Saturday, December 25, 2010
Posh and Prejudice- Grace Dent
Part One: Chavspeak
So Shizza's keepin' it real, working down at the Mr Yolk for pay and making her mum all buzzing for bringing in money, and of course still seeing that Wesley Barrington Bains II bloke, since he's pretty choong and all, and then she finds out she passed her exams and gets to go on to study in Sixth Form like one of them boffins. Shizza's pretty chuffed about that; finding out she ain't some dumb rude, and she can go places all proper-like. And 'Superchav Academy' is also gettin' with it, since they got all this new stuff inplace and are making the school more than just a place for the charvers to go when they ain't skiving off and smoking grass, and so Shizza gets all these new classmates who are so totally up themselves. Like Joshua, who's pretty well-minted and lives over on some fancy posh street where everyone's too up themselves to even decorate for Christmas like an regular family would, 'innit.
Shizza knows that Joshua's buff, and sure he's got all that fancy shit, but she ain't into that type of faker who thinks 'yeah, i got money so i'm better than everyone, and me mum is so wealthy she's supporting some scrounging kid in Africa just to make herself look good' and all that crap.
Shizza turns out to be pretty damn good at her A-Levels, and so totally gets King Lear, but of course Wesley ain't into that stuff; he's gonna be a plumber or some shit so she has to talk to other people about it. Not even Carrie wants to talk about it; all she ever does is skive off and get tanned, so Shiz ends up hangin' with all these sharp kids who actually know what 'smart casual' means and going to a bashment at Joshua's house, and yeah, so he's choong, and he keeps texting her about all this business he wants to do with her, like he's tryin' to get her up the duff almost, innit.
Problem with Joshua, course, is that he's SO DAMN UP HIMSELF. It's all about JOSHUA, you know, since he's the richest kid at the school, and is all, 'I'm going to go to Oxford; clearly, universities such as Durham are not good enough for someone such as me and I'm going to be on television with the prince' and so on.
Shiz learns way more than Shakespeare at her school; now she sees how other people look at her; what with Joshua's mum going on about having to feed those chavs from the projects in her house. And then since poor Uma's family all got locked up, she's gotta keep it real with her Staffy all on her own, and ain't no one wants to hang with that chav.
So while all this crap is goin' on, Shizza realizes she ain't too into this town no more; she doesn't want to move in with Wesley Barrington Bains II, she's thinking she wants to go to London, 'cos that's where things are happenin.' London's got way more than Essex, no doubt; and she sure wants to get away from all this 'ooh look at Shizza; she's such a chav with her chav friends and busted up house and that's all there is to her' which ain't true, but she ain't exactly got her own floor in her house like that prig Joshua's got. It's not easy keepin' it real in Essex when no one gets along 'cos they all think they're better than everyone else, no matter who they are.
Part 2: Regular English
I was never really into 'Pride and Prejudice;' there was way too much strolling about wondering who everyone shall marry for my liking, but 'Posh and Prejudice' is quite something else.
So Shiraz is back, and it looks like things are going pretty well; she's in her Sixth Form, she's smart, she's making friends, she's increasing the peace and making her school a better place. She's rubbing elbows with the upper crust even. Funny thing is, she doesn't feel like she fits in; her mother is too busy complaining about her not making money and saying she shouldn't be in school, she's really interested in Shakespeare but her boyfriend doesn't really get that sort of thing, and no one else in her family does either. Not even Cava-Sue because that girl is just too into her boyfriend Lewis and the idea of traveling around the world to pay any attention to Shiraz. Carrie Draper isn't either; all SHE cares about is beautification and style. So that leaves Shiraz talking to posh rich kid Joshua. But Joshua is a bit too full of himself to really be worth it, and his mother doesn't even like to acknowledge Shiraz or any of her ilk from school because she (surprize!) thinks they're a bunch of chavs.
I have to say, I never met a chav I liked, but this book makes you think about it. So maybe someone comes from a family that is constantly in and out of jail and has a refridgerator in the front yard. Maybe they wear nothing but velour jumpsuits and fake gold. Maybe they don't even have a house and just live in a caravan like a bunch of pikeys. Or maybe they have everything they ever wanted and are told they're better than everyone. It doesn't mean you're better than them, or they're better than you, because you can't really categorize people that way. There's usually something besides where they come from, what their home looks like, what their clothing style is, and what they're told they can do in life that makes them who they are.
Of course, I knew all this sort of thing beforehand, since that's what we're taught in school, but I tend to think your parents mess you up a bit because they tell you how they're better and sometimes it rubs off. And also, people get miscategorized. Shiraz may come from a really poor chavvy family, but she actually has things to say and ideas that make her not so chavvy.