• Jamie McCarthy

My Real Fake Voice.

18th April 2020.

It changes depending on who I’m talking to

I change it

Even when I try not to

There’s my London voice

My a-bit-scouse’ish voice

My posh middle-class-culture voice

My imitating my Irish parents voice ...

When I make a conscious effort not to change it

In different situations

With different people

It feels fake

I use my London voice in the posh middle class arts place

And it feels like I’m playing a character

Or making a point

The voice I have with my neighbours seems like it’s in quotes in that environment

Because I can speak 'like I belong' if I choose to

If I used my posh voice with my neighbours

I would feel like a dick

(They probably think I sound posh anyway)

My Irish Mum

Was very picky about how we spoke

‘It’s not ‘ouse and ‘air and ‘at

It’s house and hair and hat’

Us kids heard that a lot from her

(The rest of the family called her 'the Lady Mary’)

I went to Grammar School

Heard the ways in which where I came from were laughed at as thick and common

Without realising it my accent changed when I was there

And then again, when I went to college

People would say things like:

‘Oh, I thought you were the eccentric son of a rich businessman’


Speaks posh

Can’t be the son of a nursing assistant and a labourer

There’s a split

My ‘eccentric son of ...’ voice

And my ‘grew up on a council estate, still lives on a council estate voice’

I grew up singing Irish songs in an Irish accent

Or as close as I could get

Until I realised that wasn’t my voice

I was borrowing it

Had no right to it

But I can't sing those songs in an English accent

At weddings and funerals

The Irish son-of on-loan voice rises from my throat

It slips out easy

It’s my fake voice

It feels like it belongs to me

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