Sunday, September 30, 2007

They Hate D.V.D.'s Accent in Arizona

Can't really count this one, seeing as it is not a Brit doing the complaining, but still -- two in one day!

The Arizona Republic, Sept. 30, 2007, Network TV is suddenly foreign affair

"Still, you have to wonder: Is Jupiter aligning with Mars? Is this some kind of karmic payback for Dick Van Dyke's atrocious British accent in Mary Poppins?"

See, a Brit wouldn't call it a "British" accent, but would narrow it down to "Cockney" or "London", while on the other hand, Americans think Brits have only one accent.

Time elapsed since premiere of Mary Poppins:

15,737 days.

Time elapsed since someone mentioned D.V.D.'s accent:

0 days!

See, it's funny; "The Spoof" says so.

The Spoof, Sept 29, 2007,

Eh, it's not really the news media, just a half-assed humor web page called The Spoof, but I'll count it as a mention. It's really an indictment of how tired the joke is, when you weigh it against all the other tired jokes in the piece.

"Mr Edward's altruistic behaviour appeared to have the full backing of his wife. Talking in the kind of accent not heard in London since Dick Van Dyke's 'Bert' in Mary Poppins, Jane Edwards said..."

Oh, who cares what she said. It's a limp attempt at making fun of... something or other. Can anyone tell me what this page is lampooning and why it is supposed to be funny? If anyone can, I will retract the following statement: "I apologize for posting it."

However, I don't have to retract the following shameful statistics:

Time elapsed since premiere of Mary Poppins:

15,737 days.

Time elapsed since a Brit mentioned D.V.D.'s accent:

9 days

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Prevalent D.V.D.-style Patois

Manchester Evening News, "Academy date for Jack the lad", Gary Ryan
Sept 20, 2007

"This summer, Radio One hammered a tune called LDN Is A Victim, which satirised how privileged and monied people have co-opted the Big Smoke's music scene. Cribbing its tune and title from Kate Nash's Caroline Is A Victim and Lily Allen's LDN, it attacked the prevalent Dick Van Dyke-style faux Jamie T/Mike Skinner patois."

Time elapsed since premiere of Mary Poppins:

15,729 days.

Time elapsed since a Brit mentioned D.V.D.'s accent in the press:

11 days

Monday, September 17, 2007

D.V.D. Confuses Gmail Spam Filter

I set up a Google alert for any news items on "Dick Van Dyke", with other keywords like "cockney" and "accent" and "Poppins".

Much to my surprise, Gmail's filter spotted the words "Dick" and "Dyke", and decided those messages were spam.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Daniel Radcliffe does not want to sound like D.V.D.

From Variety, September 11, 2007:

Daniel Radcliffe debuted his first muggle role since being cast as Harry Potter at the DGA premiere of "December Boys" on Thursday.

"I was nervous about being with a whole new film crew and that they'd expect me to be some sort of spoiled brat," Radcliffe said.

The young actor also worried about nailing an Australian accent for his latest pic. "It's very easy to make an accent a caricature," he said. "I didn't want to sound like Dick Van Dyke in 'Mary Poppins.'"

Apparently, D.V.D.'s cockney accent was so bad that it can have an effect on an actor trying to sound Australian!

Time elapsed since premiere of Mary Poppins:

15,719 days.

Time elapsed since a Brit mentioned D.V.D.'s accent in the press:

2 days

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Crest of the MODVDA

I'm still learning how to use The Gimp, so it took several days of tinkering to finish the ministry's crest. And here it is:

Friday, September 7, 2007

D.V.D. called "Godfather of Awful East Enders"

The Telegraph says the award for the worst accent in cinema history goes to:

1 Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins (1964)

The transitory nature of theatrical performances means that even the most abominable stage accents tend to be forgotten as the years pass. Film, of course, is another matter - so, as she prepares to adopt a London twang for her Eliza Doolittle on Broadway, Claire Danes will have to look to past movies for lessons in How Not To Do It, and above all to the Godfather of awful East Enders, Dick Van Dyke.

It feels so predictable to have him at number one, but there's just no way round it: the Missouri-born actor's stab at cockney remains the most extra-terrestrial accent ever committed to film - not English, not American, but something from another dimension.

He delivered such immortal lines as " 'Ello, 'ello, 'ello, 'eavy weather brewin' at number 17 and no mistake" very much like a Clanger on crack.

Bonus points for the title of the article: "Irritable vowels".

Time elapsed since Mary Poppins premiere:

43 years, 9 days.

