You mean you don't know about our fabulous English county?? Tha's got to be kidding us. We're England's answer to Texas. Big, bold and beautiful.
It's been pointed out that some visitors might not know about God's own county. Or have been lulled up here to Yorkshire by some spin-dried TV commercial, looking for stray piece of Bronte mythology to roll around in.
I mean everyone knows about Yorkshire. You might have yomped around Cornwall in your bobble hat and big boots looking for tea and clotted cream. You might have driven your Land Rover 4x4 up to the Lake District and written your poem about daffodils. You might even have spent some serious time hanging around a Scots loch looking for Nessie with the wind tossing your sporran. But Yorkshire is something else entirely. As if you didn't know.
The great thing about Yorkshire is the way it entirely lives up to expectations. Visitors have to a bit tougher than the average. A big, physical rough-hewn diamond that even those born here are slightly in awe of. If you've come to catch fish, you have to be prepared to stand waist high in some picturesque, yet unforgiving river. If you want to write your poem you've got to stand tall on limestone outcrops, or brave the freezing fog upon Malham Tarn. If you want to get wrecked, you've got to dodge gangs of drunken pro footballers celebrating their England call up.
Whatever you've heard about us, it's all true. Our celebrities are perfect; blowing up huge cigar smokescreens of bluff, straight talking no-nonsense Cro-Magnon man. There's Boycott, Parky, Jimmy Saville, Prince Naz, Arthur Scargill and John Prescott (honorary Yorkie) all scaring the crap out of pesky southerners who drift up the A-1 looking for culture. "Tha'll not find culture raand ere mate. Just turn yersen raand, look fer signs to Lincolnshire, and ask again..." If you think Alan Bennett was the singer in Talking Heads, Ted Hughes were a wing half for Doncaster Rovers, and Thomas Chippendale waved his woody around at hen parties you deserve everything you get.
Southerners continue to see us as the archetypal northerner, giving us a flat cap, a ferret and a union card, coming on with as much ee-bar-gum they can muster. "Nowt so queer as folk where there's muck there's trouble at' mill, me old mucker". The likes of Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse do a very passable northern git routine, and we laugh like drains, partly in the knowledge that we're nothing like the cliché.
It's also quite sad that folks haven't quite gotten over the gritty northern film realism of the early 60s. Faux northerners like Laurence Harvey and Simone Signoret frugging away in rented terraced houses, whilst Albert Finney smoked his roll-up and muttered something profane at a coal mine. We're either living a black and white, film noir steel town existence, scraping a living stripping in Working Men's Clubs, or we're glowering down on some Technicolor landscape from a huge black horse, trying not to fall for Helena Bonham Carter and swearing at the mill workers. But that's OK. Us blokes can always grown stubble and pull a 19th century moody when in need of a chat up line. Mean, silent and dour works wonders when you're tongue tied. It worked for Heathcliffe.
Meanwhile, our girls have been showing the way. Yorkshire telly totty has always gotten England's pulses racing, with Malandra Burrows, Leah Bracknell, Claire King and Lisa Riley all showing the stick-thin southern uber-blondes how to shake a tail feather. With the likes of The Spice Girls' Mel B, Moloko's Roisin Murphy, and Huddersfield's answer to Britney Spears, Ellie Campbell (what? Not a star yet?) showing the way, a northern lass is the stuff of dreams for your average Englishman desperate for a straight talking girl with a bit of meat with her two veg. He doesn't stand a chance, mind...
And it's no good sitting in some Travel Tavern off the M62 and complaining about service; how northerners are all dour, bluff, no-nonsense, down to earth monosyllabic cloth capped pie eating miserables. You want to get out more, get off the beaten track, leave the subsistance-waged conglomorate-owned motel chains and find some real people to chat up. We're just messing with your head, mate. Ave another one!
We could also give you all the neue-touriste clapcrap about how we're overtaking Scotland in per-capita earnings (not to mention population), and how we can answer phones with the best of them. "Hello, this is Insignia Cybermicrosystems where our goal is complete customer satisfaction, Kylie speaking how may I help you...Hello? Hello??". But, come on, it's not very Yorkshire is it. We can spell cappuccino and vegetarian, and if you ask nicely we'll even find you some Gevrey Chambertain - Ropiteau '94 and not pour it into a beer glass.
We can scrub up with the best of 'em, given a quarter of a chance. Any excuse. A Yorkshire gathering is ablaze with leggy glamour girls and tuxed up lotharios. And that's just the funerals. Weddings, parties anything is the order of the day - with Yohji Yamamoto disappearing off the Pollyanna racks like sugar off a shovel, there's no shortage of haute couture strutting around the region looking for action.
.Don't be fooled by the costume dramas, the corny comedies or the cheesy tourist ads. TV news bimbos never stray north of Watford anyway, unless there's a foot and mouth scare or a teenage mother to doorstep. Just leave your cloth cap stereotypes at the county border, and brace yourself for a big surprise.
Yorkshire is - modesty aside - the biggest, brightest, sharpest, most positive place in the UK. It has pride, heart, and strength well beyond its 6000 square mile borders. The place we call home is big enough for everyone, so if you can't get yourself here in person, just leave it all to the Internet.
Welcome to Yorkshire!
"Ayup", by the way, is an all purpose Yorkshire word that means Hello, How are you, Whassup, What are you up to, Look at this, Oy!, Gerroff, See that?, Bloody hell!, Are you listening? Watch out, Where you been, Pay attention, Wake up...