Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Lion, the Witch and the Broguedrobe

M: Hello and welcome back to BWAB! Today we'll be talking to Jenna about the first film from The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.

J:  Don't blame me, blame Christmas.

M: So, Jenna, what's the most important thing you think our readers should know about the newest film adaptations of The Chronicles of Narnia?

J: The fact that we only watched the first one, because it's the only one with James McAvoy in it.

M: And how did you feel about his role in particular?

J: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways... First, I'm not in to bestiality, but if I were, Mr. Tumnus and I would lead a very happy life together.

M:  (Pauses for more wine)

Lucky Lucy and Mr. Tumnus
J:  Second, I have to confess that he was not actually my favorite character. I thought the professor was the most congenial personality despite the fact that he bashes Susan's logic skills.

M: Was this your first time seeing the chronicles of Narnia?

J: Actually, no. And having seen it before, I really expected to like it this time around. Boy, was I wrong! I found the religious and anti-science undertones far too distracting to enjoy the fantastical nature of the story. Plus Edmund's a nit-wit.

M: Poor Edmund. Turkish Delight: the downfall of many a good boy. So you weren't taken in by Mr. Liam Neeson's messianic purring?

J: I'm trying to imagine Jesus purring right now...It's not working. But no, I wasn't. He sounded condescending and a little bit smug.

The Pevensies and Liam Neeson (in lion suit)
M: Speaking of, how did you find the brogue? Or brogues?

J:  Honestly, I stopped noticing it after awhile. I mean, everybody had one. It's not like it was special. I liked it, of course, especially James's. (We're on a first name basis.)

M:  Anything else you'd like to add regarding TLWW?

J:  Hmm, I like the BBC version better. The super, straight-laced version. Not that Lucy isn't 'straight-lace,' but you know what I mean.

M: Wonderful. Well, until next time folks...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Brogue in Brooklyntown

Do you ever just get the urge to up and go to NYC on a whim?

I know I do.

At St. Ann's Warehouse, DUMBO
And when by chance I read a few weeks ago that Mr. Cillian Murphy would be making his U.S. stage debut in Brooklyn with a one-man play, written and directed by Enda Walsh, I just could not resist. Mr. Walsh is also the writer of Disco Pigs, the play which first launched Mr. Murphy's acting career those several years ago.

The play was called Misterman and I can safely say it was like nothing I'd ever seen before. True to form for Mr. Walsh, it was quite dark overall. Fortunately, it also had more than a few moments of laugh-out-loud humor and endlessly clever uses of sound, lighting and props. The stage area was exceptional as well, nearly a character unto itself. Truly, the entire converted space of St. Ann's Warehouse seemed expertly utilized. The seating was limited, and very close to the stage, as only about 100 people appeared to fill the sold-out show.

The script provided one brief burst of Gaeilge. I could at least recognize it as such, even if the only word I really managed to understand was "slainte." :) Mr. Murphy's prominent 'brogue' throughout was ideal, though; strong and authentic, but still fairly decipherable to an American ear.

Oh, and did I mention that he was just completely and totally brilliant? The word is 'magnetic,' or perhaps 'electrifying.' Either way, I could not look away...Enrapturing? Enchanting? Just incredible...

Mr. Murphy as Thomas Magill in Misterman
Naturally, the New York Times puts it all more eloquently and thoroughly than I can manage here, but suffice it to say, it was well-worth the trip.

After the play, my mother, (who is a saint for humoring me on this crazy, last-minute trip in the first place), and I found ourselves wandering the streets of DUMBO looking for a cab to take us back to Williamsburg. The crowds had begun to thin, the stores were all closed-up and there were no cabs in sight. My mom smartly concluded that we should return to the theatre and ask the staff for advice on finding a cab in the area.

A lovely security guard kindly called a cab and then chatted us up about the play before returning inside the theatre. Moments later, the guard reappeared at the door, where a darkly-clad, brilliantly blue-eyed Mr. Murphy slipped out on to the sidewalk, locking eyes with me eeeever so briefly before turning towards a waiting car across the street.

At this point, about 10 or so people who'd apparently been waiting for this all along (?!?) swarmed the man at his open car door, taking video, and asking for photos and autographs. He was more than kind enough to at least oblige the autographs.

