’s still the ‘go home’ song at kids parties. To be fair to the Geordie duo, I’m still yet to hear a song with a better line than; ‘Your sister. Your mother. Your brother. Your mother’. It was nominated for a BRIT award, so Christ knows what else was nominated that year. Keith Chegwin probably had a track out. And the Vengaboys. Anyway, it did fuck all in the states due to it being abject rubbish by two boys that looked like they’d gotten lost on the way to scout club, so they ditched the music and began presenting TV.
After heaps of success in the UK, the pair’s big break in the States came in the form of game show Wanna Bet?, where four celebrities are given a $25,000 to bet on the success/failure of ordinary Americans to complete outrageous stunts. So, You Bet, but twenty years too late. The series flopped massively, being beaten in the ratings by repeats of Big Brother 10, America’s Got Talent and Spanish language series ‘Fuego En La Sangre’. Their only other gig abroad was to present a ‘Pride of Britain’ award to a troop in Afghanistan, in which en route they were reportedly ‘attacked by the Taliban’. It was just about the only move the Taliban has ever done which parts of the country could sympathise with.
TV shows have proved to be a goldmine for the Newcastle tourism board, with series like Auf Wierdeshen, Pet!, Byker Grove and Our Friends in the North displaying such highlights of the city as a dockyard, a youth center and dodgy 70s nightclubs. But film has proved to be a tougher nut to crack for Geordies. Janet McTeer, however, is bucking that trend.
Although mainly working in theatre, Mcteer’s foray into film saw her pick up an Oscar nomination for her role in Tumbleweeds; a film about a woman who escapes continually from town to town with her daughter after failed relationships. It’s one of those proper arty films where fuck all happens but we all end up richer for the experience. I think.
Solo musician, tantric sex spearhead and inspiration behind a T-shirt I owned with ‘Fuck The Police’ emblazed across it, which nearly got me removed from a flight from Alice Springs to Sydney; Sting and I have had a chequered relationship. Sting gained his nickname from a black and yellow sweater he wore whilst part of some ponsey jazz band in Newcastle. When asked if he is ever referred to by his birth name, ‘Gordon’, he responded by saying;
“My children call me Sting, my mother calls me Sting, who is this Gordon character?”
What. A. Prick.
Initially formed as a new wave punk band, the Police recruited Sting as their lead vocalist, who felt that white-reggae aimed at middle class dads in bootcut jeans was DEFINITELY the direction in which the band needed to go. Sting was like the original hipster; Prince-like pseudonym, albums named things like Outlandos d’Amour; he’s the sort of chap that would stick a blank piece of paper to a blank wall and call it art. ‘A study in white’, or something. Regardless, this irksome nob proved to be quite successful worldwide, ascertaining that the infamous northern tinge is no roadblock for worldwide domination.
Wrestling, eh? Bloody hell. Sports entertainment, choreographed violence or ‘greased up blokes pretending to fight’, whatever you want to call it, it’s a massive industry, and not one that the patrons of the Tyne have neglected to enter.
Ben Satterly is a professional wrestler from Newcastle, better known by his in-ring name as ‘PAC’. He is the current Dragon Gate USA ‘Open The Brave Gate’ Champion. Now, fuck knows what that means, but he looks like he could beat the shit out of me, so for my own safety I’m gonna say that it’s a very impressive accolade. Congrats!
For me, the idea of a ‘Geordie’ wrestler is something this guy has neglected. The generic looks is fine and all, but if he came out to ‘Fog On The Tyne’ in full shell suit, swiggin a bottle of Newcy Brown and bellowing, ‘Ahh mmm the reyal Un-er-ticker, pet’, then it would be a gimmick that would pull in the hardcore fans, the casual fans, the lot. As mature as a wrestling audience may be, everyone loves a regional funny. Everyone.
Who? You may well ask. Despite sounding like a Slovakian railway station, Abhisit Vejjajiva shows that when armed with a Geordie accent, not only can you gain success in film and TV, but you can run a country. A FUCKING COUNTRY!
Born in Newcastle, Vejjajiva is the current Prime Minister of Thailand. Yes, that’s right; Thailand is run by a Geordie Boy. He attended Eton and Oxford before enrolling in Thailand’s Ramkhamhaeng University, and started a career – first in the military – then in politics.
It’s a refreshing change from most of Newcastle’s politicians. Possibly the most famous of Newcastle’s ex-councillors, Lembik Opik, is undoubtedly best known for dating a Cheeky Girl, dodging puddings on Celebrity Come Dine With Me and a bromance with Linford Chrsity on I’m a Celebrity. Experience of which aren’t linked to most people described as a ‘political heavweight’.
So simply put, the Geordie accent is by no means a hindrance to aspiring politicians, wrestlers, and twattish musicians. Despite success ranging from Whitley Bay to Shitley Bay, most of the continental failures have mainly been down to the person, not because ‘How’ay the lads’ crops up in their common patois. Perhaps, Americans thought Cheryl Cole was just a bit shit. Which, to be fair, she is. A bit. Arguably.