Time elapsed since last complaint spotted in British media:

6 days.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Mockney Ride

An English friend who works for Tussaud's Group emailed to inform the ministry about an awful mockney moment on Spirit of London ride at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum:

Didn't want to mention it - but the heck. The Spirit of London ride has a cockney paparazzi photographer who says "Oi, Oi, Oi blah blah blah" (can't quite remember the exact words, but something to make you look whilst he takes a picture). THAT cockney accent is internally recognised as also being truly awful. It was supposedly 'inspired by' Michael Caine's accent...

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Who Has a Worse Accent?

As bad -- Don Cheadle (according to the Daily Mail):

Don Cheadle reprises yet again his hilarious Dick van Dyke cockney, though belated realisation of just how bad it is means that he has altered it slightly.

It now sounds like Rolf Harris playing Martin Luther King.

Worse -- Sean Connery (according to Empire Magazine, as cited on the BBC web page):

"Whether he's a Russian sub captain (The Hunt for Red October) or even an English King (First Knight and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves), always that baritone Highland burr remains," says the magazine in its August edition.

Dick van Dyke's much-maligned efforts to imitate an east London cockney accent in Mary Poppins gained him second place in the poll.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Encouraging Bands to Talk More Like D.V.D.

From the Guardian. August 10, 2007, "Mockney Reject":

"Where Daniels convinces as the cocksure London geezer, Albarn offers a toe-curlingly hammy performance, somewhere between a schoolboy production of Oliver! and Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins."

...andd July 15, 2007, "Mia, Kala":

"...the Wilcannia Mob, a group of Aboriginal street kids with accents that are rooted closer to Dick Van Dyke's cockney than everyday Australian."

...and April 7th, 2007, "Camden is a victim":

"Taking umbrage with the affected London drawl that defines the scene, the anonymous rapper on the song points out that 'this is a middle-class, art school thing/so put on your common accents and let's all sing', before skipping into the catchy chorus. 'The thing that "inspired" this tune is certain artists, and I'm sure they're being slightly encouraged by their labels to sound more like Dick Van Dyke than they are.'"

I'm sure the speaker meant "than they do."

Establishment of the MODVDA

On August 29, 1964, Walt Disney Productions released the musical film Mary Poppins, based on the popular books by P. L. Travers. After the premiere, mere minutes after "The End" appeared on the screen, Travers turned to Walt Disney to express her satisfaction with the film -- all except for that Mr. Van Dyke. Completely miscast for the part, she said. Would have to be replaced, she insisted. Walt just smiled. After two years of working with the prickly Travers, he had a film in the can, and there was nothing she could do about it.

That incident, 43 years ago as of this writing, marked the very first complaint about Dick Van Dyke's cockney accent. And the Brits have complained about it every day since.

Now, granted, Van Dyke's cockney accent is pretty damn awful. At times, he sounds more like he comes from Perth than from London, and occasionally, he sounds like no human being has ever sounded in the history of speech pathology. Henry Higgins would not know what the hell to make of him. But as far as inaccuracies go, the film is full of others. Greenwich does not set its time by the cannon fire of Admiral Boom; Nannies can't fly; small children do not compose help wanted advertisements in verse; and (I know this from experience) the wait staff at most English cafes consists of entirely of Polish immigrants, not dancing penguins.

And yet, four decades on, the British continue to whinge about Mr. Van Dyke's accent. Hardly a week goes by when I don't see or hear a reference in the British media to the indignity the nation has suffered due to his vocal chords. Jesus Christ, why don't they just get Michael Caine or someone re-dub the damn thing and add it as an alternate soundtrack on all future DVD releases? What do they want, an official apology from the U.S. State Department? Dick Van Dyke extradited so his severed head can be paraded around London on a pike? (I have to admit, that would be a glorious sight -- have you seen his magnificent white moustache lately?)

Thus, the establishment of this blog, which shall document the English ire about this crime against the Queen's Tongue as She Ought Be Spoke. I shall document complaints about Mr. Van Dyke's accent wherever I find them. I shall find them in the papers; I shall find them on the podcasts; I shall find them in the fields and in the streets; I shall find them in the hills -- I shall never surrender... at least not until the bloody Brits finally shut up about a 40 year old Disney movie.

This week's complaint comes from an Independent review of Woody Allen's latest film:

"No one joked about (Colin) Farrell and (Ewan) McGregor's Dick Van Dyke-like London accents..."

This is a particularly nice, snobby comment, as it really says "McGregor, who is Scottish, and Farrell, who is Irish, can't do a proper working-class London accent, making them just as absurd as Dick Van Dyke, that American who, as we all well know, made a half-assed attempt nearly half a century ago, the fuckin' BASTARD!"

More to follow, I'm sure.