Still several yards away at this point, I debated joining the crowd. I mean, in the past, I've been known to carry a Sharpie in my purse on occasion, usually just for the defacement of bathroom walls and such, (c'mon, you just never know), but it certainly seemed...serendipitous...that I should happen to have it with me at such a moment. My mom, on the phone with my stepdad, thrust the playbill in my hand saying, "Go! Go!"

Me, in NYC!
Realizing that I would more than likely never, ever see this man again, I swallowed my pride and finally jogged over to the other side of the crowd, meeting him right alongside his car door. All I could manage to say was "Would you please sign this?" He smiled congenially, taking the playbill in his hands, along with my Sharpie. Somehow a nice 'Go raibh maith agat' escaped me in the moment, but I did muster an awe-struck 'Thank you.'  :)

I'll try not to get too gushy, lest I really embarrass myself here, but wow. I refuse to concede that he was anything less than mesmerizing. Truly disarming. His 'brogue' in person seemed none too strong, perhaps on purpose for our sake. Or maybe I was just too fantastically distracted to take much notice...

In any case, it was nothing short of an awesome, surreal experience to see the lovely, very talented and gracious Mr. Murphy, both on stage and off, in NYC.

* sigh *

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Velvet Brogue-mine

M: This wine is making it hard for me to keep things in my head long enough to say them. Yes, I really said that.

J: So tonight, Meredith and I indulged in a box of wine (or part of one) and a whopper of a movie. Velvet Goldmine, ladies and gentlemen, is full of brogue and music and glitter (lots of glitter), and most of all, love.

M: It's glorious.

J: Meredith, can you give us a very brief synopsis?

M: Ah hell. Well, I can try. Um. Velvet Goldmine is a very entertaining attempt at a quasi-biography of Mr. David Bowie as told through the fictional pop star of Brian Slade. Along for the ride is a young glam-rock enthusiast-turned-journalist, played by Mr. Christian Bale.

J: Let's not forget the motivational character.

M: Oh, right, right... and his talent! Mr. Ewan McGregor portrays Curt Wilde, the fictional representation of Mr. Iggy Pop, or so I'm told.

J: Excellent. I think our readers can now attempt to follow along. First question: Who was your favorite character?

M: Oh, that's brutal. (Did you just write that?)

J: (Nothing is sacred here.)

M: I think Christian Bale's character is surely easiest to relate to, and to identify with. His progression from oppressed school boy to glam-rockstar-groupie-turned-journalist is admirable and triumphant. I also found his particular brogue to be most fascinating, as it sounds distinctly different from his normal Welsh-English accent. It seems to accurately mirror the region from which his character hails.

J: He's probably the only saving grace of the movie.

M: I mean, he's probably the only one you can actually relate to. I don't know what it's like to be a crazy-ass coked-out pop star, let alone David Bowie.

J: What was your opinion of the music in the film?

M: "Generally I liked it!" I enjoyed the music very much, both the original and the more classic tracks. Jonathan Rhys-Meyers is certainly no Thom Yorke, but he's not completely inept.

Pink hair.
J: Speaking of Mr. Rhys-Meyers, how did his image in the film impact your overall impression of him as an actor?

M: I thought his commitment to the character was brave and inspiring, and frankly, it also looked like a good time. The make-up was incredible, and the glitter... ahh!

J: One last thing. The, uh, talent?

M: About the talent... very talented!

J: Thank you, thank you. What's next for Blog With a Brogue?

M: Oh, it's all you lady! MacGregor. MacDougal. (Are you typing this?!)

J: (I told you! Nothing is sacred!)

M: (Jesus, Mary and Joseph.)

J: Next up will be something - as yet undetermined - from my favorite brogue-speaker of all, James McAvoy.

M: Ha, Jimmy. Jimmy McAvoy.

J: Will definitely ponder... have lots to choose from!

M: Mr. Tumnus!

J: Haha, yes, yes. We shall see! Until next time, Brogue-landers!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Brogue-y Beginning: The Guard

J: Dear loyal readers, Our sincerest apologies on our recent lengthy absence. We've been on Tumblr.

