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25 September 2008 @ 10:35 pm
Ah Erko ... and Florence ... and that's not an English accent  
The lovely crazy French cat lady was about again today, with her giant ginger tom in her backpack, head sticking out and surveying the world. Apparently he dislikes cat cages, but is quite fond of being worn papoose-style. She inquired after our plague and I was happy to report that J and I are both on the mend. While the occasional coughing fit still occurs, and we're still fairly tired, we are definitely functional human beings again rather than flu victims. Hurrah!

This recovery, and the end of the report edit of doom (want to know anything about Australian regulatory authorities? I'm your girl!) means that I am now free to start planning the casual part of my trip to Florence in five weeks. It starts with a conference and a catch-up with my curatorial friends, and ends with a catch-up with some fandom friends, but in between there are several days of nothing.

I suspect that two straight weeks in Firenze will see me a little rabid, so I am trying to sort out what I want to do nearby. I'll be travelling by train or bus, have a modest budget and will be alone. It's the art and textiles tour, ahead of next year's romantic getaway when the cash-flow situation will be much improved. If you know the region, help me make up my mind. Bologna is calling to me, but I am trying to decide about Lucca, Ferrara, Pisa (where I m dropping in for a day anyway), Siena and San Gimignano. Any recommendations? I have been to all these spots save Lucca, but as a dissolute young person rather than as a responsible adult with High Cultural Concerns.

On the topic of cultural concerns, one strange artefact of the flu has been watching television. I am constantly surprised by what American actors think sounds English. Does this happen the other way around? Hugh Laurie and the bloke on Life both sound very American to me (with occasional vowel slippage from Hugh),  do Americans hear everything that's wrong there?

Finally, a very happy birthday to sassy_cissa ! </span>Your kindness, generosity and talent never cease to impress and inspire me!

maggiemarguerite_26 on September 25th, 2008 01:49 pm (UTC)
YAY!!! Italy! I am so jealous. I have very little to add about travel plans other than Pisa was fine for a couple hours but I felt no need to visit longer. It may be a nice 'stop between cities' for you depending on your route.

One canadian's point of view: most British and Australia actors carry other accents very well. Particularly Aussie actors, I'm always surprise when they do interviews and I hear the accents. I cannot think of any time I have heard a slip that was blatant or annoying. As oppose to REALLY bad attempts at british or aussie accents by American or Canadian actors.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 25th, 2008 01:58 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm hitting the costume museum and Royal Palace museum in Pisa with my conference crew, which is all I had in mind to do there, but I keep thinking there is something great that I keep missing!

I never mention American actors' 'Australia' accents. Often I've thought they were meant to be South African ... At least the 'British' attempts are vaguely recognisable (though often strangely Rhodesian, and I do mean 1970s)
(no subject) - marguerite_26 on September 25th, 2008 02:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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pingridpingrid on September 25th, 2008 02:03 pm (UTC)
Never been to Lucca or Ferrera, and Pisa only for a couple of hours - which felt enough.

I personally adore Siena, it's so chock full of art and ambience (although the Medieval art may be more my thing than yours). I really like the whole feel of the city, just walking around looking is great. Also, San Gimignano very much appeals to me, but probably not for more than one night. There's a fantastic gelateria up in the piazza right by the Piazza del Duomo, and the last time I was there we had some absolutely wonderful food in a nice little restaurant. (Can you tell our focus there wasn't entirely cultural? ;) ) The Duomo was nice, though, and I love the towers. I'm not entirely sure how fun SG will be on your own since it's so small, but I can imagine you'll charm your way wherever you are. :)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 25th, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC)
Yes, Siena and Bolgna will probably win out; the latter has some good Lavinia Fontana artworks I want to see, while the former is fresco city, a passion of mine, too!

And yeah, that's what's holding me back with SG, I think it would be more fun to do with J!
(no subject) - pingrid on September 25th, 2008 02:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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this mundane stuff called lifewinnett on September 25th, 2008 02:18 pm (UTC)
OH, I love the kitty in the backpack! So cute.

And Happy you are feeling better.

Pisa isn't too far away from Firenze. I went and toured the tower and the domo thingy nearby. It was a nice day trip. When I was in Italy I traveled by train everywhere. We spent 3 days in Firenze, it was nice, we saw all the museums, ate lots of food, toured the religious centers.

The Cinque Terre area, north of there on the coast, is beautiful. You can do a hike between all of the towns in one day. We did that and ate gelato in every town to decide which was the best. (We thought it was Monterosso, the more tourist town of the five that had the best gelato... We stayed in Vernazza) The towns are small, quiet (though full of tourists) and I had a great time there. I could have spent more time there, probably.

