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Old 10-13-2017, 12:28 PM   #1
CyranoJ
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Authenticity in a story set in the West Midlands

Okay, so I'm wondering if I could pick the Literoticates' hive-brain for a moment.

I'm putting the finishing touches on a story set in Birmingham (UK) in 1961. It involves a sting operation being run by a small, fledgling vice squad, and I just want to double-check a few things with people who might be more knowledgeable about the UK in general and the West Midlands in particular than I am. My questions are these:

1. There's a small vice squad operating in Birmingham, as this is just the early period of police developing specialised units to deal with drugs and prostitution. Is this squad mostly likely run by a Detective Inspector or a Detective Chief Inspector? Does it particularly matter? They've also seconded a policewoman from the rank and file to work undercover for them: is she likelier to be a Constable or a Detective Constable, or again, does it particularly matter?

2. I'm trying to salt people's speech with indicators of the Brummie accent without overdoing things. So for example: people greeting one another with alright, saying farewell with ta-ra, going "down the outside" as visiting the local off-license and so on.

Now, it turns out that finding recorded examples of Brummie slang -- and especially period-appropriate examples -- is kind of complicated, since so much content seem focused on making fun of it. Are there any Brummies here, or those familiar with the dialect, who might know whether there are certain red flags, phrases that foreigners imagine Brummies using which they don't actually use that much, or wouldn't have used in the early Sixties?

3. This question is more of a longshot as it requires familiarity with the specific workings of the sex trade in Sixties Birmingham, but it's worth a shot. The story takes place on Varna Road, in the process of earning its reputation as the so-called "wickedest road in Britain." Prostitution by some accounts worked here rather like a harsher version of the red-light districts in Amsterdam, with sex workers advertising themselves to passersby in the front windows of flats. I use this model and I have the area largely deserted in daytime but relatively lively of an evening.

To those familiar with the area, or more likely with accounts of it, at that time: does any of that sound glaringly inaccurate?

Thanks in advance for any help folks are able to give.
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Old 10-13-2017, 01:44 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by CyranoJ View Post
Okay, so I'm wondering if I could pick the Literoticates' hive-brain for a moment.

I'm putting the finishing touches on a story set in Birmingham (UK) in 1961. It involves a sting operation being run by a small, fledgling vice squad, and I just want to double-check a few things with people who might be more knowledgeable about the UK in general and the West Midlands in particular than I am. My questions are these:

1. There's a small vice squad operating in Birmingham, as this is just the early period of police developing specialised units to deal with drugs and prostitution. Is this squad mostly likely run by a Detective Inspector or a Detective Chief Inspector? Does it particularly matter? They've also seconded a policewoman from the rank and file to work undercover for them: is she likelier to be a Constable or a Detective Constable, or again, does it particularly matter?

2. I'm trying to salt people's speech with indicators of the Brummie accent without overdoing things. So for example: people greeting one another with alright, saying farewell with ta-ra, going "down the outside" as visiting the local off-license and so on.

Now, it turns out that finding recorded examples of Brummie slang -- and especially period-appropriate examples -- is kind of complicated, since so much content seem focused on making fun of it. Are there any Brummies here, or those familiar with the dialect, who might know whether there are certain red flags, phrases that foreigners imagine Brummies using which they don't actually use that much, or wouldn't have used in the early Sixties?

3. This question is more of a longshot as it requires familiarity with the specific workings of the sex trade in Sixties Birmingham, but it's worth a shot. The story takes place on Varna Road, in the process of earning its reputation as the so-called "wickedest road in Britain." Prostitution by some accounts worked here rather like a harsher version of the red-light districts in Amsterdam, with sex workers advertising themselves to passersby in the front windows of flats. I use this model and I have the area largely deserted in daytime but relatively lively of an evening.

To those familiar with the area, or more likely with accounts of it, at that time: does any of that sound glaringly inaccurate?

Thanks in advance for any help folks are able to give.

