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James D. Irwin is a British writer based in the Hampshire countryside. His work has appeared online, in print, and on stage. He can be contacted at [email protected]

42 responses to “A Belated Audio/Visual Birthday Gift to TNB”

  1. sheree says:

    What a lovely speaking voice you have.
    Cheers!

  2. Very funny–EXCELLENT voice!

  3. Greg Olear says:

    I enjoyed this tremendously, old chap, even though I didn’t understand a single word you said…

  4. Gloria says:

    I’m sorry, can you repeat that?

    Actually, what I learned from this video is that the blurrier you are, the easier you are to understand.

  5. The gift of your voice, I love it! And I’m going to drink all of my liquor from a tea kettle from now on. Irwin style.

    • James D. Irwin says:

      Not a kettle! This might be a slight translation issue. A teapot is different to a kettle.

      Incidentally the idea to do a video post was inspired/totally stolen from yours.

      • But … can I still drink my liquor from a tea *kettle*? Maybe this would be less posh. Maybe this would be what Guy Ritchie would do.

        • James D. Irwin says:

          I think the posh thing to do is use proper tumblers, rather than pouring from a ceramic teapot into novelty coca-cola glasses.

          The un-posh, Guy Ritchie thing to do would be to put the bottle down and drink lager from the can.

          I can’t imagine the whisky tasting very nice from a metal kettle. Or a plastic one.

  6. Uche Ogbuji says:

    Good show, I say, or should I say “dat was a right wicked fing tho, ya get me, bruv?” Also I presume the teapot whiskeying must have resulted in a right minging headache.

    Anyway good to hear your voice. Maybe when next I’m in England we can do another video for TNB, based on the old Mind Your Language skit, with you as Mr. Brown me as the Education inspector aka putative “African” 😀

    (Warning: gross non-PC stereotyping, and hilarious, to boot. Key bits at about 10:35 and 16:50)

    • James D. Irwin says:

      funnily enough by the time I’d eaten a few cupcakes and had a cup of tea and undertaken the long walk home in the chilly early hours of the morning I was good and sober by the start of the day. There aren’t many things I’m good at, but drinking whisky is one of them.

      I’m still yet to meet a TNBer in person. Let me know whenver you’re back. I don’t live far from London.

      I can’t quite tell if we’re supposed to be laughing at the racism or the racists in that video…

      • Uche Ogbuji says:

        Both, it seems to me. I always found MyL hilarious because it genuinely felt to be a case of laughing at *ourselves*, including our stereotypes. No one really escapes being the butt of the jokes. It was very popular in Nigeria, as well as another show that would shock the modern sensitivity, Mixed Blessings (makes All in the Family look like Sesame Street). In turn in Nigeria we had e.g. Icheokwu, with its barn-broad stereotypes of white colonial administrators. As I’ve so often said, it’s a shame (and leads to dangerous accumulating of tensions) that we’ve made it utterly taboo to make fun of cultural perspectives as well as to make fun of making fun of cultural perspectives. Anyway I realize now that I completely derailed your piece. It wasn’t intentional. Sorry about that.

        • James D. Irwin says:

          This is what TNB has always been about, at least in my mind. The joy is in the unexpected digressions that come up in the comments.

          I’ve been offline for a good while, which worked out quite well because I recently watched a debate on television which gives me something to bring to your last point.

          The debate was on ‘regional racism’, and whether making fun of Northerners or Southerners or Brummies, Scousers etc counted as racism. There was someone from Manchester arguing quite aggressively that it was racism. Others argued that to say that sort of undermines genuine racism i.e. having a scouse character in a shell suit and perm in a comedy sketch isn’t quite as bad as an employer discriminating against someone who was black or asian. It’s quite hard to agree one way or the other— the aggressive mancuian had a point in that the principles are the same, even if the consequences are different.

          And this brings me to your point about the taboo of making fun of various cultural perspectives. I live with a Geordie, who is about as far removed from the Geordie stereotype you can be. One of the small joys of life is the friendly piss taking from either side of the North-South divide. I’m from the West Country myself, which is home to many an unfair stereotype. I’ve had various Welsh friends and made all the old, not very funny sheep-shagging jokes etc. It sounds strange, but this sort of stuff brings us closer together… friendly banter… extending from lighthearted fun to making fun of those stereotypes. It’s not malicious or mean spirited but no-one really has a problem because hower great the cultural differences between us, we’re all white.

