See what we did there?
After writing an article on international students in Cambridge I thought I’d investigate an even smaller minority within the University’s population: Northerners.
I started by asking my friend Ben what he thinks the main differences between the North and the South are. He had several comments to make:
1)” I’m not from the North.”
2) “I’m from Staffordshire.”
3)”I just say grass and bath differently from most people here.”
I didn’t really understand what he was saying so I went to find more helpful Northerners.
“The language is definitely a lot weirder down here” Kate from somewhere near Alton Towers tells me. “I can’t say grass or castle without being mocked for not inserting some magical R that only southerners know about. And I’m fed up of being told to have ‘supper’ instead of tea.”
“There are no interesting greetings in the South” Sarah from York complains. “There are loads of variations in the North, ‘now then’ being my favourite”.
Leedsman (is that a word?) Matt laments a similar problem: “I keep making the mistake of saying ‘y’alright?’, which Southerners interpret as me asking how they are so I have to awkwardly stop and make conversation. In Yorkshire I’m used to saying ‘love’ – I’m worried people here see that as sexual harassment…”
Katie from Liverpool (“It’s a city in the North-West of England”, she helpfully informs me) claims that nights out are the biggest difference.
“People properly go for it here. When they dance they actually dance but back home they just shuffle…and occasionally slut drop. And people just wear jeans and flats here. In Liverpool you get your hair professionally done and wear curlers all day before a night out. Oh, and you’d never go out without fake tan”.
Matt is more concerned with the price difference: “booze is ridiculously overpriced! On a weeknight in Leeds I was used to being able to buy virtually any beer or spirit for 70p max. 70p here wouldn’t even pay for the slice of lemon that comes with your overpriced tequila.
If a DJ put a Disney song on in Leeds he’d get bottled within seconds. It’s also much harder to pull down South, but maybe that’s because I’m from Girton…”
There also seems to be a general consensus about Southern wimpiness. “Even in the middle of winter girls go out in just sleeveless dresses”, Katie tells me, “and cloakrooms just aren’t a thing in Liverpool.”
Matt is equally unsympathetic to our Southern fragility: “up north anyone wearing a coat before November is seen as weak and the use of hats and gloves at any point in the year is generally frowned upon. And I chuckle when I hear people talking about the ‘Hill’ Colleges.”
Food also seems to be a contentious issue for Northerners in Cambridge. “There are no good bakers here”, Sarah insists, “just Greggs and Greggs is really fucking expensive and not even great at all, like sub par. We have Thomas the Baker in Yorkshire and I shit you not they do the best cheese straws on earth.”
Kate has one simple complaint: “There is a distinct lack of gravy here.”
Matt has a problem with the post-clubbing diet of Cambridge:
“The chippys here are too healthy- maybe if they were a bit more fatty southerners could be insulated by an extra layer of fat from the cold, as is required up North”. Wow folks, looks like the North is cold. Cool story.
So, the North (or rather, the four Northerners I could find) has spoken: stop mocking their accents. I know no-one will because it’s too fun and easy.
But let’s at least get some more gravy and deep fat fryers into the buttery to make the distance from home a little easier.