My colleague Hugo is nothing if not consistent. Every month, the day before I head up north on a rare client visit outside London, he mimics (very badly) a Manchester accent. He tries to talk like Liam Gallagher.
I used to find it funny and spot-on but not now. I enjoy my trips to Manchester – I think the guys are very good and I am relieved by their lack of Mayfair pomposity and snobbery.
“Hugo, you are a linguicist,” I say rather smugly. He shakes his head in confusion at the L word, which unbeknown to him I have picked up from one of my guilty secrets, Love Island.
One young islander, Hayley, has been subject to linguistic discrimination – she is from Liverpool and, because of her accent, regarded as “thick as pig s**t”. Her voice has been described as “annoying” and “cringeworthy”. People like me with more standard southern accents are less criticised, apparently.
The next day, on the train to Manchester, smug me puts down my laptop and does some #loveisland on Twitter.
OMG! Forget linguicism, worse still is the ageism. Contestant Laura is 29 but she’s called ‘grandma’ – there are jokes about her ‘putting a hip out’ while exercising and there is constant chit-chat about the nine-year age gap between her and her partner Wes.
This makes me miserable and angry. I’m single (by choice) and in my early 30s. WTF do people think of me? Anyone who thinks I’m old is, I conclude, as “thick as pig s**t”.