          I have friends from Muslim backgrounds, and a few black friends. There is absolutely no way one could think about including them in this cultural mockery because that would be properly racist. But I would argue it’s almost just as racist to exclude them from this.

          Actually I had a friend at school who was a second generation Mauritian Hindu immigrant who told more racist jokes than the most racist white people I’ve known. He encouraged it and revelled in it and because of that we had permission to make fun of him, and he of our whiteness. As such we were much better, closer friends. It was inclusive banter, not 4 white kids and their almost token ethnic friend.

          Another example of cross-cultural mockery with positive results. Here at TNB. I’m one of two regular English contributors to the site and comments. A lot of the bonding with the readers has come from the friendly Britain-America ‘rivalry’ and cultural sterotypes.

          This really is a long way around of saying ‘I agree with you.’

  7. Erika Rae says:

    Nice one, James D. Irwin. Actually, this was a lovely present, even though the only part I understood was the part you spoke in Mississippian.

    I’m breaking out the PG Tips now.

    • James D. Irwin says:

      I condone the drinking of PG Tips, although I’d recommend Tetley’s. Which I suspect probably isn’t as globally available. But it’s more flavoursome. And obviously Twining’s is several steps above.

      I care for tea more than probably seems reasonable.

      • Uche Ogbuji says:

        I prefer the flavor of PG Tips over that of Tetley’s. I think Tetley’s is more of a blend tea, and the Darjeeling/Assam is clearer in PG Tips. Of the popular, blended-taste teas my favorite is Typhoo. But any of the above is better than drinking that abomination, Lipton’s. You can get both Tetley’s and PG Tips in the US. I haven’t seen Typhoo here yet, though. Ultimately, I prefer drinking single-locale teas (my favorites are Ceylon or Assam) from fair trade sources, such as we can get at our great local Tajikistani tea house in Boulder 🙂

        • James D. Irwin says:

          My family were always a PG Tips family when I was growing up. We changed only recently. I find Tetley’s taste strongers. Typhoo is also good. Last year when I was making a film over a few days at a friends house I was drinking Typhoo, which actually might taste better than Tetley’s. Tetley’s is more commonly available, second only to PG Tips. But Tetley’s tends to be on sale a lot. I’ve never seen Lipton’s anywhere, but I’ve heard a lot of horrible things about it.

          When I can afford it though it’s always Twinings.

  8. Great to hear your speaking voice, Irwin. Also nice to see you toting your mug of tea at the beginning of the video. James Bond couldn’t have done it better.

  9. D.R. Haney says:

    I’ve heard your voice before, James, on Facebook, so I’m exempt from commenting — except, oddly, I’m commenting. The American bit especially cracked me up. I sound much the same way when mocking Americans, as I do constantly, though it’s a bit unfair, seeing that they make such easy targets.

    • James D. Irwin says:

      I’d forgotten about that. It’s fashionable to give recycled gifts. Probably.

      Of the few accents I can pull off fairly convincingly one is Irish and the other is a more subtle American accent. Also Mayor Quimby’s slightly exaggerated Boston accent.

  10. Just tried to comment but it didn’t stick. One more time:

    As before, I would like to state that everything contained within this item is correct (and I actually watched it before commenting).

    I finally tried jellied eels a few years ago and was disappointed. I’d expected them to be unspeakably revolting, but they were merely mildly unpleasant.

    Further educational material:

    Helleau, We’re Cockneys

    Simon Evans

  11. Can I leave a comment?

    • James D. Irwin says:

      Yes. I feel I should add more because simply ‘yes’ sounds a little curt, but there isn’t much to add other than the affirmative response.

  12. Apparently so!

    As before, I would like to state that everything contained within this item is correct (and I actually watched it before commenting).

    I finally tried jellied eels a few years ago and was disappointed. I’d expected them to be unspeakably revolting, but they were merely mildly unpleasant.