Sienna is supposed to be nice, but I didn't go there. Also Portofino.

Have fun!!!

Americans are used to funny accents because lots of actors try to do lots of accents. Does that make sense? So when they are wrong, many of us probably don't notice.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 25th, 2008 02:25 pm (UTC)
She's a lovely mad French lady, and her cat is a very happy cat!

Yes, it's a matter of choosing what to do on the two of three free days I have. Pisa is very nice, but I'm already doing most of the things I'm interested in during my day there, so unless someone can come up with an exciting secret, I think I'll move on.

And I love that coast! But it's no fun to walk alone when the weather is cooling down. I think that's a next year one, but will definitely adopt your mission and take notes! Mmmmm gelato ...

I laughed out loud at your accent explanation!
beatnikspinster on September 25th, 2008 02:19 pm (UTC)
Oooo! You deserve Italy after battling the hell-flu. I wish I had the experience to give advice. *sigh* Well, I hope it goes perfectly.

On accents, I can hear deviations pretty easily. Hugh Laurie and Damian Lewis are usually perfect. There's an ambient formality that remains, but it folds into the characterization. Mostly, it doesn't bother me, even when I can hear it. It's easy to accept.

The only time it gets touchy is with specialty regional accents. And American actors have just as many problems with these, especially Southern accents. It can get very political.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 25th, 2008 02:32 pm (UTC)
I DO! Heh! It will be fun no matter what, as I am seeing a lot of my fave people. I've had to circumscribe my plans wildly as my mother owes me a small fortune, but worse things happen at sea!

Damian Lewis sounds more perfect than Hugh Laurie, to me, but I could be very wrong! And I think you are right that they both have that pause thing incorporated well into their roles! I know it's wrong that I am giggling about the politics of Southern accents, but I can't help it!
(no subject) - beatnikspinster on September 25th, 2008 02:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on September 25th, 2008 02:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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girl; obsessed: other - londoncomplications_g on September 25th, 2008 02:56 pm (UTC)
Gah, anyone trying to do an English accent! So. Bad. And it's always the posh upper class one, which only a small fraction of English people even have.

I don't think I've ever actually heard anyone trying to do an Australian accent. My accent is very weird currently, My vowels have turned, so when I say 'Australia' it sounds very natural Aussie, but most still sounds common Londoner. I get asked about it a lot. ;)

I love Hugh Laurie. I watched two seasons of House in one go, then watched an extra thing, hearing him talk naturally, and was whoa, oh yeah, that's how he actually talks! :D

And yay for you and Italy!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 25th, 2008 03:07 pm (UTC)
I can do a passable Australian if I talk through my nose and don't move my jaw (I am convinced they talk like this so the flies can't get in!)

One thing I've noticed lately is that American actors doing English accents increasingly go for a sort of Central London meets Essex/vaguely SE regional confection, maybe it's all the Jamie Oliver? And I am old enough to remember when every time you heard a posh English accent in an American film, they were playing a Nazi ;-)

As for Americans doing Aussie accents, Robert Downey Junior in Natural Born Killers (and in his new film, which I haven't seen) and A Dingo Stole My Baby from Meryl are the two that occur to me!

Some Australian actors do reasonable Brit, Cate Blanchett and Errol Flynn spring to mind, though he's not doing much these days ;-)

Edited at 2008-09-25 03:09 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - complications_g on September 25th, 2008 03:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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parallel parking prodigyempress_jae on September 25th, 2008 02:58 pm (UTC)
so glad to hear you're finally on the mend. :)

i think it depends with accents. just like the majority of americans think that all brits sound a certain way (yes, i'm looking at you angelina jolie!!) i think some brit and even aussie actors think they've got an "american accent" down, but in actuallity, they really don't. hugh jackman is a perfect example. he slips ALL the time, as does rusell crowe and good GOD nicole kidman. but let's stop picking on the aussies...i hear hugh laurie slip on house as well. i think he just tries to hard. his 'R' sounds are way to harsh and sharp. i can't really figure out what part of the country house is supposed to represent. it's not east coast or mid-west. it's like he's trying to combine both accents...but ends up sounding like a brit trying to hard. i can think of only one actor who pulls off an american accent flawlessly, and that's gary oldman. i don't know how he does it. for the longest time i thought he was american! kate winslet pulls a very tight and close second.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 25th, 2008 03:12 pm (UTC)
It was gruesome for a while!