Please turn on your PM or let me have an e-mail address.
I live in the West Midlands (not 'western' ) and I'll see what I can do to answer your questions.
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Old 10-13-2017, 02:11 PM   #3
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Please turn on your PM or let me have an e-mail address.
I live in the West Midlands (not 'western' ) and I'll see what I can do to answer your questions.
Thanks man, I appreciate it. You should be able to PM me now. Cheers.
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Old 10-13-2017, 03:55 PM   #4
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There's a BBC TV series called 'Peaky Blinders', set in the 1920's gangland in Birmingham, you can probably find a few episodes on You Tube/Netflix. They speak in Brummy accent and dialect and have some really cool expressions I wish they still used today ('He'd skin a turd for a farthing..' is one of my favourites), and there are on-line dictionaries of Black Country slang and dialect. The name 'Peaky Blinder' apparently comes from the practice of sewing razor blades or sharpened pennies into the brims of their flat-caps so if they were stopped and searched they didn't have an obvious weapon concealed about their person.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBSPvMIkYIY
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Old 10-13-2017, 04:46 PM   #5
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There's a BBC TV series called 'Peaky Blinders', set in the 1920's gangland in Birmingham, you can probably find a few episodes on You Tube/Netflix. They speak in Brummy accent and dialect and have some really cool expressions I wish they still used today ('He'd skin a turd for a farthing..' is one of my favourites), and there are on-line dictionaries of Black Country slang and dialect. The name 'Peaky Blinder' apparently comes from the practice of sewing razor blades or sharpened pennies into the brims of their flat-caps so if they were stopped and searched they didn't have an obvious weapon concealed about their person.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBSPvMIkYIY
An outstanding series, stunning television; right up there with the very best, I think.

The way Cillian Murphy as Tommy says, "Grace"... it's a caress.

Also, it's got Tom Hardy playing a Jewish thug, which isn't something you see often - quite extraordinary to watch. Highly recommended.
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Old 10-13-2017, 04:49 PM   #6
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I've heard of Peaky Blinders but hadn't thought of it in ages until just this moment. Thank you!
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"Why are you wearing that stupid Man suit?"

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"These crab cakes are good as a mug. I fucks with these crab cakes."

- "Ann Coulter", The Boondocks

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- Peter K. Rosenthal
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Old 10-13-2017, 05:31 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by CyranoJ View Post
1. There's a small vice squad operating in Birmingham, as this is just the early period of police developing specialised units to deal with drugs and prostitution. Is this squad mostly likely run by a Detective Inspector or a Detective Chief Inspector? Does it particularly matter? They've also seconded a policewoman from the rank and file to work undercover for them: is she likelier to be a Constable or a Detective Constable, or again, does it particularly matter?
The UK regulars will know better than me, but in that period female police had distinct titles e.g. "Woman Police Constable" (WPC) rather than the male "Police Constable" (PC). She wouldn't be a Detective Constable, since the first WDC wasn't appointed until 1973.

For undercover work they might prefer to go with somebody relatively junior who's less likely to be recognised.

I want to plug Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes here; they're not quite the right time or place, and they have some explicitly SF elements, so you wouldn't want to rely on them too heavily for points of fact, but might still be good for atmosphere.
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Old 10-13-2017, 05:48 PM   #8
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The UK regulars will know better than me, but in that period female police had distinct titles e.g. "Woman Police Constable" (WPC) rather than the male "Police Constable" (PC). She wouldn't be a Detective Constable, since the first WDC wasn't appointed until 1973.

For undercover work they might prefer to go with somebody relatively junior who's less likely to be recognised.
Excellent, thanks. I will check out those stories.
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"Why are you wearing that stupid Man suit?"

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"These crab cakes are good as a mug. I fucks with these crab cakes."

- "Ann Coulter", The Boondocks

"Our Spider-Minx enjoys toying with him. You can almost picture the knowing smirk beneath that mask."

