Monday, 26 October 2009

Southerner and Proud...Most of the Time

I am writing this blog as a link up with Melissa and her great Smitten By Britain Blog. Apparently our American cousins love us all so much they want to know a little bit more about the real Britain of today, from the people, to the dialects.

So I am offering my input for all us Southerners out there. We're not as culturally diverse as our London neighbours, and hell, we get a bit of stick these days but you got to love a region that includes the Garden of England.

I'm from The Medway Towns, born and bred.

If you're wondering why you're familiar with the place, then its probably because you've seen it on Street Wars. Or The Chavs documentary by Julie Burchill. Or for our poor footie team, The Gills.

Yes, we are the Motherland for the Chav.

The term "Chav" is actually from Romany Gypsies, and was originally used to describe a child, but for some reason has evolved to describe someone who is prone to wearing hoods, excessive amounts of very garish and cheap gold jewellery, and for being slightly thick.

There's also the delightful "Chavette" a girl version of the male Chav. Think Vicky Pollard from Little Britain and you immediately have your classic Chavette image. This includes another vast smattering of ridiculous gold (the horseshoe or clown seen here being de rigeur for any chavette), an affection for the tracksuit, the pinker and more cheap the better, a scraped back ponytail (know as the Croydon Facelift) and several children (mostly of unknown parentage) known as Chavlettes.

The Chav as a group hangs around in "Massives", usually in a local park or shopping centre, drinking vast amounts of White Lightning (a very cheap Cider), and swearing.

They have their very own dialect lifted from the "hood", stolen from London and the Cockneys, and the aforementioned Romany Gypsie (to which none of them are members).

A typical telephone conversation between two of the members may go something like this-

Chav 1- Wa gwan? Ya gan dan tan? (Meaning "What are you doing today? Are you going into the High Street?")
Chav 2- Yeah I is gan dan ta Argos innit ("Meaning Yes, I intend to visit Argos today")
Chav 1-Wot yis wearing dan dere bruv? (Meaning "What clothes will you be wearing when you go out friend?")
Chav 2- Dunno, problee me reebok innit and me juicy trakkie. (Meaning "I shall probably be wearing my Leisure wear and training shoes")
Chav 1- Issit? (Meaning "Is that right?")
Chav 2-Sure nuff innit gal (Meaning "Yes I do believe that to be the case, yes friend")
Chav 1- Bo laters (Meaning "Good, I shall see you in a while")
Chav 2-Respect Bredrin (Meaning Good Bye, I have a great deal of respect for you my friend").

As you can see, the terms used are not what all Southerners use, nor do they make up any of the English Language. Such terms as "Bruv", to describe the person to which they are referring to, can be used for a male or female. The terms "issit?" and "innit" replace "hmm", and "err" as a pause in a conversation to allow for thought or are used as a question to the other person to whom they are having a conversation."Bo" (prounonced "Bow") is often used in the same way, or can be used to show excitement, or as a greeting to replace the more common "Hello" and "Goodbye". Another common term is "Boooo", which rather confusingly does not signify a negative when used by a Chav, rather it is used as a verbal backslap or round of applause.

Chav's wear hoods as a way of hiding their identities from Police officers (or the Gavvers (prounonced similar to Gathers but with the T and H dropped) as the Chavs affectionately call them). They also have a love of Burberry. This is worn as fake scarves, baseball caps, and even as a trouser material for the die hard chav. Such was the love of Burberry, albeit the market stall knock off variety, that the real Burberry, a British institution for many years, saw their sales plummet.

Other Southerners.

Of course, not all South Eastern dwellers are Chavs.

Most of us can hold a perfectly good conversation using the Queens English and without dropping any letters or using any Street slang.

We enjoy country walks in our beautiful countryside, and summer visits to some of our gorgeous beaches. The beaches in the South East are pebbly to the south coast (Such as Brighton, Hastings and Eastbourne), and sandy to the north (Herne Bay, Broadstairs and Ramsgate).

We have history in Tunbridge Wells, where one can still drink the restorative water from the wells under the town. And there is Dickensian experience of Rochester. Rochester also has one of the oldest Castles in Europe, and was once a battlement for Henry the VIII (he of the wives), and seen of Thomas A'Becketts seizure and death by the Kings Guards.

We are also the home of the Canterbury tales, and site of the Battle of Hastings. My personal favourite is Windsor, the place where the Queen's son, and heir to the throne Prince Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles, and Elton John married David Furnish.

Chances are, if you're using the bottom half of the country to escape   continue your journey onwards to mainland Europe, you will at some point travel through the South East of England to do so.

So don't let me put you off, come, visit the sites and sounds of Englands greenest and most pleasant of landscapes.

Just avoid anyone in a hood......

You can find out more from the following Sources-


  1. I had to laugh at this post. There were so many references that made me laugh out loud, literally. I am a South Londoner now residing in the Medway Towns. I live in the town centre of Gillingham!

    It is chav town but I love it! I am not a chav by the way. I abhor the "I wear expensive sportswear but I can't be bothered to exercise" look and all the other paraphernalia that goes with it.

    I love watching Street Wars on TV and happily identifying parts of Medway that I now hold dear.

    Not everyone in the Medway Towns is a chav as your article ably demonstrates but it is funny to know that the Medway Towns is THE chav heartland.

    Well it was great to read your blog post. I have subscribed now and look forward to more of your posts. BTW I WAS a 20something Mummy too (had 2 by 21). I am now a 30something Mummy with teenagers . The time flies by, it's scary!

  2. Thank you for your lovely comments, and for the follow!
    I do like to be slightly cheeky about Medway, but do miss the town (I've been home 3 times this year!). I was brought up not far from the High Street on Copenhagen Road (just off Canterbury Street).

    Its nice to see that someone can love my hometown, for all it's comedy connotations it's not as bad as it may see, and generally there are some lovely parts and people.


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