A little snippet of conversational life surrounding ‘Pokemon Go’.
Scene: the kitchen, west Yorkshire. Father of the house, daughter, her friend and me.
Young Friend: (Showing my daughter Pokemon Go on her new phone) See – this is what you do with Pokemon Go – and that’s where I am right now. I’m in your kitchen. And see over there, you can see a …
Father: (interrupting) Well – I can’t believe how fast they’re churning this stuff out – Nintendo, I mean – wish to God I’d bought shares in it a couple of years ago when no one wanted to touch them with a barge pole.
Young Friend: (ignoring him) Yeah. It’s well cool. We got stuck into a Pokegym today. It were right next to a bus stop what we thought were normally well-dull!
Father: So have there been plenty of benches to visit nearby in the new upgrade? They seem to like you kids visiting treasured local features such as ‘benches’ and ‘The Co-op’ don’t they?
Young Friend: Well, yeah – with Pokemon Go you can see all kinds of interesting things. Petrol stations too.
Daughter: I dunno why the adults are well- freaked out about it. We even got a letter from school – well, it were a letter from the police actually. Warnin’ us not be be total di…
Father:– Watch it …
Young Friend: Yeah, we got that letter at our school too. Warnin’ us not to be total luntics around it all. I mean – it’s not like it’s some app what Isis created is it? Like someone’s out there tryin’ to use Pokemon Go to make us all wanna blow up Meadowhall or the Trafford Centre or …
Daughter: Or like.. Pikachu is tryin’ to brainwash you into killing your little brother, or summat?! I mean – they wouldn’t encourage that sort of thing with Pokemon Go! Even though my brother is really … annoying.
Young Friend: Well, when you get your new phone, maybe your mum and dad will let you get Pokemon Go on it (looking sternly at us, mean-spirited parents, that we are)
Father: Well, I wouldn’t want her having the first version even – so she won’t be getting the upgrade of this new app that you’re both on about.
Young Friend: (to the Father) Don’t know why you’re thinking there’s a new version. (To daughter) But anyway – I don’t get why they’re all bothered about it – on the news. So … right… there’s been a few kids in America who have fallen off the edges of the Rocky mountains, or whatever when they were doin’ a Pokestop. But come on…!
Daughter: Yeah! Come on! …And – weren’t there some lad what fell into a canal when he were looking at his phone? And didn’t drown – but he found a dead body instead of the Jigglypuff what he were lookin’ for.
Young Friend: Yeah, I think I heard about that. But… when you think about it. Pokemon Go is helping society isn’t it? ‘Cause he would have found a rotting body in the canal what the police would be looking for, for ages – and that would have been costing them a load of money.
The Big D: I agree. You kids are all helping society in many ways with all of this roaming around town and country rather than waiting for your parents to ferry you about in their 4 wheel drives like you normally do – but I’m still struggling to understand how different this new version of Pokemon is? What’s the deal with Pokemon Go?
Young Friend: Dunno what you mean – what new version are you on about? It’s just Pokemon Go. It’s just come out. There’s no new version.
Me: (to the girls) Listen to how he’s pronouncing this – ‘Pokemon Gohhrrr’. You keep talking about ‘Pokemon Gohhrrr’. He’s trying to make a prejudiced, anti-northern point about the way that you both speak. People in west Yorkshire say ‘gohhhrrr’ instead of ‘go.’
Father: And lots of other sloppy excuses for speech errors. Remember the Christmas cards at junior school addressed to ‘Alfeh’ and ‘Chloeh’?
Daughter: Well that’s all very hypocritical innit, Dad? (To friend) He’s from Birmingham and lost his accent on purpose when he was a teenager, ’cause he was so embarrassed. Shouldn’t be ashamed of how you’re born to talk.
Young Friend: Don’t worry about it. Grown up’s do this sort of thing to you – to make themselves feel better. They criticise how we talk, how we game, what clothes we wear. They’ve forgotten what it’s like to be young – and to have fun.
Father: Yes. Excuse me whilst I don’t have *fun*, stumbling under the 306 bus to Huddersfield and maiming myself for life – whilst trying to claim a Clefairy or whatever, during my latest game of Pokemon Gohhhrrr.
Me: Well, I think that the kids are right. We’ve got no room to talk. When we were their age, we used to get our laughs watching some man – with his hand up the bum of a green toy duck called Orville. Times have moved on, dear.
Father: Orville never caused any problems in society. Or warnings issued by the west Yorkshire police force. No, you can keep your Pokemon Gohhhhr.
Daughter: (to friend) It’s like he was born in the last century or summat!
Father: I was!
Me: Oooh – Get you! You just said ‘Oii worrss’! Your innate Brumminess refuses to be hidden when you get all stressed! Yam’s all het up now, in’t yam! (girls erupt into laughter.)
Father: …Bunch of Yorkshire snobs.