Auntie Doris’s Book Club #13: “Me Sannies are Brannies” by John Brien


My nephew Michael bought me this book for Christmas. It’s a slim volume, just like his ruddy poetry book is. But it’s a good read. I really enjoyed it. But maybe that’s because I come from Hull, in East Yorkshire, England. (Not that Canadian one.) and the book is all about the Hull dialect, accent and words that are specific to Hull. If you know what “My sannies are brannies” means, the chances are that you either come from Hull, have lived there for a significant time, or know someone who does or has really well. I’m not going to tell you what it means though. Not yet anyway. You will have to guess in the comments box below. So there. Mind you, there’s a pretty big clue on the front of the book.

Any road, I liked John. He doesn’t come from Hull either, in fact, if the truth be known, he’s one of those ruddy southerners. But his heart is in the right place. And besides, he moved to Hull 46 years ago when he was 15 years old, and he has never left. People don’t, until they pass over to the other side.

He seems to be quite a brainy bloke. He talks all about language and dialect and verbs, bowels and constonants, none of which I could ever get my head around, but the book is an easy enough read, and full of funny stories., and words that I haven’t heard in donkey’s ages. It really warmed the cockles of my heart to read about diddlums (Christmas savings clubs) croggies (back seat lifts on a push bike) and bauking (retching or vomiting).

It’s a funny place, Hull. You don’t really go through it to go anywhere else, despite Withernsea being an ideal holiday destination for young and old alike, and despite them building the Humber Bridge, (which isn’t actually in Hull, but just outside and is only really a short cut for people wanting to travel beween Hull and Grimsby anyway. The Motorway runs out twelve miles before you get to Hull, and there are still some parts of the town centre that haven’t changed in living memory (such as that toilet block behind the library.)

Of course, by his own admission, John gets a bit carried away and claims some words and phrases for Hull that are probably used in a load of other places as well. But that doesn’t matter. They are still words and phrases that add to the character of the place, and fill anyone with a heart full of nostalgia and warm feelings (especially if they come from Hull.)

Even if you don’t come from Hull, I reckon it’s worth a read. particularly as Hull is going to be the UK City of Culture in 2017. I am very sorry that I will miss that, what with me being a deceased person. But then again. I might manage to manifest myself through my nephew’s body and join in the celebrations in some small way. You never know.

You can order the book from it is on the Amazon too. But they would send all the money straight to America without paying any tax on it.

Now tell me what you think “Me sannies are brannies” means.

Auntie Doris’s Book Club #7: The Great British Poets – Vol XVII: Mike O’Brien

advertMy nephew Michael had his 53rd birthday this week. Bless him. It only seems like half a century since he was a little lad sitting on my knee, and listening to what I had to say without any back chat or cheek. How ruddy times have changed. Any road, he celebrated his birthday by achieving two personal ambitions. First off, he got to meet one of his heroes, John Otway, “Rock and Roll’s Greatest Failure” and support him with his ruddy silly pop group, Pocketful O’Nowt. and second off, he published a book of his ruddy silly poems. Having said that, I know he is ruddy silly, but I am a bit proud of him an’all.

This book is a bit slim, but it does contain twenty of his poems, and an introduction by Professor Iain Duncan Norville, Chair of English Literature at the University of Wath upon Dearne. Some of the poems are old songs that he doesn’t do in his pop group any more. there is one where our michael dreams that he is David Bowie. (He always has his head in the clouds, dreaming he is ruddy famous, rather than getting any proper work done.) Here is a bit of  another one about Steve Peregrin Took, who used to play the bongos with Marc Bolan.

Steve Peregrin Took
Had a charming English hippie look
That English hippie lasses found appealing
When he travelled up and down the land
As the bongo man in Bolan’s band
He pulled more birds than Bolan did
And Bolan hit the ceiling

There are other poems which are just plain rude. One about a tramp who is a bit too excited in the trouser department, and one which describes the lovely east Riding of Yorkshire as smelling of something that has just fallen out of a cow’s arse.  Personally, I don’t hold with swearing, its not ruddy big, and its not ruddy clever.

So its a shame that Michael feels he has to resort to it. Because some of his poems are quite clever. like the one about the hog roast, where the hog has the last laugh, and the one about the smiling Victorians. My grandmother would have liked that one. My father would have agreed with this bit..

They say that a smile is like an ankle
or even a calf
That only someone close
Should be allowed to gaze upon it 
Not a thing to be photographed
And exposed to the stares of all and sundry

There’s a good one at the end too, “Anyone can Do It” which is clever, because it lets the secret out of the bag that its fairly easy to get yourself published… Here’s a bit of that one.

So the next time someone shows you
Their latest book you should
Resist the urge to be impressed
Unless its any good
Anyone can do it nowadays

I reckon that this poetry book of our Michael’s just about scrapes in as being “any good” You will probably laugh a bit as you are reading through the poems, and maybe you will remember the gist of one or two of them an’all.

You can buy it on Amazon. Our Michael has already bought thirty and is wondering what to do with the royalties. It is lavishly illustrated with old black and white drawings that he has pinched off the internet. It is also available as one of them Kindles books, but there are no pictures in that one, because he couldn’t work out how to upload them all without spoiling them, and besides, it would have made it more expensive for people to upload, or download, or whatever ruddy load it is when you buy one.

He tells me that if anybody does actually buy one because of reading this review, he will get me a bottle of Harvey’s Bristol Cream, but if he sells enough he will get me a Harvey’s Amontillado. I’m not sure I fancy Amontillado though, so don’t feel ruddy obliged to go mad. Your relatives would probably prefer it if you knited them something for Christmas.