Note: The word "bling
" will not be used in this node. Instead, I will use the term "jewellery
". I invite you to join me.
We could hear them before we could see them.
Remember when the peace of the late eighties was shattered by cars with thudding drum beats? That was just the beginning. Thanks to the films of Guy Ritchie, the world knows the word "pikey". Here's another word that you can use in the same context: "chav". A catch-all name to describe Britain's "burgeoning underclass youth". A term less offensive than "gobshite". Chavs are aggressive, rude and ignorant. Chav and "chavvy" are the terms that seem to be settling down as the standard nickname for this awful scum infesting England, but there are plenty of regional variations.
The Burgeoning Chav Nickname List - KEEP 'EM COMING!
- Chavvy - alternative
- Chavies - alternative spelling
- Charver - London
- Ned - Scotland
- Spide - Ireland
- Millie - Ireland
- Townie- alternative to Chav
- Kevs - in the Midlands (thanks to wertperch)
- Shaz - a female Chav (thanks to a scar faery)
- Shazza - alternative
- Scallies or Scally- Liverpool (been around for a long time)
- Trevs - East Grinstead (thanks to Helen4Morrissey)
- Scranners - Sheffield - (Helen4Morrissey again)
- Schemie - Scotland - 'housing scheme' (thanks to Call)
- Ratboy - popularised in Viz comic
- Kappa Slapper - Viz comic
(The rest are all nicked from chavscum.co.uk)
- Scutters - erm... Red Dwarf?
- Hood Rats
The origin of the word seems to have lots of possible sources. For many decades at Charterhouse, the public school boys used the word to refer to everyone who didn't go to public school; you and me in effect*. Now that British journalists have just recently discovered the word, all the papers seem to have an opinion as to its origin and are proudly announcing it as the word of the year. Hmm. One dumb hack wrote that it was a contraction of "Chatham average", Chatham being a town in Kent, but this is certainly wrong. Another dubious source is an acronym derived from "Council House Violent". For decades, "chav" was part of a traditional phrase used by Londoners. "She dropped a chav" was used to mean "gave birth". In this context, chavs are simply kids, apparently deriving from "chavi", a Romany word meaning "boy". So we have an etymological contender that fits the bill... but used by caravan gippos.
The musical staples of a chav's MP3 player are rap, hip-hop, R&B and dance music. Bands that cash in on this subculture, such as Goldie Lookin' Chain and The Streets, are merely DJs that have seen a gap in the market and have allied themselves with chavs. This gives me pause for thought. I often wonder how a chav would manage on the streets of Harlem (they would probably be eaten alive and spat out in a second). No chav has ever spent any meaningful time in Los Angeles. They have not experienced social discord on a level that Snoop might rap about. Let's face it; Ipswich is not rife with drive-by shootings. Therefore, they must have selected aspects of their subculture from hip hop music videos filtered through satellite and cable television. I suppose it's analogous to the teddy boys of the fifties.
You may see a gang of white trash walking through a shopping centre with an affected hard-bitten attitude. For example, I once overheard a conversation where a fifteen year old illustrated his prowess as a pimp. As a result, chavs are all the more annoying. Flava Flav can pull it off—a spotty white kid from Kent cannot.
Wot dey luk like
Not all chavs wear jewellery, probably because they cannot afford it. But those that do go for the budget stuff from Elizabeth Duke. They must think that Argos jewellery is a sound investment and that Gerald Ratner should go back into business. But even without all the shit-looking chains, they are still very easy to spot:
A chav is not a chav until he/she is wearing a baseball cap. They are made with a special kind of material that absorbs the IQ out through the skull. Chav clothes are strictly "sports casual". The whiter the clothes, the better. Chavs prefer the bootlegged sweaters and tracksuits, especially if the name of the designer is printed in big letters. The usual suspects are of course:
I suspect that people in England hadn't noticed the growth of the chav because at one point there was nothing wrong with wearing Burberry. Let's not forget, the chavs ruined Burberry by overkill. They spoofed and cheapened the trademark beige tartan design. The chav look is now dated, but your chav is too dim-witted to notice. Think about the way the Beastie Boys looked twenty years ago. Perhaps this is why we noticed the chavs. The rest of the world moved on, but the chavs did not.
BBC Radio Four seems to have a growing preoccupation with this phenomenon, broadcasting discourse on how the middle classes have been frightened indoors by this street-ruling subculture. In the past, the Daily Mail readership (i.e. old ladies) has been frightened by punks, mods, rockers and mochas. These were the moral panics during the "tabloid decades". Newspapers would confuse a variety of youth subcultures, tarring everyone with the same brush. In the mind of the man on the street, a typical nineteen year old John Lydon fan with a mohican was automatically a criminal. We now know of course that this was completely inaccurate. What is correct however, is that today's "chav culture" seems to have swollen to a point where it cannot be ignored. The chav has been able to slip under the radar, except now we have a name with which to brand them. As a result, this subculture has revealed itself as a genuine social nuisance. And what sets this new variety of gobshite apart from previous young shitheads is the proud ignorance they display. Your punk is politically aware. Your chav however, really is as thick as shit. This blissful cluelessness of their odd outward appearance, for example, provides them with a buffer zone of security. Their inability (or perhaps unwillingness) to correctly pronounce "th" attests this. I am wiv de Daily Mail on this one; if the existence of Blazin' Squad isn't a cue for moral panic, I don't know what is.
I was going to mention the smashed windows of public phone booths, the family who keep the neighbourhood awake all night screaming at each other and I was ready to list all the abusive comments that they publicly hurl at people who are minding their own business. I didn't, because I thought it would be unfair in some way. I realised that this underclass subculture has nothing. Perhaps this is the only way they have to forge some respect. Violence and aggression on the high street is the only power they have.
But yesterday I watched a Chav throw a small dog into oncoming traffic and laugh with his mates. That's why I wrote this snobby rant. I don't have a problem with saying chavs have got to go.
Take a look at chavscum.co.uk, the website that chronicles these easy and deserving targets.
It just occurred to me... why not resurrect Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal; update it to include chavs? I'm sure they're tasty if not a little bitter.
Uh oh! Looks like The Sun has a new campaign celebrating how wonderful the chav is! Well, just because some downmarket tabloid journalist writes a couple articles about vandals, doesn't make them lovable and acceptable. It's fear. Chavs form a large proportion of their target demographic.
Lots of "amusing" books sprung up in the weeks leading up to Christmas, some celebrating, some sending up chavs. And now... (fanfare): Sky One is airing an insightful documentary about 'em. I hope they don't alienate their entire subscription base! Julie Burchill examines the phenomena... blah de blah. Thank God we've got Julie Burchill to examine this stuff for us dim slobs. It asks the question: "Isn't 'chav' a derogatory modernised term for the working class?" Well, no. It's a derogatory modernised term for the drunken scum who smash car windows and stab old ladies. It's a derogatory modernised term for people in your neighbourhood who hang on street corners at night, pissed drunk, screaming abuse at you if they don't like your face, causing the value of your house to drop. Burchill is a perfect example of a Lumpen-media, earning a living off the dysfunctions of the classes. She has rebranded herself as a chav, as opposed to a punk journalist. I propose a reverse-revolution where the middle and working classes overthrow the underclass (and Julie Bleedin' Burchill). Julie... you're not a chav, dear. You can actually spell for starters.
I spotted this factette on Wikipedia. Those little turds. Little rich turds. A turd with a speedboat is still a turd. But it brought into focus a class distinction that one man's chav is another's equal.