    Further educational material:

    Helleau, We’re Cockneys

    Simon Evans

  13. New Orleans Lady says:

    First, LOVED THIS!

    Second, is that the mug you use all the time? Can I send you one with the American flag? Just because. Oh! I can send on with the confederate flag on it. Wait! I guess it doesn’t HAVE to be a flag…Let me know.

    Third, Aiden said, “what is he saying?! he talks weird and I don’t know why but I kind of like it.” He laughed the entire time.

    Last, you have a wonderful speaking voice and as always, you made me laugh.

    Much love Mr. Sterling.

    • James D. Irwin says:

      First: Thank you.

      Second: Sort of. I have others, but I use that more often because it’s the best mug. It’s not very thick, just the right size, and appropriately patriotic. The rest are all small, standard mugs in varying plain colours. You can, but I will only drink coffee out of it (which I do do).

      Third: if I’m ever published I would like to use that quote on the cover.

      Last: Thank you, an I’m glad.

      • New Orleans Lady says:

        Aiden and I will both be honored WHEN you’re published.

        • James D. Irwin says:

          I do hope it happens. I’ve started writing a new book (I’m still unsure if it’s a novel or non-fiction) and I think it’s got a decent shot at going somewhere eventually.

          Funnily enough I was thinking about covers a few days ago. I don’t intend to try and get CCB published, but I am in the process of editing it so it can become an e-book just so it’s out there and available. It’s going to take a while now because of all the stuff I have to do, but I’d very much like to use your blue cactus painting as a cover image if I ever get around to finishing it…

        • New Orleans Lady says:

          Yay! Good, use it!

  14. Odd.

    What I’ve been trying to say for the last two days is: Everything in this item is correct (and I actually watched it before commenting).

    I finally tried jellied eels a few years ago and was disappointed. I’d expected them to be unspeakably revolting, but they were merely mildly unpleasant.

    • James D. Irwin says:

      When David Beckham trained with Tottenham last year, on his last day, as a gift, he bought the whole squad jellied eels. There were mixed reactions, and I dare say the main reason several players immediately sought transfers back to mainland Europe…

      As for links: no idea. Probably another technical glitch.

  15. Now I can’t post neat links. I’ll try them without the HTML.

    Helleau, We’re Cockneys: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BV8KfpE3BA

    and

    Simon Evans: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWb5Qx1X3as

  16. Can we not post links any more?

  17. I was in the middle of deep-fryin’ a turducken, drinkin’ a Natty Light, and makin’ sum anti-Obamacare signs when I read this. I spilled beer on muh fave-rit T-shirt, and the baseball cap purt near flew off muh goldurned head from laughin’ so hard, y’all. HIGH-larious!

    I dated a London boy (Hampstead Heath area) for a year, so I understood every word you said. And I love your tea mug. I have three big mugs I use especially for tea time. Tiny little coffee cups just aren’t the same.

    Jellied eels? BARF. What the hell. Who decided that was a good idea?

    xoxo.

    • James D. Irwin says:

      Haha!

      I think my Gran lives around that area.

      I’m very fussy with mugs. There’s too small and too big. I don’t like mugs that are too big because it loses the sweetness. Too small and… well, what’s the point?

  18. Laura says:

    Hilarious! But I wish you had done an impression of a Chav. Is that similar to the Cockney?

    You should sell that voice somewhere…it is fantastic. Maybe make a recording of you reading Three Men in a Boat? 🙂

    • James D. Irwin says:

      Chav and cockney are incredibly similar, in that both have the same poor ennunciation and cause the speaker to sound dense and uneducated. However, chavs tend to incorporate more slang, largely appropriated from rap music— a large part of being a chav involves being a middle class white boy pretending to be a working class black American.

      Thank you… I think someone with a much, much better voice has recorded a Three Men in a Boat audiobook. I do love that book. I was going to add something else but it has completely slipped my mind…

  19. Laura says:

    Hilarious! But I wish you had done an impression of a Chav. Is that similar to the Cockney?

    You should sell that voice somewhere…it is fantastic. Maybe make a recording of you reading Three Men in a Boat? 🙂

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