NFN (me old beauty)

slow you down there

Recently Norfolk County Council, in it’s wisdom, launched a campaign to get Norfolk noticed on the international stage. A worthy cause indeed and I (generally) agree that this county has a lot to offer. Nelson for one thing. He was born in Norfolk. And Stephen Fry lives here. That’s two very famous and important people. Not to mention Delia Smith.

However the strapline they chose to promote this campaign was “Normal for Norfolk”, an attempt to play off the classic stereotype of the country bumpkin and rebrand the county as “a world class place to work and live”. Well possibly. But the heritage of the phrase is rich indeed and has been embraced by the people of Norfolk almost as a badge of honour, a bit like certain groups of teenagers have embraced ASBO’s.

There is a musician who performs under the pseudonym of “Normal for Norfolk“, singing songs about amusing stereotypes to the tunes of his acoustic guitar. They’re actually pretty good, although if you don’t know the places he mentions then it probably isn’t as funny. The phrase was apparently used by doctors to describe some of their patients, as described on the predictably named blog (whose name I won’t repeat again).

A Google search returns over 700,000 results. There’s a Flickr group and numerous websites. There’s even been a film made using the phrase as a title.

Norfolk Council are arguing that they’re seeking to reposition the meaning of the phrase, but in my mind ‘Normal for Norfolk’ is already a strange source of regional pride, a strange quirk, an eccentricity unique to a quirky, eccentric land. And I think it’s great.


1 Response to “NFN (me old beauty)”

  1. 1 Matt November 13, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Hey Alan – I think the reaction to the campaign has been generally positive, though the whole Turnip Taliban thing hasn’t been great for Norfolk!

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