The biggest struggles about being a Midlander
There’s a gap in the ‘North-South divide’ that everyone seems to have forgotten about.
The question ‘where are you from?’ seems like a simple one at first, but for those of us who live in the Midlands, there’s just no easy answer.
Oppositions of the North/South variety often tend to dominate the way people think and because of this, coming from the Midlands is tantamount to coming from pretty much nowhere in particular.
‘So are you from the North or the South then ?’
This is the dreaded question that every Midlander must face on a daily basis. For those that live South of the Watford gap, the Midlands often constitutes as something along the lines of ‘you speak funny so you must be from the North.’
Other responses range from anything between ‘down South’ to ‘I don’t know anything about the Midlands but I did see a sign for it at a roundabout once.’ The clue is in the title people. We’re in the middle!
The East/West divide
Forget about the North/South divide, there’s a sharp divide between the East and the West in the Midlands. This is the only divide that Midlanders can relate to.
People from Coventry in the West, don’t have anything in common with those ‘crisp bag-fiddlers’ down the road in Leicester. Midlanders don’t appreciate being lumped together, thank you very much. No wonder we have an image problem, we can’t even agree we come from the same place!
We’re under-represented in the media
The media often focuses on the North/South divide, meaning us Midlanders barely get a look in. Game of Thrones tells the story of a bitter feud between the Starks and the Lannisters. The Starks are the rebellious northerners against the southern establishment in the form of the Lannisters, but there’s no mention of ‘The King in the Midlands’.
We’re too bloody modest
English History tends to be written from the perspective of that North/South divide. However, the truth is, the Midlands has played an important role in sculpting the England we know today. The problem is, we just don’t really go on about it that much. As a result, our history and achievements are rarely acknowledged.
The industrial revolution is considered a Northern phenomenon but in fact, it might never have occurred were it not for the ingenuity of the Midlanders. In 1832, the Great Reform Act was signed, which laid the foundations of our modern electoral system and it happened all thanks to Brum. Don’t forget we have Walkers crisps as well. You’re welcome.
A lack of distinctive qualities
Midlanders don’t really have a prescribed set of characteristics that might qualify us as ‘Midlanders.’ Phrases such as ‘posh southerner’ or ‘northern monkey’ are often casually thrown about, but nobody ever says ‘yeah he’s a typical Midlander.’ Sure, people from Birmingham might sound a bit funny but that’s about it really. There’s a lot more to our regional identity than people think, but we can’t even identify those distinctive qualities ourselves.
Words nobody understands
After we’ve established that no one knows where we’re from. There’s the issue of the language barrier. We might suffer from a lack of identity, but we still have our own lingo that nobody else understands. The words ‘cob’ and ‘mardy’ sound familiar to you? I didn’t think so.
What even is ‘tea’ or ‘lunch’ time? We call it ‘dinner’ round here.
No road signs
It’s not really a surprise nobody knows where we are. The propaganda begins as soon as you leave London and reach a sign saying ‘THE NORTH.” People are forever driving past signs for ‘THE NORTH,’ but it’s not until Milton Keynes that ‘THE MIDLANDS’ even gets a mention!
We just want to be recognised for our role in shaping the country’s history
This is something people seem to be forgetting. It’s home to some of the most vibrant cities in the UK and has long been a source of almost everything that is good about English culture and history. Walkers crisps, Marmite and of course, Gary Lineker, are just a few of the many great things that have come out of the Midlands.
It’s time we heard more from the middle. Midlanders must proudly embrace their regional and cultural identity in order to become a power bloc on the National map. I have a dream, that one day, the term ‘Midlander’ will resonate like that of ‘Southerner’ and ‘Northerner.’ It’s a shame that Martin Luther King wasn’t one though.