Yeah, the big star Aussies aren't as good as the lower-ranked team. Anthony La Paglia, Simon Baker (who also does passable) Brit and Rachel Griffiths impress me more. I always think I do a genius Californian, but it is in fact an impersonation of my Mum's ex-girlfriend and not really a Californian accent ;-)

Gary and Kate do it well because they are SPLENDID! And properly trained. Oldman will be looked back on as the Olivier of his generation, I cannot think of a technically superior actor his age.

And we should be kind to Nicole, because goodness knows it's all too easy if we're not ;-)
(no subject) - empress_jae on September 25th, 2008 04:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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AMY 凛☆ラブ☆アタック: italianotomatoe18 on September 25th, 2008 02:58 pm (UTC)
Lucca didn't impress me as much as San Gimignano. I went to San Gimignano three times (all day trips) and all three times I had fun.

And I think Siena deserves two full days there, at least, because I think everyone should be at Piazza Del Campo for at least half a day and do nothing else but sit there. I'm very partial to Siena so you really must go there so I can experience Siena again through you. :P

Also, I think Bologna is better saved for your next trip because it's a bigger city and you're already going to be in Firenze. If you're keen on visiting another region that is NOT Toscana, then I'd suggest to try Cinque Terre instead. Like winnett said, it's a beautiful place. Stupid me, I didn't visit there (and now I'm really crying from the utter regret), but my friends had nothing but great things to say about that place.

OK, I'm going back to my little corner and continue to be jealous at you. *sulks*
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 25th, 2008 03:21 pm (UTC)
But wouldn't SG be better as a romantic rediscovery with the J next year? And same for Cinque Terre, November's not the greatest time of year for hiking and I don't like to walk alone, even in areas I know really well.

Bologna has the advantage that I only want to see a handful of things there, all in collections that I'll be able to get easy access to without having to schmooze extra curators. It won't be a very touristy side trip, as Siena is likely to be (and it is looking very likely!), but I'd be able to accomplish a good whack of research very quickly!

Send me your address and I can send you a postcard!
(no subject) - tomatoe18 on September 25th, 2008 03:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on September 25th, 2008 03:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
This Girlthisgirl_is on September 25th, 2008 06:34 pm (UTC)
Hey there! Meant to say thanks for friending me. :o) *feels special*

I don't think there's anything much in Pisa. I would recommend going further up the line to the La Spezia area. La Spezia itself is nothing special but Portovenere and the Cinque Terre (a string of 5 villages perched between steep hillside and the sea) are beautiful. (And abound with excellent seafood!)

In Florence, you need a day for the Ufizzi alone. And pick out beforehand what you don't mind missing. That place is enormous.

You could also try Assisi, to the south east - it's gorgeous.

Fortunately the trains are amazing, in that they are punctual fast and cheap, and go damn near everywhere.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 27th, 2008 04:27 pm (UTC)
No thanks necessary! I am just sorry that it took so long for me to realise I hadn't, your comments have made me smile on several occasions and it wasn't until I realised that I was never seeing any of your posts that I noticed my idiocy ;-)

Yes, I love that area, but I love walking about with a loved one and paying for a service to taxi our luggage ahead. I'll be by myself, so I am staying away from anywhere that would force me to have an affair out of sheer necessity ;-) I rather like the J that I will be leaving at home.

At the moment, Siena is looking most likely. As for the Ufizzi, I have a couple of galleries that are my favourites, and will be pre-booking as I made that mistake once, never again!
(no subject) - thisgirl_is on September 27th, 2008 11:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on September 28th, 2008 03:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Amazing Little Ecosystemwinterthunder on September 25th, 2008 06:40 pm (UTC)
If you can, go spend a night in one of the towns in Cinque Terre. It's about 2.5 hours by train from Florence, and it's amazingly beautiful. There's an 11km trail between the five towns and you can spend the day hiking in amazing scenery and pausing for a gelato, pizza or glass of wine in each town!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 27th, 2008 04:29 pm (UTC)
Argh! Stop it! You are sending me to a place I find incredibly romantic while I am leaving J at home. I refuse to have an affair for geographical reasons, so I shall head to Siena which is duller but where I can do a spot of fresco research!
trichinopoly ash: girl: reaching for starsaldehyde on September 25th, 2008 06:56 pm (UTC)
wow, i am so jealous of your upcoming trip to italy! i can't recommend one place over another since i've never been to the region, but i hope i can visit sometime in the near future.

as for accents, i think hugh laurie does a pretty good job. i almost always forget that he's not an american and get terribly shocked when i watch his interviews.

americans doing british accents is..well, not that great.

i have a weird accent myself - it's a complete hodgepodge. certain words have an underlying english strain since i learnt the language from the brits, but then the presence of american culture in the middle east in a post-gulf war 1 age did strange things to my diction. and then i moved to canada.

so yea, it's just a weird melange, heh.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 27th, 2008 04:33 pm (UTC)
You would like Italy!

