Monday, July 17, 2006

Me And Accents (or, Keith Urban, part II)

I've always been pretty good at mimicking foreign accents. Speaking English that is. At least I claim to speak English, and if you heard my accent, you might convince yourself that is a stretch in itself. But, over the years I have used this ability to mess with people's heads.

Mainly over the phone though. 'Cause if you saw me and I was doing an accent of someone from, say, India, I wouldn't fool you at all, see?

And I want to say up front here, that I absolutely CANNOT do a Jamaican accent. When I try, it always comes out Irish! And I have no explanation at all for this, but it's true. We have a lady at our church, Sister P., who is from Jamaica. When we leave church, she always tells us, "Haav a JEEsus filled dey!" in this textbook Jamaican accent. It's awesome.

My impersonation of this is not.

Well, guess which accent my family always wants to hear me do?

You got it. Jamaican. And of course in my head I sound cool like Bob Marley, but out of my mouth comes the voice and accent of the Lucky Charms leprechaun. And they just laugh and laugh. So I don't do it much anymore.

Back to the story.

Last Christmas. Big Sis buys me a Keith Urban DVD for Christmas. I had no idea why, but ok. I had never heard of him. Period.

So she tells me he's a great guitarist and that I should watch him. She just loves him. I watch. Yep, he's a great guitarist. And I find particularly interesting that, in the DVD, he talks about his ability to play such and such at the age of 10.

In other words, this guy was better at the guitar at age 10 than I will EVER be. But he is obviously talented, a good musician, songwriter, good looking. The works. And although I generally dislike country music, he rocks out more than most and I actually like the DVD. Wonders never cease.

But at the time, I had no idea how much Big Sis had come to, well, love the guy. And over the next couple of months, as her plans to see him in concert in Waco, Texas came about, I start to get the message.

I can't quite believe it, but Donny Osmond no longer has first place in her heart. I mean, Donny has been numero uno to her pretty much all of my life. I was a kid when she latched onto ol' Donny and that he's been replaced, it's like learning that grass isn't green after all, or that I was adopted or something. I don't think the term 'paradigm shift' is too strong here. I couldn't quite get my head around this.

Anyway, the time comes and she and a pal are on the way to Waco. I can't remember what day of the week it was, but about the time I knew she should be in Waco, I called her cell number.

See, she had let me (and every other poor soul she could Shanghai into listening) about her plans.

They were gonna check into the hotel, and then go scope out the venue I think, and once they had the lay of the land, go stalk the Starbucks nearest the venue.

'Cause apparently, according to the Urbanite network, Ol' Keith has taken quite a shine to Mr. Starbuck's coffee. And Big Sis's Big Idea is that surely he's gonna need some fresh java goodness in preparation for the big concert, and if so, she's a-gonna be there a-waitin' on him. At least that's what she sees as her best chance to meet him. (Number One Daughter has a cool story about her and a Friend who do something similar and meet the group Hanson, but she was 20 and I can understand this. Big Sis is just a wee bit older than that.)

Enough setup, back to the phone call. And I called her from Lovely Wife's cell phone, hoping she wouldn't recognize the area code and number right away.

I can't remember exactly what we said, but it went something like this:

Big Sis: "Hello?" (imagine southern drawl)
Me: "Hello? MAAAsha! This is KEEEth UUUban! (I was trying for a Paul Hogan/Crocodile Dundee accent. Really loud and happy sounding like TV Australians usually are portrayed)
Big Sis: pause (could it be? She must have thought.)
Me: "Ah just wanted to call and tell you puusonally that I'm excited about you being at the concUUT tonight!"
Me: "I was wondering if you could meet me at STAAAAAbucks for a coffee before the SHOW!" (It's impossible to write an Australian accent, you'll just have to imagine it. Really loud.)
Me: And AHHfta the show, we could MAYbe throw a coupla shrimps on the BAAHbie."
Big Sis: "Who IS this?" (uh oh, she's smellin' a rat!)
Me: "MAAAsha! It's KEEEth UUUUban!"
Big Sis: " WHO IS THIS!!!"
Me: "It's John."
Big Sis: "I'm gonna KILL you!"

And then we have a laugh and she fills me in on the happenings so far in Waco and stuff.

But really, my family is such an easy target for such shenanigans. I mean, I KNEW, I could at least make her heart jump for just a minute before reality reminded her of what the odds of getting a call from Keith Urban were. Seriously, how would he have gotten her cell number? Of course, now that I think about it, she probably had written him letters or fan mail with all the pertinent contact information in it so had he wanted to, he probably could have called her.

And all of this was BEFORE her 'encounter' wherein she got to go down front and have a personal meet-and-greet with the great man himself during the concert that night.

She's all but intolerable now ;)

The funny part to me is, that on the DVD, when you hear him just plain talking, he has almost no accent. It's almost gone. So when I started yelling in her ear with my Crocodile Dundee voice, she should have know immediately.

But I guess hope really does spring eternal. As in, "I hope one day to be able to do a passable Jamaican accent, and not sound like the Lucky Charms guy."

Photo Credit: the Keith Urban photo up there was taken by Big Sis herself in New Orleans at the 2006 Jazzfest. (or, more properly, NAWluns)

One day I'll have to tell the story of how I once tried to blackmail Big Sis for $750,000.


Marsha (Big Sis) said...

OMG! I had forgotten about the phone call! I must admit, I did just for a nano second wonder how in the heck he got my cell phone number! Geez, what a day that was. Trying to get my friend Kathy to drive all over town trying to hunt the elusive Urban down. Yes, your accent did throw me for a loop!

big sis's friend Trish said...

There must be some sort of strange connection between Donny Osmond and Keith Urban, because Donny was MY first love as well, now , just like Marsha my heart belongs to Keith!
The photographic talent runs in your family I see!
Now you have to tell us the blackmail story, you cannot just tease us that way!

big sis's friend Leah said...

Well James, we might as well start exchanging Christmas cards because I have come to the conclusion that Marsha is my long lost sister. We are united in our obsession for Keith, this having been my first. I have no Donny. I have however been all over the country this last year seeing Keith 7 times, one resulting in an on ontage kiss at the request of my husband, yep I did say my husband. (believe me he made it known I owed him one... bigtime). He not only tolerates this lunacy, but actually has come to the realization that he has to live with it and does. Rather well actually. My at home office looks more like a shrine to Keith than a place of business.
Marsha and I met in Waco, went to Jazz Fest together recently and she just came to visit me in OKC. So there really is more to it than just a bunch of thirty/fourty something married woman running around like a pack of hormone crazed teenagers. (I'm not saying we don't do it, there is just more too it than that). We have developed what I hope are life long friendships.
Don't worry, your big sis is not completely nuts, only a little bit. But that's what we all love her for!
Enjoyed your blog, keep 'em coming!

Anonymous said...

big sis's friend faith said...
good on ya mate! LOL - marsha and I talked about donny just the other day and how when I lived in LA I saw him and screamed OMG it's DONNY OSMOND! Then of course I hid... Yet now that I am in Nashville I have been scolded harshly for not barrelling over traffic and running down pedestrians when I saw Keith on his chopper one stormy afternoon - don't even ask about the starbucks sighting... :)

Meg in Nelson said...

Keith is originally from New Zealand, which is a little bit different from an Aussie accent - mainly the [i]... But I can imagine he sounds like an American now...