I am originally from Brum…and so very proud of it. I grew up in the Westcountry-which I also love A LOT! But my roots are firmly in the Midlands, and it was evident to everyone around us in Somerset that we were not a local family. When my mum yelled;
‘Jenniiiiiiiiiiii can I have a word with yowwww’- well then it was crystal clear.
Now the midlands accent is not to everyone’s taste-but to me it just sounds so wonderfully friendly. I think I initially made that connection because if there is a brummie within 100 yards of us, no matter where we were, including in a restaurant in Bled, Slovenia-my mum would find them. It’s like they were our long lost family (I don’t think they ever were).
But from these instances I too, have come to seek out the fellow midlanders assured that they will be the warmest loveliest people. Obviously this is a positive bias I have…and yes I know lots of people who are incredibly warm and friendly who are not from the Midlands. But I will say this I don’t think I’ve met an unfriendly Brummie yet! (Please don’t ruin this by sending me links to people you know from the Midlands who are mean and cold hearted that will just make me sad)
So, there I was watching Mamma Mia 2 (judge me if you will-but I loved it) and I kept thinking ‘I love Julie Walters, she’s so brilliant’ and then I thought I think this A LOT! I mean she’s bloomin marvellous-I wish she was related to me, and I would get to sit next to her on the couch after stuffing our faces at Christmas and drinking a little too much wine and then playing charades/20 questions and rolling around laughing (in a loving way) at my families’ inability to play any game.
Because that is what I associate with Midlands women (rightly or wrongly)-in my mind they are straight talking, always game for a laugh, no-nonsense, probably have a drink in their hand, but would see getting chips at the end of a night as a given. Julie Walters (or maybe more appropriately the women she plays) make me feel at ease with myself and maybe more impressively confident to be who I am (even when I don’t always have a clue who that is!)
- So when I saw her in Educating Rita in the early 90s at Secondary school-I thought nothing is impossible, we can all write our futures.
- Her role as Billy Elliott’s dance teacher made me a) want to dance and b) fight for and with others for equal rights
- Calendar Girls beautifully showed grief and the role of community
- Mamma Mia reminded me the vital importance of good mates, and how desperately I would love to holiday on a Greek Island
- And Molly Weasley well she basically encapsulates #mumgoals
Now Julie is obviously talented-I mean this woman has skills-but you may have also noticed that she is from the Midlands. Just sayin! And then there is Caitlin Moran-author, journalist and TV writer-she’s sharp, witty and sadly I have just found out not originally from the Midlands-but she was raised in Wolverhampton.
I want Caitlin to be my big sister, in part so I am no longer considered the ‘controversial/argumentative one’ of my family. Also because then I would be able to go to some really amazing parties and meet some great people. But I imagine she has also met some w—— (lets pretend I was thinking of the word ‘willies’ there shall we)
- Her first book ‘how to be a woman’ was pivotal in my understanding of feminism. It made sense of a lot of my own thoughts, and made me laugh and cry with nostalgia-basically the way to my heart.
- Her TV series ‘raised by wolves’ is great-ecentric and love filled and contains all the brilliant drama that being a teen includes, but with the distance that keeps it funny and not anxiety-ridden.
- And her column ‘celebrity watch’ kept me going through my undergrad days, when I was overwhelmed by statistics on human suffering and the cynicism that comes with analysing the charity/development sector.
I love these women for their truth telling, for their perseverance, for going against the status quo, and mainly for their sense of fun.
There are many other brilliant Midlands women;
-My sister in law
-My cousins and aunts
-Anita and Kate (my mums friends who I grew up with)
-Clare (my fellow MA partner in crime)
…and I raise my glass to all of you and I will eat chips later too!