And I sympathise with the hodgepodge. It's bad enough being an emigree, but having worked in publishing in four different versions of English I find myself having mental conversations along the lines of "Do Americans know what a chook is?" and I cannot remember how to pronounce some words because my brain supplies too many options!
uminohikariuminohikari on September 25th, 2008 09:57 pm (UTC)
Very few American actors can actually fake an accent. >> It's sad.. I've never herad anyone try to fake an American accent though!
It's a Deensedeensey on September 26th, 2008 12:31 am (UTC)
Damian Lewis does a great job of it, in Life, and in Band of Brothers. In fact, the entire cast of Band of Brothers, well, 2/3 of them were british.

Nicole Kidman consistently sounds American, and Jamie Bamber does a brilliant job of it as well. Add Yvonne Stravinski on Chuck, who's an aussie, and Anna Friel on Pushing Daisies, and you have a heap of people doing quite good american accents.

Historically? Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind, or A Streetcar Named Desire.

The other way around? Scarlet Johansen and Natalie Portman have both pulled off British pretty well, as has Frances McDormand, Renee Zellwegger was not bad in BJD or Miss Potter, Gwyneth Paltrow rocked in Emma, and Kevin Kline has done not too bad a job at it either.
(no subject) - deensey on September 26th, 2008 12:32 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on September 27th, 2008 04:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
It's a Deensedeensey on September 26th, 2008 12:18 am (UTC)
Go to Siena and pretend you're me?
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 27th, 2008 04:05 pm (UTC)
That IS my actual plan! Except I may be trapped in Florence as I have just discovered dozens of new museums, but I will shoot loads of frescoes whichever way things pan out!
sassy_cissa: michelle_adoressassy_cissa on September 26th, 2008 12:33 am (UTC)
First of all, I'm so happy you're on the mend. And I'm more than just a teeny bit jealous of a trip to Florence. I've made it to Paris and Frankfort (and surrounding areas) but have not made it to Italy. One day I hope to see it.

Secondly, thank you for the birthday wishes and your kind words. I'm humbled and pleased. ♥
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 27th, 2008 04:20 pm (UTC)
I seem to be sleeping a lot still, but I suppose I need it!

You would like Italy a lot. And because all the nice things we've all said about you are wholly true, Italy would also like you!
Dedicated Escape Artist: Nottinghamjadzialove on September 26th, 2008 01:28 am (UTC)
Hugh Laurie does fantastically well. I'm always floored when I hear him speak naturally, even though I know he's a Brit, I consistently forget. As for the Life guy, I had no idea he was! I guess that means he's doing a bang up job of it.

A badly done accent can throw me right out of a movie. Although I love the Kevin Costner Robin Hood because of Alan Rickman, Costner's accent was a disaster, which must have been clear to him as well, as he abandoned it halfway through the movie. We won't even mention the Dick Van Dyke cockney debacle.

I think most Brit and the numerous Aussie actors regularly appearing on our TVs do a fine job of it. It's very rarely that I think "oh, he/she's fighting an accent."
The less practiced, however, sound really really nasal.

I'm not sure how much weight my opinion holds, though, because I think there are a lot of American actors that do great English accents. Fools me!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 27th, 2008 04:52 pm (UTC)
heh! I watched the first episode of Life thinking "That guy really looks like Damian Lewis", before I realised that it in fact WAS DL ...

Do you know, I never realised Kevin was TRYING to do an accent in that film ... oops ...

And I have to say that I think my Californian sounds very authentic ll the time, but my American friends assure me this is not the case ;-)
Lisbet Karlsdottirlisbet on September 26th, 2008 04:20 am (UTC)
I remember seeing the original Forsyte Saga series years ago, and the woman they had playing Anne, Jon's American wife....she had to do a southern accent, and...the poor thing. It didn't go well. At all. I cringed every time she opened her mouth. I was like...omg, do they really think American Southerners sound like that?

Don't they have dialect and accent coaches nowadays in the film industry though? I wonder how much that sort of thing would cost for regular people. Probably a lot more money than I make! Still, I'd love to have someone work with me on perfecting an accent other than my own.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 27th, 2008 05:01 pm (UTC)
Yes, there are often terrible American accents done by English actors in English shows. I think it's better if they're in the US, I find I can do better fake accent in America than anywhere else. I think you can find private coaches, though, if you're keen!