- Peter K. Rosenthal
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Old 10-13-2017, 05:55 PM   #9
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I forgot.
In 1961, there was no "West Midlands" as a regional identity.
Birmingham (city) was/is in Warwickshire, so there was probably a County Police force (as opposed to a city force). (A great deal of re-organisation was going on round that time).
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Incident at Cemetery Junction.
" Pest Control."
"Mavis's Car Trip."
"Norman-the-dragon. "
"Stacy & the Angel. "
" Earth Tremor on Stage ? "
" Charlie's Story. "
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Old 10-13-2017, 06:13 PM   #10
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I forgot.
In 1961, there was no "West Midlands" as a regional identity.
Birmingham (city) was/is in Warwickshire, so there was probably a County Police force (as opposed to a city force). (A great deal of re-organisation was going on round that time).
Information online indicates there was a Birmingham City Police until '74, but I don't specify the particular entity in-story so it may not matter so much. Thank you, though.
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"Why are you wearing that stupid Man suit?"

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"These crab cakes are good as a mug. I fucks with these crab cakes."

- "Ann Coulter", The Boondocks

"Our Spider-Minx enjoys toying with him. You can almost picture the knowing smirk beneath that mask."

- Peter K. Rosenthal
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Old 10-13-2017, 06:18 PM   #11
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Excellent, thanks. I will check out those stories.
TV shows, sorry, wasn't clear about that. Also, the UK original "Life on Mars" not the US remake, which I'm informed is dreadful.
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Old 10-14-2017, 04:35 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by beachbum1958 View Post
There's a BBC TV series called 'Peaky Blinders', set in the 1920's gangland in Birmingham, you can probably find a few episodes on You Tube/Netflix. They speak in Brummy accent and dialect and have some really cool expressions I wish they still used today ('He'd skin a turd for a farthing..' is one of my favourites), and there are on-line dictionaries of Black Country slang and dialect. The name 'Peaky Blinder' apparently comes from the practice of sewing razor blades or sharpened pennies into the brims of their flat-caps so if they were stopped and searched they didn't have an obvious weapon concealed about their person.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBSPvMIkYIY
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bramblethorn View Post
TV shows, sorry, wasn't clear about that. Also, the UK original "Life on Mars" not the US remake, which I'm informed is dreadful.
So much of LoM was referenced to previous programmes like "the Sweeny" and similar that I doubt it would be possible to translate it to USA TV.

And sewing a Razor blade wasn't limited to a cap peak. It used to go on with the lapels, too.
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Incident at Cemetery Junction.
" Pest Control."
"Mavis's Car Trip."
"Norman-the-dragon. "
"Stacy & the Angel. "
" Earth Tremor on Stage ? "
" Charlie's Story. "
" How to do Audio. "
http://www.literotica.com/stories/me...php?uid=883259
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Old 10-14-2017, 06:15 AM   #13
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Information online indicates there was a Birmingham City Police until '74, but I don't specify the particular entity in-story so it may not matter so much. Thank you, though.
(Warwickshire Police) was established in 1840 as Warwickshire Constabulary. It did not, however, even cover all the rural areas of the county until 1857. Birmingham, Coventry, Leamington Spa, Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick originally had their own police forces. The Warwickshire force absorbed Warwick Borough Police in 1875 and Stratford-upon-Avon Borough Police in 1889 with Leamington Borough Police lasting until 1946. In 1969, Coventry City Police amalgamated with Warwickshire Constabulary and the force became Warwickshire and Coventry Constabulary. However, with the inclusion of Coventry in the new county of the West Midlands in 1974, Coventry passed to the new West Midlands Police, which also took over the areas of the Birmingham City Police and part of the northwestern area of Warwickshire (around Solihull and Sutton Coldfield). Warwickshire Constabulary reverted to its old name.

