I can’t believe Basildon and Southend have gotten such lengthy mentions yet the worst place of them all, Canvey Island, has slipped through unnoticed.
The only redeeming features of Canvey are;
- It’s an island, therefore we know if the chavs get too rowdy we can just cut them off from civilised society by taking out two bridges and
- It’s below sea level and sinking fairly rapidly, so in 30 years they’ll need to start investing in Burberry water-wings.
Seriously, there is no better place in Britain for Nike-clad, ‘LA Lakers’ outsize jersey-wearing, outsize-baseball cap-sporting chav population to ‘hang out’ with members of their own kind. Vauxhall Corsas and Ford Focus with ‘bling-bling’ bodykits race up and down the straighter roads while on every street corner gangs of friendly neighbourhood youths will kindly relieve you of that heavy wallet and phone you’ve been carrying around all day, along with a kidney or two should you see fit to protest. Buses coming off of Canvey are inevitably filled with screaming teenage mums in thermonuclear-dayglo sports gear and shell suits yelling at baby Britney or Romeo to stop chucking up into their fake Burberry pram while adjusting a ‘Croydon Facelift’ ponytail so tight you honestly suspect their skin of their face has been stretched to breaking point and one over-zealous yell would cause it to split and splatter the bus into something out of a Tarantino movie.
Other seats are taken up by gaggles of 13-year-old chav schoolgirls talking about how many 25-year-olds with Ford Focuses they’ve managed to ‘bang’ that week, taking the occasional break from this deeply enthralling intellectual discussion to mock anyone (seemingly at random) who isn’t part of their group – occasionally their victim will be a member of a rival group of 13-year-old chav girls and a screeching fight will break out in the broadest Essex English you have ever heard in your life, much to the amusement of any normal passengers.
Being sandwiched between Southend and Basildon, it’s easy to see how Canvey Island can be forgotten by the amateur Chavologist, what with there being broader areas of Chavdom to admire in such close proximity, but close observance reveals that while the total population of Canvey might be lower than those of Southend or Basildon, the total number of chavs from each is around equal, meaning that, possibly, Canvey is, in ratio, the most Chavvish place in Essex. Also, being an island, Canvey has developed many things separately from the mainland. Just when you think you’ve learned enough of the latest Chav lingo to survive a night out without getting ‘popped’ for ‘dissing’ someone’s ‘kru’, a trip to Canvey (and the resulting trip back again in the back of an ambulance) will remind you that Chavvish, like most other languages, can have many different dialects, all of which you need to be familiar with to ensure safe passage through certain out-of-the-way centres of Chavdom in Essex.
There are many more things I could say about Canvey, including the shopping centre in the middle of town, now all but deserted, that draws gangs of roaming chavs like moths to a flame, the fetid bars that draw the older chav groups in and have the typically huge car-parks on which a dozen or so ‘modded’ Corsas and old clapped out Golf GTis race in the Canvey Grand Prix, much to the terror of genuine punters and their vehicles – those who are stupid enough to leave their car without an armed guard in Canvey anyway). There is a genuine air of depression and dinginess on Canvey, which I can only say must contribute an awful lot to the state of the people there – it is a vicious cycle, as further chav violence only escalates the feeling, and the feeling escalates the chav violence. As I said earlier, the only redeeming feature is that it’s sinking, and if we took the bridges away, the only escape route they’d have would be the concrete boat(!? – has to be a chav idea, that) to be found down on the ‘beach’ (or, for those not in the know, about 4ft of stones and shells, with no sand to be seen, behind which is a 50ft concrete sea wall, and in front is the brown, stinking sea filled with shopping trolleys, used condoms, needles, sewage and all manner of nasty things lurking just beneath the surface.
Finally we can’t forget about Canvey being the central hub for youths around Essex coming to ‘bun up’ around the Sea wall. The stink of Weed is one of the things that make Canvey feel like home.
A great place to take your kids – if you hate them.