M:  It'll never happen again. (It will most surely happen again.)

J:  (You love us anyway.)

M:  * clears throat * Anyway... admittedly, it's been a few weeks since we've seen The Guard.

J:  But as it is the first movie that we watched in the name of the blog, it would be a tragedy not to document it.

M:  So Jenna, what was your initial impression?

J:  My initial impression was pleasantly surprised. We didn't have any idea what the movie was about, and walking in late had us at a bit of a disadvantage. But it very quickly became clear that the movie had action and (very) dry humor in equal parts. Plus the main character was almost instantly likable, in a gruff, I might yell at your grandkids kind of way.

M:  Indeed! Well said. Did you find you were able to follow the humor well enough, in spite of the very prominent brogue of the main character?

J:  You mean the very prominent brogue of every single character? Yes, though I know there were a couple of jokes lost on me. As well as a couple of the finer plot points. But the general gist was there, and we even got to hear a few words of traditional Irish, which was probably the highlight of the film for me.

M:  Haha, Let us not forget the brogue-less Don Cheadle! I for one found myself wondering how he was allegedly understanding so much of what the other characters were saying, as the "American".

J:  Ooh, that's a good point. As the "American," I found him to be seriously distracting, and more than a little annoying, but I think maybe that's the point. I didn't realize that obviously he was understanding everything, while the rest of us were scratching our heads. Maybe the director/screenwriters were trying to stay away from some of the more obvious cultural humor?

M:  Perhaps! So, you mentioned enjoying the bit of Gaeilge, any other favorite aspects of the film?

Brendan Gleeson, interacting with
Meredith's favorite character.
J:  Well, I loved that despite the complexities of the plot (and what police thriller doesn't have more than a few confusing moments, brogue or no brogue), the main character was delightfully single-minded in his desire to do the right thing. It made the climax of the film that much more powerful. Plus he was consistently funny, in quirky, unexpected ways.

M:  Excellent. Yes, I also found the conclusion very satisfying. Conversely, aside from not understanding all of the dialogue, were there any other drawbacks or low points of note?

J:  For me, the super thick brogues were really the main drawback. I mean, I definitely could have used some subtitles. I'm excited to go back and watch it again (perhaps in a couple weeks, after the end of our Irish class) to see if I understood anything more. Other than that, I'm just not a huge fan of the genre.

M:  Fair enough! Anything more (spoilers aside!) you'd like to add? Would you say that, generally, you liked it? Would you recommend it to a friend? An enemy?

The bad guys. 
J:  Haha I'd most certainly recommend this film to a drunken relative. Does that count? Also, anyone who appreciates a satisfying, if mysterious, conclusion to a quirky drama with good guys and bad guys.

M:  Fantastic! Well, folks. There you have it. We promise not to take as long on getting to the next one!

J:  Tune in next time for more adventures in Brogueland!

M:  Mmmm... Brogueland. So, shall we give the folks a head's up on what's to come and pick a next film?

J:  Yes!

M:  Velvet Goldmine? Or perhaps one from Mr. McAvoy?

J:  I vote Velvet Goldmine, and I'll do some thinking about Mr. McAvoy.

M:  Sweet! Well then, stay tuned for Ewan McGregor's… talent!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Just to keep you interested...

J: This, my friends, is Paolo Nutini. Though is name sounds Italian as all get-out, he's actually a Scottish crooner. And I saw him live! In Munich! And I bought a shirt!

Excited me, circa 2007.
Bottom line, he has a crazy-thick Scottish brogue, even when he sings. And it's glorious.

Mr. Nutini (Nutella-ini? Nut Thin-ini?) has released two CDs, the first of which I own, the second of which I'd like to own. In addition to the great accent, his music is also delightfully up-beat, creative, and introspective. Worth a listen, for sure!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The writer of The Luke Wilson Merethon and her trusty sidekick would like to formally introduce... Blog with a Brogue!

'Ello! Dia duit! Hi! Welcome to Blog with a Brogue! 


M: And began it did...

J: Welcome to Blog with a Brogue! If I slip and write in all-caps, don't hold it against me.


