Nestled in the heart of the quaint greenery of Buckinghamshire’s Chiltern Hills you might expect to find a quaint little village with picket fences, a lush cricket and bowls green and a collection of eccentric but otherwise pleasant locals living in thatched cottages straight from some picture book you were forced to read by your grandmother.
Such a village probably exists somewhere. Somewhere seemingly a light year or 50 from Buckinghamshire’s answer to their old enemy and neighbour Berkshire’s prize thoroughbred in the world of ChavTowns©, Satan’s very own cesspit Slough. Indeed, Slough used to be an outpost in Buckinghamshire before being poached by the archetypal neighbours from hell.
To make up for such a loss it seems the powers that be have turned High Wycombe from being a quaint little innocuous chairmaking town into an ever growing force in the sinister world of failing towns as Wycombe push for a place in ChavTown’s Premier League, even if the town’s glorious football team are somewhat short of the dizzying heights of football’s equivalent.
How the lovely little town my grandparents recollected to me when I was little seems a distant memory. My grandfather one of the thousands employed in the furniture trade. A trade that is now just a palid ghost of its former glories. In fact, I’d wager that flogging stolen mobile phones is a greater money spinner for the town.
The town itself is pretty much standard small town England fare. A bit of a problem as Wycombe has gone up to the status of a large-ish town. The High Street’s most striking feature aside from the cobbles are the abominations in the shape of granite balls. The mind boggles as to what sort of person would sanction using taxpayer’s money to install such eyesores there. One can only assume someone decided that the free local rag The Star needed a bit of help filling its pages with something other than double page adverts for double glazing.
After your eyeballs have had enough of being assaulted by the grey blobs of abject naffness, there is no respite as they move on a few yards towards the local McDonalds (amongst the Chav population lovingly known as Maccy D’s). Outside this evil symbol of capitalism, next to the theatre noticeboard, there is rarely a moment where it wants for marauding packs of dribbling and drooling pedigree airheads jibbering in their bizarre faux-Cockney/Jamaican/somewhere other than South Bucks patter. They’re kitted out in their faux-designer labelled and hideously coloured clothes. Accesories for the males include a hood à la grim reaper, some gold chain and collection of rings they stole from HJ Samuels or a fake one they got off the market, a cap (preferably Bumberry brand) at an angle that manages to make the wearer look even more asinine than they otherwise would be and a football shirt that isn’t that of their local football club.
For the fairer sex your usual oversized rings, hideous sunglasses and shirts with messages proclaiming their slack morals.
Other hangouts include the Rye, the fountains in Frogmoor and the Octogan Shopping centre, the lovely little grayeyard next the All Saints Church in the middle of the town at night and many other god-forsaken hives of this pernicious breed of sub-human.
The sworn enemy of the Wycombiensian Chav (known locally as the Kev) seems to be the ‘Goth’. Their adopted moniker being extremely misleading, as it’s a safe bet that pretty much all the ‘Goths’ have no relation to anyone from the Göteland region in southern Sweden. When the word ‘Goth’ is mentioned what is actually meant is someone who has a fetish for dressing in black, listening to guitar generated white noise and daubing their face with black make up/roof tar, and not someone who went up to Rome one day with a few mates to conquer it. Exactly why the two don’t get on is unclear, though it’s thought mainly because the ‘Kevs’ are just prize twats.
The housing estates of Wycombe are often thought of as South Buckinghamshire’s answer to Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. These collections of tightly packed mostly post-war semi-detached shacksperched on the hillsides that overlook Wycombe. The most notorious of which is my neck of the woods, Castlefield.
The name Castlefield is presumably derived from the remains of Desborough Castle at the bottom of the main road through there Rutland Avenue, which is now where some local Barry Sheen wannabes go on their dirt bikes and also doubles up as a handy little fly-tipping site.
The roads in Castlefield look like they were hit by the Luftwaffe in World War II and haven’t been repaired since. So it makes it all the more surprising you see Kevs souping up their labours of mechanical love with their lowered suspensions around here. Just one pothole could render the bag of bolts a write off, especially if you’re racing down Rutland Avenue at warp speed (56 mph if you have an F-reg Ford Fiesta XR2i). If you want to keep your new motor in fine shape then avoid the place at all costs. In fact, if you simply want to keep your car keep it away from Castlefield.
Not all that long ago it even had its own BBC documentary showing what a hive of criminal activity it was. I can remember to this day the cries of “Wow! My house’s roof was on TV! I’m famous!” when I went to school the next day.
“What, on the bit where they busted the crack-house next door and the paedophile on the other side?”
To be fair on good old Castlefield, its act is slightly cleaned up. The infamous wreck that was the local public house The Castle was finally turned into something vaguely useful to the nearby community, a Mosque.
As long as you don’t look like you have any money and you have a mobile phone that was around when the King was still on the throne you aren’t likely to be mugged if you go through the erstwhile ‘no go areas’ during the day. You’ll only be accosted and offered Class A drugs and patently obviously stolen mobile phones.
I could go on about the place. It’s far too depressing for words. A mate of mine couldn’t hide his joy at being able to move from there for a quiet place in Abbots Way. I cannot wait to be carted off to Southampton uni next month to start afresh in studentland.
I’ll spare you from more frenzied rambling, though I could go on about stories and hearsay I’ve heard about other estates in Wycombe. I’ll just leave that to all you dissaffected Totteridgians, Downleyites, Cressexites, Terrierists, Sandsmen and Micklefieldians out there.