Chavs - A beginner's guide to modern England

Trip Start Jun 09, 2005
Trip End ??? ??, 2006

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Hi Everyone!

I have always loved words and the English language (which is probably just as well, as I spend most of my working life in front of a computer, writing) so thought I'd share some of the great new English words Mick and I have picked up since we've been here. Most of the these words say something about the current state of English 'culture'. Here are a few of our favourites:

Essex Girls

Think Paris Hilton lookalikes. An Essex Girl resides to the North of London, and is generally characterised by white stilletto heels, short, short mini skirt, big fake hoop earings, bad fake tan, fake blonde hair and extensions and the one of the worst accents you will ever here. They have a reputation for being a little dim-witted. Instead of blonde jokes you have in Australia, there are many, many websites devoted to Essex Girl jokes.

Chavs and Chavettes:

A Chav seems to be the closest thing the English have to a bogan. A Chav can usually be found in the fast-food habitat, and can be identified by their baseball cap, gold 'bling' medallion style jewellery (fake of course) and tryhard Addidas tracksuit. They love cars, usually the hotted-up customised Ford Fiesta type.

A Chavette is also recognised by her velour tracksuit (think footballers wife, Sporty spice) and two or three toned hair.

Both sexes of the species dot their speech with 'Innit', which to my lasting shame, I have heard myself uttering on a couple of occasions.

Happy Clappy:

Now this is not actually an English term, but a South African one. Since I first heard it here though, it is included in this list. A Happy Clappy is the term used for a certain type of South African who speaks in tongues and likes to sing and dance in church.


This is a form of greeting, usually pronounced in a nasally cockney-like accent. This is one I don't think I will EVER hear myself repeating. Along the same lines is 'You Ohright?, another one that really grates. Of course, I'm bloody alright! Do I look sick?


Used to describe something smelly and dirty. Can also be used for anything generally not very nice, as in that band was minging.

Factory Fortnight:

a term for two weeks in August when the country gets abandoned and everyone relocates to thier package hotel in to the south of Spain, or somewhere equally sunny. Funnily enough, I can almost understand the Brits fascination with sun now. I said ALMOST.

Ready Meals:

This one should be pretty self-explanatory. A meal that comes in cardboard or plastic containers from the supermarket, which you heat in the microwave. The British have taken the ready meal to a whole new level. If you go to the supermarket, I would estimate that at around 50% of the aisles are taken up with ready made meals, some of which are actually not too bad, and I have to admit, quite convenient on the odd occasion. Most papers regularly review 'ready meals' in the food section, usually in preference to restaurants that serve 'real meals'. Most of the people I work with head off the Marks and Spencers every lunch for their serve, and freely admit to also having a ready meal every night when they go home as well.

Now, I've got to say, London has some amazing and varied restaurants, as you would expect in one of the biggest cities in the world. However, English people in general still seem obsessed with 'bangers and mash', baked beans, and Yorkshire pudding and roast beef. Help! I don't think I've ever seen an English cooking show that does not end up cooking some form of Sunday roast. We recently heard a scary statistic: England goes through ONE AND A HALF MILLION cans of baked beans PER DAY. The Channel Tunnel must be lined end to end with trucks full of baked beans!

Well, I think that's about it for now. We have both been hibernating a little bit during winter and not getting out too much, but I have included some photos of recent outings for you. Most have stories attached, so please read. We are both so pasty white, that we both scare ourselves when we look in the mirror. In a complete role reversal, I can't stand my job, but Mick is loving his. We have made it through our first English Winter (well technically there is still a week left, but who's counting, right?) and it was nowhere near as bad as I thought it was going to be. Signs of spring are definitely on their way. Take Care everyone, and talk to you soon.
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