Blogger on Radio Scotland

Tom Reynolds (not his real name) blogs his life with the London Ambulance Service (or whatever it’s called) in Random Acts of Reality. Yesterday he was interviewed on a Radio Scotland show about his blog, which has about 5,000 readers: a good interview about an addictive blog.

Tom’s entries on the radio show: before and after.
A link to the relevant part of the programme – this will expire next Monday when the programme is replaced online by the next one.

You can hear the presenter, Gary Robertson’s, Scottish accent and Tom’s London one very nicely at the beginning. And the villain Bob, surely an actor employed to criticize the blog, has an upper-class English accent (which doesn’t mean he isn’t Scottish born and bred – the public school set don’t usually have a Scots accent, or used not to). The other two speakers also sound English, but not so much like the Queen.

9 thoughts on “Blogger on Radio Scotland

  1. Tom Reynolds, who blogs at Random Acts of Reality about being an emergency medical technician in east London, has been on BBC Scotland talk radio (see also this post. The Real Media file of the segment he was on is here.

    The programme talks about po…

  2. If you are referring to the independent school sector in Scotland surely the term is “private” and not “public” school?
    I am not sure that I agree with your comment about the accents either. In my experience Scots who attended the school I went to (in the independent sector in Scotland) did not lose their accent at school, only later , especially if they went to London to work – if they lost it at all. Tony Blair does not have a Scottish accent because he didn’t go to Fettes until he was 14.

  3. I could well be wrong on this. I am merely basing it on my own memory of three people I’ve met over the years who were Scots but did not have a Scottish accent. They all came from wealthy families and went to what I would call a public school, in the sense that RP and the rules of cricket developed in the 19th century in the British public school system. In England we would use that term to refer to Eton and Harrow, but also Gordonstoun (and private schools is a wider category). I don’t know whether the schools these people went to were in Scotland or England, nor if they went to prep schools in Scotland or England, and I assume their parents spoke this kind of non-Scottish English too, from the days when a ‘regional accent’ was something some people tried to get rid of.
    It’s useful to know that the term ‘public school’ is not used in Scotland, but I wonder if I, writing English English, should use the term ‘private school’, which would not carry the associations of ‘a boarding school for the rich with an emphasis on university entrance, requiring the Common Entrance Exam to be passed for entry’.

    Another point is that people up to and slightly after the Second World War tried to lose their accent, then in my day they did not do that deliberately but sometimes did lose it, and nowadays they deliberately try not to lose it, or try to speak estuary English (which happens to be my accent!).

  4. I think the accent thing might depend on generation, too. Certainly at my Scots prep school back in the 1960s, there was no question of retaining any trace of a Scots accent. And those of us who were then sent to public school south of the border probably didn’t have any incentive to try to regain a Scots accent (in any case, the result would probably have been a totally ridiculous Morningside/Kelvinside-style parody).

    But it may well be the case that those who went on to Scottish public schools (or attended e.g. merchant schools or academies) reinstated some sort of Scots accent, albeit a very couth one. You can see the range of the results if you compare e.g. Sir David Tweedie (quite strong) with Andrew Marr (pretty weak).

    One of the great things about having a pretty neutral, “educated” accent is that nobody can actually tell where you come from!


  5. I also think that this “public vs. independent school” is a probably a generation thing. Of course we always used to talk of “public schools” (and people like me still do), meaning private boarding schools covering ages 13-18, with “prep schools” for the 8-13 year-olds. Not to be confused with grammar schools, private academies, merchant schools and the like.

    At some time, though, the term “independent schools” seems to have come into common usage, presumably to try to ditch the public school image. And there’s certainly a world of difference between the school I went to and that same school today. So perhaps the distinction is actually valid.


  6. Thanks for the extra information, Robin.
    I see that Wikipedia has an article on Fettes College:

    It describes the schools as a private school, but goes on to say:
    ‘The school is sometimes thought of as being an offshoot of Rugby School in England, and has tended to follow the English public school system, rather than Scottish educational traditions.’

    So I was right to use the term ‘public school’, because that was what I meant.

  7. There was an interesting article in the FT last week about Wikipedia, pointing out its strengths – primarily the speed with which articles can be posted – and weaknesses, mainly the fact that articles are not peer-reviewed and cannot be regarded as reliable.


  8. Yet Fettes is a merchant school, isn’t it?

    Definition of public school from the Concise Sots Dictionary:public school: “a state-controlled school run by the local authority usu. non-fee paying and supported by contributions for local and national taxation”.

    IMHO, there used to be a group of private schools in Scotland which regarded themselves a cut above the rest and to which the term “public school” might have referred but that distinction no longer exists.

    I do not think this is a generation thing. I am not very young!

  9. Merchant school?

    Public school: I refer to your group of schools, but not necessarily in Scotland, and thirty or forty years ago. It’s the only term I can use to say what I mean (writing as an English person, writing about the past, not knowing whether these people even went to such a school in Scotland – statistically it is more likely they went to one in England).

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