Rain Debate

Years and years and years ago (cos I’m incredibly old, and can remember such things) there was an American series on TV, called The Invaders. A Quinn-Martin production, like Rockford, and Cannon and a whole shitload of others involving guys with very dodgy moustaches and check jackets. Admittedly, Rockford had no moustache, but in a virtual sort of way, you felt he would have had one if only he could let himself go. Personally, I could never grow a decent moustache, which was thing that blighted both of my teenage years. Neither could my father, I think, but I have no evidence to support that, as he never tried, because nobody was gay in his time. I’m not gay either, but hey, nobody’s perfect. It didn’t stop me growing a series of very dodgy Village People caterpillars over the years, but at least I never dressed up. Why? Well, what the fuck would you dress up as in Ireland? A traffic warden? A Christian Brother? Young Man . . .

I think not.

The Invaders was a follyer-upper show based on the premise (licensed) that Earth had been invaded by creatures who took on human form, and let me tell you, the whole of Ireland followed it to see how poor Roy Thinnes would get on from week to week in his terrifying black-and-white world. Not that his world was anywhere near as terrifying as the nightmare poor Dr Richard Kimball had to endure. An innocent man, unjustly accused of his wife’s murder, and relentlessly pursued across the United States by the tireless Lieutenant Gerrard, played by Barry Morse. The bastard. Or maybe the black-and-white was just a Limerick thing, and came naturally from the miserable ambience we have here. Anyhow, they didn’t exactly follow it. They just stared at the fucking one-channel box because it was better than the death-inducing Catholic wasteland they’d inhabited before television, which was exactly two years previously.

You see, the thing about the Invaders was this: they had one dead give-away. Their little finger stuck out, the way it used to do when you were a kid playing snowballs. If you could spot it in time, you could kill the evil alien bastards, but I don’t remember how. I think they grew in a seed tray the same way you grow Busy Lizzies.

Where’s this going? It’s this. I think we have a new wave of invaders. About ten years ago, I noticed a new accent appearing in this country, on a newish radio programme called AA Roadwatch. Maybe it was longer, I don’t know. Will we call it twelve years? Anyhow, the thing that really struck me was the pronunciation of “roundabout”. I’d never heard this before. Were they saying “rang debangt”? That wouldn’t make any sense at all. What about “rine debite”? Still no sense. I thought about it for months before it came to me. They were saying “rain debate”. I don’t know why they were saying “rain debate”, but for some reason, AA employed a series of girls from the same street, who all said “rain debate” the same way.

Now here’s the sinister bit. That was years ago and a bit of a laugh. The AA girls who talked that way just sounded like fools. But now, people all over the country are talking exactly the same way, and what’s even scarier is that nobody notices!! Little finger or what??

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