I have to admit, Yarmouth (forget the Great) puts up a very impressive case as being the chav capital of the UK. However, just 10 miles down the road is another strong contender – Lowestoft.
While Yarmouth enjoys an annual influx of chavs on their holidays, meaning that there’s someone new to nick hub-caps from, Lowestoft has more than enough of its own to fill the B&B’s turned doss-houses on the sea-front and the hectares of council estates that ring the town. Proof of how chav-friendly the place is can be found in the fact that failing councils all over England (Liverpool, Hackney, Portsmouth etc.) send their most delinquent families to Lowestoft and slip the council a few quid for taking them off their hands. In Lowestoft, it’s no longer enough to be 19 and have 3 kids to get on the housing list – you now need at least 2 ASBO’s.
For centuries, Lowestoft had a proud fishing tradition – nowadays the only reminder of this that you’ll see around the Britten Centre (Mother(doesn’t)care, Iceland and a pound shop) are the anchor-chain thick necklaces worn by the local riff-raff. OK, so Burberry rip-offs haven’t actually arrived yet – there’s word that there’ll be some at Elough Sunday Market next week – and a Wetherspoon’s is just a dream (a 2 litre bottle of Omega necked outside KFC will do fine for now) but, harbour no doubts, these people are scum.
In many ways, to visit Lowestoft is to take a trip back in time to see chavs as they were everywhere else 20 or 30 years ago. You’ll notice that Hackett is not as popular around here as Sergio Tachini (most families pass these t-shirts down from father to, illegitimate, son) and you’ll struggle to see more than a couple of modded cars – Streethawking (the motorcycle equivalent of a doughnut except the vehicle and rider describe a circle of rubber while spinning the back wheel) a clapped out motorbike on the North Quay car park is about as automotive as they get.
While the chavs are more than happy to fight among themselves – popular battlegrounds being Station Square (handy for the kebab shop, KFC, pizza shop, and McD’s) and any pub after 11AM, it is rare for outsider to be drawn into their confrontations, probably because there aren’t actually any non-chavs to be found in the town.
A measure of the chav-ness of the place is that the town centre still has 2 large supermarkets – a Somerfield and, a bit posh this, Tescos to cater for the huge number of people who are either unable to afford a car or have 3 parked on their drive/garden but can’t get any of them going. Note, the Tescos does not stock any of its Finest range but does have aisle upon aisle of cider, wagon wheels and Mr Kipling cakes. In Lowestoft, the three major food groups are frozen, tinned and packets.
Lowestoft has been officially recognised (well, it would be if they kept count of this sort of thing) as the dog-s**t and single-mother capital of Europe. The pavements are littered with an amount of crap that would make the average Frenchman sigh in admiration, just perfect for little Tyson to pick up and throw at some hapless soul who “was looking at me funny”.
A Lowestoftian take on morals can be seen in last year’s celebrated court case in which a man and his adult daughter were convicted of incest. Their defence? They thought they were uncle and niece. It turned out that 20 years before the mother was married to this man’s brother but she’d been knocking her brother-in-law off (whether the husband knew or approved was not recorded). Until the mother found out that he was the father of her daughter, she saw nothing wrong in the relationship.
Don’t forget, it was a junior scrubber from Lowestoft who was the first person to have sex on Big Brother (the youth version they recorded last summer) and unlike that Northern slut and her Chicken Stu she had no qualms in boasting about it.
The thing that the locals look forward to more than anything is Christmas and the chance to get their 10,000 Watt illuminated display featured in the Lowestoft Journal. Apparently, you’re no-one unless you’ve spent at least half a year’s worth of giros on a 10 foot high Father Christmas and 700 fairly lights to hang on your council house. Naturally, these stay up until the earlier of (a) them being nicked by the neighbours; or (b) the family being rehoused as one or both parents has been sent to prison.
Just think of Lowestoft as Yarmouth without the good bits.