Birmingham City Police was a police force responsible for policing the city of Birmingham in England until 1974, when on 1 April it was amalgamated under the Local Government Act 1972 with West Midlands Constabulary and parts of other forces to form the West Midlands Police.Following Chartist rioting in 1839, when one hundred police had to be brought from London, an Act of Parliament was passed on 26 August 1839 "for improving the Police in Birmingham". Birmingham was required to have at least 250 constables and 50 officers.[1] A commissioner was to be appointed by the Home Secretary and report to him.[1] The Birmingham force came into being on 20 November 1839 with 260 men. Francis Burgess, a local barrister, was appointed as the first police commissioner for Birmingham.[2] On 12 August 1842 a new Police Act transferred responsibility to the Birmingham Town Council and another removed doubts as to the authority of the council.

Birmingham City Police were dissolved 31 Match 1974, so at the time you are writing about they would have existed. The Chief Constable (god, I love that) from 1963 - 1974 was Sir William Derrick Capper.

http://film.britishcouncil.org/the-man-on-the-beat - made in 1945. The training and principles of police officers, their duties whilst on the beat, and their role within the community, set in the old district of Birmingham known as Ladywood.

http://www.westmidlandspolicemuseum....citypolice.htm

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Old 10-14-2017, 07:58 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Handley_Page View Post
So much of LoM was referenced to previous programmes like "the Sweeny" and similar that I doubt it would be possible to translate it to USA TV.

And sewing a Razor blade wasn't limited to a cap peak. It used to go on with the lapels, too.
My pal Jack McLeod at uni was from Glasgow, and his dad told him about the razor-blades-in-the-lapels thing, because up there and back then, when you got headbutted, the guy doing it would grab your lapels and yank you closer as he headbutted you. Jack tells me they used to say things like 'Hey, Ned, can yer mither sew? Yeah? Guid, get her to stitch this!", followed by a headbutt to the bridge of the nose. Jack says it was called 'diggin' in a jaggy bunnet' in Glasgow street slang, and 'Ned' is slang for 'annoying wanker'...
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Old 10-14-2017, 08:05 AM   #15
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My pal Jack McLeod at uni was from Glasgow, and his dad told him about the razor-blades-in-the-lapels thing, because up there and back then, when you got headbutted, the guy doing it would grab your lapels and yank you closer as he headbutted you. Jack tells me they used to say things like 'Hey, Ned, can yer mither sew? Yeah? Guid, get her to stitch this!", followed by a headbutt to the bridge of the nose. Jack says it was called 'diggin' in a jaggy bunnet' in Glasgow street slang, and 'Ned' is slang for 'annoying wanker'...
And my TaeKwonDo instructor told me that was a "Glasgow Kiss." Not much good for me coz I'd be head butting someone's chin at best. Lol.
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Old 10-14-2017, 08:41 AM   #16
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Police women were quite often in the 70's and later referred to as 'plonks,' the men as 'plods.' The reference was usually by their male colleagues and derogatory. P l o n k = person of no knowledge.

If a male superior needed to arrest a woman he might require a plonk to accompany him. British policewomen did not get equal pay until 1974.

I don't think that police of either sex were referred to as either 'pigs' or 'the filth' in the era contemplated.
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Old 10-16-2017, 11:17 PM   #17
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Sounds interesting. Wish I could help but my experience with Birmingham comes to late for your story. I'm from Shropshire but spend a good deal of my time in Worcestershire.

If it helps at all, my old home town from the early 70s was the weekend/long weekend getaway for Brummies. Good weather weeks and the streets into Stourport On Severn were chocka full of cars coming into town from Birmingham. For the fair down by the river and the boat rides, donkeys and other holiday stuff we did. This was mid 70s and early 80s when I was there but locals talked about it always being a destination (used to be able get there by train but not by the time I moved to the town). We also had the West Midlands Safari Park between us, Bewdley and Kidderminster (there is a cave behind the park between Kidderminster and Stourport called Devils Spitful. Some monkeys lived there for awhile when they escaped the park early on in it's exisence (mid 70s is when it opened).

http://stourportfair.co.uk/
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