“Rockyyyyy!! Rockyyyyy!!” Something I often hear through the walls of Chateau Grump. Unfortunately, our home is semi detached meaning that we are bolted onto a house with neighbours. Neighbours who after having a few drinks aren’t exactly the quietest or most considerate of neighbours. They are also indigenous of the Dudley area meaning that they are Yam Yams.
What is a Yam Yam? It’s something very difficult to explain and not even everyone in the UK is familiar with the strange dialect that a Yam Yam may spout. The Yam Yam roams the plains of the Black Country. This is an area just past the outskirts of Birmingham. So called because during the industrial revolution it was a metropolis of manufacturing and it is said that there were so many factories with large chimney stacks that the smoke and the soot made all the buildings black. Another theory is that it is because it is on a huge expanse of coal which is no longer mined.
It is not uncommon for a Yam Yam to be confused with a Brummie who is the more well known neighbour from the Birmingham region. The Brummie has a certain way of speaking and so does the Yam Yam. They should not be confused really because they are different.
The whole reason they are given the nickname of Yam Yam’s is because they will say “Yam,” which stems from “You am,” which of course should be “You are.”
It is said that the Black country accent is the oldest in the UK and the closest to old English there is.
I am a Yam Yam. I am proud of my Black Country industrial heritage. But thank God I don’t talk like that. It’s a very sing songy accent. The Yam Yam will say words you will never understand. They stick words together to make a hybrid word and they will also sometimes add an extra syllable.
I shall phonetically write a standard Yam Yam conversation and then translate below:
Nathaniel: Arraw yow! How am ya? Where ya bin ya cowbag!
Tarquin: Arm alright chap. I ay bin aaat for a wik. I ay bin well.
Nathaniel: Gerarrt on it!
Tarquin: Arrr! I fell in the cut day I?
Nathaniel: Ya day!
Tarquin: Arr did Arrr! I cor help it. I ay bin right since. Gizaluk atchya phowen? That’s bostin ay it? Whereja gerrit from?
Nathaniel: Daarn the ro-wed!
Nathaniel: Hello You. How are you? Where have you been you silly old fool?
Tarquin: I’m fine good sir. I haven’t been out for a week. I been a trifle under the weather.
Nathaniel: Get out of it! (In Shock)
Tarquin: Yes, I unfortunately fell in the canal didn’t I?
Nathaniel: You didn’t?
Tarquin: I did yes. I couldn’t help it. I haven’t been right since. Let me have a look at your stylish phone. Where did you purchase this splendid device from?
Nathaniel: Just down the road.
The above is genuine. People do actually talk like that. More specifically, my neighbours talk, and shout, and scream like that. Being a southerner, Mrs Grump is fortunate enough to have me around to translate otherwise she may as well be in Beijing.
Anyway, the sound emanates through the wall. As I write this the female Yam Yam is making a joyous cackle of glee. Amongst some mammals it would probably sound like a mating call. But at least she’s not shouting “Rockyyyyy!”
Why Rocky? Is she a fan of the five decent films depicting the life, success and steroid pumped muscles of a mentally challenged boxer? (I know there are six films but lets just pretend Rocky V didn’t happen.)
No Rocky is the name of her cat. A black cat. A cat which would apparently not only understand the English language but would understand the warped, strange and illegible version that stems from the Black Country. You see I’m not just talking about a cat recognising it’s name. A cat isn’t stupid. You could shout “Anal wart,” whilst you’re dishing out cat food. The cat will associate “Anal wart” with food and will surely come trotting over, being over friendly, pretending they actually like you whenever you shout it.
No I’m not just talking about knowing it’s name. You see, my neighbour will actually shout at the cat in terms of full conversation. We have actually bared witness to her shouting at the top of her voice, “Rockyyyyyyy! You naughty boy! Don’t ever talk to me again!” Her husband was out by the way so I don’t think there was any kinky dominatrix stuff going on. (Shudders)
Don’t ever talk to me again? What? Rockyyyyy can apparently talk? I wonder if he speaks Yam yam too.
I don’t understand what it is about a cat that would make you want to converse with it. They’re selfish creatures. If they could talk they wouldn’t want to talk to us humans would they? It’s not really about companionship with cats. They go out all day swanning around only to come home, walk around like the own the place, walk all over the kitchen counter, scratch you or bite you, eat the food you put out, maybe scratch the leather sofa and then piss off again. They might bring you a present every now and again. “Wow thanks….. a dead bird, with it’s insides hanging out, in my kitchen. Just what I’ve always wanted. Don’t walk off! Clean this up! Come back! Don’t ever talk to me again!”
I wouldn’t talk to a cat. I would and have talked to a dog. I’m a dog person. Dogs are loyal. You can train a dog. A dog loves your company and can have bags of personality. I used to have a dog called Scruff and he is without doubt the best dog in the world. He lives with a family now and I still visit him. He is very intelligent.
Ok maybe not the best of examples. I can assure you he has never attempted to attack and hump a child! But check this out!
I’m not going to turn this into a dogs vs cats debate. There is no debate. Dogs are ace.
What is it about cats and dogs that make people feel so natural that they can talk to them? Is it because they generally roam the house and co-habit under the same roof giving you varying degrees of affection? Maybe that’s what it is because I’ve never heard anyone have a chat with a gerbil. Or a python. “Geoff! Geoff! Unwrap yourself from around the neighbours cat! You naughty python. Don’t ever talk to me again!”
If I had a pet python called Geoff and a black cat from the very local area happened to wander into the house because I was making tuna sandwiches and Geoff decided to eat him I think I could easily explain myself to the neighbour. You see firstly, I shouted to the cat, “Get out Rocky! There’s a large hungry snake in here and he may choose to eat you!” But of course I should have shouted, “Gerrarrt. There’s a cowin big snake anitsgunna ate yow!” As for the python. I shouted let go but he only understands Burmese!