Peterborough has existed for a great many years and the its grandiose cathedral plays host to a site of an ancient Benedictine order of monks who, after an era of penetance, became somewhat affluent revelling in their pious prosperity with great banquets. All that remains of these foundations has been buried, for better or worse, beneath what could be described as the firmest foundations ever constructed to support a chav super-structure. It has been remarked that Peterborough is the model for large-scale civic planning. If this is the case, I advise acquiring shares in Sports Direct, Tesco, Poundland and poundstretchers (if they are listed).
Anyone who has ever spent any significant amount of time in Peterborough will have been to ‘Queensgate’, which is a giant US style mall. This monstrosity provides shelter for a whole city’s worth of benefit collecting, single-mothering, shoplifting, wife-beating, voice raising, window smashing, fast food eating Detritus. For the best evidence of Peterborough’s chav populous I advise visiting any of the numerous entrances to Queensgate where they huddle around bum-sucked Lambert and Butlers coughing and making ‘shapes’ at those who usher by.
For those who like to observe wildlife perhaps an afternoon at the gallery platform of the shopping centre will satisfy your interest. Look out for pack of chavs, tracksuit trousered and angle capped, and then cast your gaze in search of their predators robed in their security guard finery. These guards prey pre-emptively on the gatherings of chavs and chavettes mostly knowing them by name from previous encounters. There is an interesting relationship between the Queensgate security and the chavs as in a way each are dependent on the other. The latter requiring some authority to antagonise, the former needing an object to target to justify their occupation. The guards are like sailors bailing out a boat with a hole in the bottom, the chavs are the ever invading brine.
The chav culture in Peterborough is subtle and pervasive, even those who have jobs at the main employers of Perkins, Thomas Cook, Hotpoint and the numerous chain stores choose to spend their hard earned cash on the obligatory chav weekender. I refer to the working all week just to forget about it all over the 48 hours of the weekend. The uniform on these jaunts consists in the generic Ben Sherman shirt which hangs, untucked, over a pair or cotton black trousers. The centre of town is again the preferred choice, where an infinitesimal amount of them gather to do battle over girls, lager and kebabs. Night spots include Liquid, 5th Avenue and Break for the Border all of which are filled at midnight will burly tossers who would probably shag their own relatives if no-one found out about it.
This highlights Peterborough’s incestuous tendencies and xenophobic nature. To the average dweller there is little of any interest outside the borders of the ring road other than perhaps an airport from where they can fly to Benidorm, Ayia Napa, Magaluf or ibiza for two weeks of undeserved hedonism. The closed mindedness is apparent to an even greater extent when the diversity of ethnicity of Peterborough’s residents is examined. In fact, Peterborough is a multi-cultural place but in the sense that there are many cultural backgrounds but none of them interact. The chav attitude is exemplified by the St. George’s coss sporting barbarians whose philosophy is isolationist and their psychology aggressive. It saddens me whenever I return to the city to bear witness to the snide undertones of racism inherent in considerable numbers of public house conversations.
In any event Peterborough is growing and the new development towards the A1 is playing no small part in this population explosion. The Hamptons is an enormous development which has as its centre piece the largest Tesco’s in the country. Again here the magnetism of commerce attracts all types but the most prevalent are the chavs of all walks of life. They smack and shout at their kids in the aisles as they themselves impulse shop at the crisp and biscuit section. The best place here to spot the archetypal chav is at the cigarette counter where you can buy cheap cartons of you favorite nicotine delivery device.
If after all these shopping centres you desire to chav spot in a different environment, then why not head down to the local multiplex the ‘showcase’ cinema. Here again is a giant 14 screened beast, its foyer lined with arcade video games and social residue. Observe the behaviour at the pick ‘n’ mix as the jewelery clad rotters are drawn like bees to ultraviolet colours. Underage kids sneak from screen to screen to video the latest celluloid depravity as cars are robbed in the car park.
In closing perhaps the Posh, as it is so inappropriately known, is not the most obvious hunting ground for the creature known as the chav. However if one reassess what the definition of what a chav could be, Peterborough could be a glimpse of things to come. A home for a homogenised tribe with its enemy on its doorstep and its future in the sewer.