October 23, 2004

Charv (pl. charves)

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Apologies for the following rant; I think I've made it to most people, including Mr Carter. But for the benefit of everyone else…

I hate the word 'chav'. It's a southern bastardisation of a well-loved geordie term.

Let me take you on a journey back to the halcyon days of 1996, Longbenton Community College…

(flashback music)
Yes, that's me in the shit specs and the big coat, getting called 'swot' by the big kids. And look! One of the very first 'chavs', bedecked in Kappa behind the sports hall having a crafty tab. Oh look, there's Mr Priestley going over to give him a bollocking. And he retorts with some kind of 'child molester' jibe. Typical 'chav' behaviour, no? Except at this point they're called 'radgie charvers'.

As the 'movement' mushroomed over the next couple of years, and more and more 'radgie charvers' were recruited to the Kappa cause, their name required some shortening as we were calling more and more people it. So it became simply 'charver' and later – as the twats moved away from GLC-style leisurewear and into Berghaus and Rocky Ps – 'charve'/'charv'. In fact the word 'chava' pre-empted 'chav' by 6 years, when in 1998, it was voted word of the year by the Benton Bugle. You may probably note that us northern monkeys failed to sort the spelling of 'charv' out, which is probably why the southern fairies got in there with their rubbish yet consistent word and how it rapidly become the norm this year.

When I got here, to Warwick, two years ago, there was no 'chav'. I attempted to get people saying charv, but to no avail. It was all 'townie' and 'scally'. For a period in the summer of 2003, 'pikey' held hegemony in the nomenclature, and, I'm ashamed to say, I used it a few times. Suddenly, this year, out of nowhere, came 'chav'. I'd never heard it before February. It first came to my attention in a link to that chavscum website. I was impressed, assuming that it was pronouced the same way as 'charv' – you know these southerners, with their grarss and barth. But then I heard people saying it and my ears just wept. I went to the doctors to get it sorted out and upon my return it had turned into a phenomenon, thanks in no small part to the rise of the Goldie Lookin' Chain (funny as f*ck, by the way. You knows it). Now it's word of the year.

So there you have it. It's charv damnit. I had a nightmare last night: I went back to Newcastle in December and all my paisani were saying chav. Needless to say, I went on a killing spree.


- 2 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Apparantly, Chav really comes from "chavi", which is the Romany word for "child", recorded in the middle of the 19th centuary.

    23 Oct 2004, 13:34

  2. Well, it would seem the all-but-forgotten temporary annexation of Northumberland by the Romany (1872–73) did have a lasting effect after all!

    23 Oct 2004, 16:33


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