Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Jamaican Hans Blix

As I spend most of my day driving, I also spend most of my day listening to the radio. For reasons unknown to me, there is a private preparatory school in Pebble Beach that broadcasts BBC news round the clock. Sometimes it makes for good listening.

There is a broadcaster on BBC World Briefing named Neil Nunes. He has a very distinct manner of speech that I find strangely entertaining. I was convinced he was transplanted either from Scandinavia -- he has that deep, Hans Blix nasality -- or some corner of Continental Europe -- maybe Belgium or Luxembourg? For some reason his specific brand of proper Queen's English made me think of Tin Tin comics. Then there was the name - Nunes, pronounced like the Spanish Nunez, that didn't quite fit.

Anyway, it turns out the guy is from Jamaica, and that his distinct accent has created a controversy in the UK. Half of BBC listeners don't like it, find it irritatingly "grating" or "American", which from my perspective makes no sense. The guy sounds as American as Hans Blix. The other half of the UK really likes it, finds it pleasantly exotic. I'm with these folks. He doesn't sound Jamaican to me, but I love Jamaica. So I am pro-Nunes.


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