If 2002 is remembered as the year when fallout from 9/11 gripped the first world
in it's iron fist, and 2003 saw the irreversible rise of the neo-cons with their
movement towards a war in Iraq, then 2004 can mean only one thing - Chavs.
Deriving from the Latin, chauvinistic burberrus, the chav movement grew like a fat man eating foot-long
hotdogs this year, from a council estate minority-interest club to an overground swarm, the greatest mobilisation of the white working classes since Arthur Scargill fronted The Flying Pickets. What with Dennis Skinner from The Streets and his tale of finding some 'readies' in a TV, Goldie Lookin' Chain covering 'Stutter Rap' for a new generation, and the aspirational glamour of Wayne Rooney, the world of Chavdom has come to hold a vicelike grip on the way we think and behave. This is at once a complicated and contradictory movement, one which embraces black music but enjoys being nationalistic, worships at the altar of 'bling' but never has any money, fetishises the mobile phone without apparent communication skills (at least none beyond grunts and profane mating calls).
Hoping to unpack this sub-group of humanity the television networks have finally cottoned on, realising regular television with it's focus on the middle classes and occasional mingers cannot provide the kind of aspiration and guidance budding Chavs require during that six hours a day they spend slumped in front of the box. This week BBC Digital unveiled plans drawn up by a select group of industry insiders for the first all-chav channel which will begin transmitting in early '05. And Home Defence was there at Broadcasting House, frantically scribbling down the details on a pad of stolen post-its concealed in our trackie bottoms, meaning we can now exclusively reveal some of these shows which, from next year, will be entertaining pikeys from Luton to the Wirral...
Twenty chavettes share a two bedroom council house, comparing Argos jewellery and silver-effect earrings while getting into fights over who's the best in Destiny's Child. Every so often one girly goes on a date with the Chav of her dreams who plies her with cheap champagne and has so much classic Adidas gear he could get the coldest Chavette heart a-pumping. After the liaisons viewers call in, and each week the slapper who is deemed 'least blazin' or most likely to be 'a lezza' gets voted off and publicly dumped into a vat of sewage. Soon the twenty are whittled down to one supposedly-lucky winner who, on her final date with that perfect townie, finds her supposed dream-Chav is actually an actor who finds her repellent.
Talk show hosted by Charlotte Church's big step-sister from a tiny council flat in Cardiff. Each week distinguished guests, from Booker-prize winner Alan Hollinghurst to former foreign secretary Robin Cook, are quizzed by the 21 year-old mother of two on such Chav-centric subjects as "What are you worf?", "What does you drive?", and "Does your wife ming?" All the time shrill harpy Elisha sits before them, clad from head to toe in baggy Kappa and with her topknot pulled so far back she looks like something out of Hellraiser. Reflecting the attention span of her viewers, Elisha often stops listening during her guests' answers to enter text messages into her Nokia or doodle cocks on the Burberry wallpaper. Her audience responds to these actions with whoops, cheers, and swear words.
The councils of two very different towns with burgeoning 'Ned' scenes arrange for a local Chav to be shipped off and hang around an unfamiliar shopping centre for a month or so. The first episode sees disoriented Croydon Chav 'Dazza' swap JJB Sports with scally tea leaf 'Bazza'. How will they react to the new landscape, everything from owning a different vicious dog to having new shops for thievin'? The
Fat Eye For The Big Pie
After dropping a few sprogs called things like 'Tallulah' and 'Asher D', the Chav parent will often spend several decades sitting around her smoke-filled temporary accommodation, gaining serious amounts of weight. This 'social experiment' programme investigates the phenomenon by plucking a wide-eyed - and extremely skinny - teen from an overcrowded orphanage in Eastern Europe, before placing him in a Chav environment and filming the results. Within a few weeks the changes to body and mind are startling, but will pencil-necked Goran show this chav family the error of their over-indulgent ways, or will he instead lapse into a lifestyle of constant snacking, Iceland gourmet cuisine and chips for breakfast? What do you think?
Al Likilla Investigates
Following in the footsteps of those great investigative journalists of the past like Bob Woodward and Paul Kenyon, Home Defence's finest dons sideways baseball cap, burberry waistcoat and ice-white trainers in order to infiltrate a gang of Essex Chavs. Al learns of their culture, mating habits and aspirations for the future, finding many a moving story here in the Chav heartland, like one hard townie's heartwarming dream of running a market stall or his girfriend hoping for a GCSE. Plenty of (sub-)human interest and growing tension, particularly when Likilla has to somehow get out of Brentwood alive after accidentally blowing his cover by forgetting to act surly, showing respect for women and using a word with three syllables.
Cookery show fronted by Colleen McLoughlin. Each week the legendary teenager makes a typical chav viewer feel better about herself by failing to make a straightforward recipe in time for Wayne's arrival home. Within minutes of turning the gas on McLoughlin is setting off smoke alarms, opting to boil the chicken and slathering everything in lard. Eventually desperation sets in and Colleen phones out for Big Macs instead, much to Rooney's gratitiude. The show ends with the two of them eating like pigs.
A Cultural History Of The Kev
Social theorist and proponent of global activism John Pilger narrates this overview of the chav throughout history, covering their linguistic progress through to a non-verbal state as well as status symbols and social habits. This series includes an exploration of super-strength bottled ciders and insights into metaphysical issues, such as why fake designer brands inspire as much excitement in Chavs as a new house or conservatory would amongst the bourgeoisie. Meanwhile Pilger's despairing voiceover provides a hilarious counterpoint to the footage of our society in irreversible decline.
How Clean Is Your Chav?
Self-explanatory show wherein families on benefit nominate the smelliest of their number to get a thorough washing and coffee enema by a team of hygenists, trained medical staff and Chav stylists. The series tends to feature teenage fathers who succumb to this brush up with whimpers or threaten to turn nasty when their sovereign rings are taken away to be de-grimed. Luckily these lads get ample reward, sparkling like their shoes by the end to win prizes of more than £500 for 'gypping-up' their motors, resulting in more Novas on the roads with internal surround sound and tasty wheel arches. Quali'y.
Further programmes are still to be announced, but with every style mag in Christendom worshipping the Von
Dutch look and vacuum cleaner companies employing a Chavved up wildebeest to advertise their products in
the new 'Tyson the Dyson Bison'* range, it looks like the future is beige, checked, and covered in cheap
jewellery. With this in mind I think the BBC are backing a winner. Until next time, this is Al Likilla saying,
*The copyright on 'Tyson the Dyson Bison' and travel show spin-off 'Bill Bryson meets Tyson the Dyson Bison' are held by Clint Panzerdivision. Thank you.