(Meredith sips wine)
(Meredith laughs hysterically)
(Meredith does NOT fall out of her chair)

M: A heartfelt 'thank you' to The Pig for (unknowingly) hosting the launch of our new blog!

J: Oh, they'll know sooner or later. We'll make sure of it.

M: They'll all know... So, Jenna, why don't you tell us a little bit about what we're doing here at BWAB...

J: (Jenna can't get over the new acronym. Seriously folks, this is the first I've seen of it.) In any case, BWAB is all about what we love. Namely, accents of an... atlantic nature.

M: And great movies... hopefully.

J: We're hoping to use our love of languages to inform you lovely people of the wonders of film featuring actors, directors, even screen-writers who have a natural brogue. Let's clarify "brogue" for the dear people, how abouts it?

M: Well, according to the good people at Wikipedia, a brogue is "a style of low-heeled shoe or boot traditionally characterized by multiple-piece, sturdy leather uppers with decorative perforations (or "brogueing")..."

J: That's nice. Totally irrelevant. What am I paying you for?

M: I kid! I kid!
[brohg] 1. An Irish accent in the pronunciation of English. 2. Any strong regional accent.

J: How very apt! While our true, er, passions lie with Irish brogue, we're happy to view, swoon over, and post about any sort of brogue we come across. And as such, it's time to introduce the term: Atlantic Archepelago. I don't think I spelled that right.

M: Nope.

J: Let's employ a little copy/paste, shall we?

M: Mmm...paste.

J: (Laughed out loud at the Pig. Take no mind, gentle patrons, it'll all be over soon.)

M: (Man across room puts on headphones...)

J: "The term British Isles is controversial in Ireland,[7][12] where there are objections to its usage due to the association of the word British with Ireland.[13] The Government of Ireland does not use the term[14] and its embassy in London discourages its use.[15] As a result, Britain and Ireland is becoming a preferred description,[13][16][17] and Atlantic Archipelago is increasingly favoured in academia,[18][19][20][21] although British Isles is still commonly employed.[16]"

Heavy on the citations, so you know it's good. (Wikipedia, btdubs) We're obviously academia.

M: Clearly.

J: Therefore: Atlantic A-r-c-h-i-p-e-l-a-g-o it is!

M: As a side note, we're also currently students of the Irish language.

J: Quite!

M: (Shout out to the Irish Center of KC!)

J: (Woot woot!) In summary: BWAB is a blog about brogues in popular films. These brogues can come from actors, directors, screen-writers, or anyone else we deem worthy.

M: And generally anything else we might feel is necessary to include...

J: Such as pictures of beautiful brogue-speakers. Or tidbits of Irish. For instance!

M: Seanfhocals!

J: (Meredith I can't remember what that means.) (But it's pronounced shan-uckles.) (Shawn-ucles?)

M: I believe it literally translates to 'old-words'....as in maxims, proverbs, sayings...

J: Brilliant!

M: The Pig is playing Radiohead...How Atlantic Archipelago-ian of them...

J: Is Radiohead from across the pond?

M: Indeed they are, Jenna. Indeed they are...

J: Damn. (Jenna leaves the bar crying.)

M: Jenna! Jenna, come back!

J: Just joshin' ya! Okay, let's wrap this up.

M: Did we cover it all? Brogues, films, seanfhocals...

J: Next up: The Guard! (What we understood of it)

M: But what about a rating system? The tried-and-true sandwich system might not be appropriate here.

J: Perhaps a "glass o' Guinness" could be employed instead?

M: Perhaps we could substitute pints?

J: AT THE SAME TIME, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. (We'll be here all week!)

M: (Actually, I've got some plans...)

J: (What? No, we talked about this!)

M: So, pints it is?

J: Pints it is! As with the sandwich rating system, the appropriateness of bringing a pint of Guinness to a film will indicate how "low-brow" it is.

M: A low-pint rating thus indicates a more intellectual, perhaps more involved film experience.

J: Whereas "all the pints you can carry" means that the film is a rowdy good time! To the editing room!

M: (Jenna ties on cape, exits through window)

J: (Cackles wildly and twirls her moustache)

M: (Meredith quietly slips out the door and down the street after her...)