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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/1/2005 4:13:09 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/1/2005 4:13:36 AM EDT by raven]

Goths and chavs go to war in the woods in attempt to keep the peace on the streets

Council defuses town centre tension with organised BB gun battles between teenagers

Patrick Barkham
Wednesday August 31, 2005
The Guardian

Peterborough's Cathedral Square yesterday afternoon. The scene of regular standoffs between gangs of marauding chavs and goths. Apart from the patter of shoppers' feet on hot paving stones, it's quiet, too quiet.

Ten miles away, at a secret location in the Cambridgeshire countryside, it is a different story. Startled wood pigeons crash through the trees at the sound of plastic ball bearing guns as the city's chavs and goths run through the undergrowth taking pot shots at each other.

War games do not appear the most obvious way to bring together these teenage tribes, as distinctive and implacably opposed to each other as the mods and rockers of the 1960s. But Peterborough city council is hoping that a new scheme, in which they take unruly chavs and goths on "airsoft" war games, will bring a truce to the trouble in Cathedral Square.

Fourteen male and female chavs and goths yesterday swapped fake Burberry and Marilyn Manson T-shirts for camouflage to take part in the first of the airsoft games, which is similar to paintballing but uses ball bearing - BB - guns firing plastic balls.

The voluntary scheme has been organised by the city's street wardens with the blessing of the local police. The street wardens were introduced three years ago to tackle antisocial behaviour and petty street crime but have found the antagonism between chavs and goths difficult to quell.

The gangs have attracted complaints of underage drinking, violence, vandalism, graffiti and littering. Police have also received a spate of calls from members of the public terrified by teenagers firing the frighteningly realistic-looking BB guns at each other on the streets.

Kitted out in black body armour and chomping on a large cigar, Steve Mayes, the street warden supervisor, looks more than a match for any mouthy chav or stoned goth. But he's found both groups showing scant regard for him, each other or society, and hopes that skirmishes in the countryside will instil respect.

"We've had large groups of chavs and goths on Cathedral Square on a Saturday. They've not really being doing any harm but the sheer number of them intimidates people," he said. "It's like mods and rockers - not that these guys start fighting, it's just a bit of a slap here and there."

The few goths who still walk across the square by the city's Norman cathedral are not so sure. War games in the countryside? "That's going to be murder," said Kenny, 19, resplendent in his daywear of black boots, black jeans, black shirt and long black leather jacket (it's sunny and 25C). "The chavs will take knives."

Kenny admits he was once a "borderline" chav but got in with skaters, punks and then goths. Black is his daywear but for gigs he'll don black eyeliner and black nail varnish. Apart from clothes and music, the difference between the groups is attitude, according to Kenny.

He points out a chav, swaggering through the square on the toes of his immaculate white trainers. "Most goths are so laid-back they are on their arse," he said. "If you go up to a chav and look at him wrong, he'll kick your head in."

A piercing scream cuts through the quiet of the countryside as a chav receives a buttfull of plastic ball bearings. The bonding between the two groups is proceeding apace and organisers swear that the teams have not simply divided down chav/goth lines.

But Mr Mayes admits there is one small problem: most of the goths were so laid-back they couldn't get up in time for the war games. Six cried off yesterday morning. "We've got more chavs than we have goths because they couldn't get out of bed," he said. "They've probably been smoking too much pot."

"Chris just unloaded a clip on me," yells one chav, clutching his backside in mock pain as he enters the "dead zone", where those who are shot during the game must recuperate for five minutes. "I shot you about five times, man," bragged another chav.

"They call me a chav," said Craig Jones, 22. He doesn't mind. "It's a bit of laugh. I think they mean Orton boy, which is an area in Peterborough which has graffiti all over the place so people think it's a bit dingy."

He finds the joy of the war game a welcome relief from the tedium of sitting in Cathedral Square. "I hang around with mates having a giggle, having a laugh. There's not much to do. Because we hang about in big groups separate from one another people think there's trouble and it's intimidating. With a big group of lads, grannies think they're going to rob their handbags."

But he insists that far from gang warfare, the chav-goth tension in Peterborough is like anywhere in the country, it is simply "friendly banter".

Mr Mayes says the voluntary scheme, in which chavs and goths pay a reduced rate subsidised by a local company, is not rewarding bad behaviour. Teenagers brandishing BB guns in town has been a problem, but the scheme teaches youngsters that the realistic-looking weapons hurt and should only be used in safe "game" situations.

"These guys here are well-behaved kids. All they've done is stand in large groups. They say: 'I hang about on the square because I haven't got anything else to do, innit?'"

Mr Mayes believes the games will give the two groups something to do and get them talking to each other. "It gets rid of that pent-up energy that teenagers don't seem to get rid of these days when they are sitting around on their Playstations and Xboxes," he said.

The council hopes a new spirit of mutual respect will extend to all their employees. As well as the orange-clad street wardens, there is even a council parking attendant sportingly allowing young chavs and goths to take pot shots at him. "When they see us now it's not going to be 'oh those bloody tango wardens'," said Mr Mayes. "They now know who I am."

Whether skinny goths can be persuaded out of their beds for some bracing outdoor activity with their chav foes remains to be seen. But the council wardens believe the airsoft games, which they hope to hold every half-term, will spread via word of mouth, bringing the two tribes together in war - and bringing peace to Cathedral Square.

"It's like football," said Denise Mee, another street warden. "You pick which team you belong to. But ultimately the chavs and the goths are the same sort of people, so the idea is to get them together. When they first came they were in little groups but already there's more togetherness."

Link Posted: 9/1/2005 7:03:49 AM EDT
What an interesting concept.

I wish them luck, probably has as much chance of success as any other idea I've ever seen.

Link Posted: 9/1/2005 7:08:22 AM EDT
WTF is a Chav(s)
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 7:13:35 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 7:13:52 AM EDT

Originally Posted By JBowles:
WTF is a Chav(s)


I would like to know what one is, but why not just give them SA80s and let them remove themselves from society.

When a fruitcake in white makup and black fingernail polish are causing THIS kind of issue....fuuuuuuck. that country is SUNK
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 7:16:51 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/1/2005 7:17:58 AM EDT by raven]

Originally Posted By JBowles:
WTF is a Chav(s)

British white trash/wiggers.

Link Posted: 9/1/2005 7:18:52 AM EDT
Stupid Brits!
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 7:22:07 AM EDT
This reminds me of the "Break Dance Wars"
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 7:32:10 AM EDT

Originally Posted By phatmax:

Originally Posted By JBowles:
WTF is a Chav(s)


I would like to know what one is, but why not just give them SA80s and let them remove themselves from society.

How about giving them something that works??
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 7:32:41 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 7:34:42 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 7:38:47 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 7:40:30 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/1/2005 7:43:21 AM EDT by olyarms]

i am da wickedest gangsta to eva live in these mean streets
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 7:51:12 AM EDT
Good luck when they outlaw airsoft in Britain.
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 7:51:58 AM EDT
Is this anything like "Midnight Basketball?"
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 7:58:08 AM EDT

Originally Posted By The_Beer_Slayer:
fuck it give them real ones and get it over with once and for all.


These aren't serious gangs.

Serious gangs don't run around in the forrest screaming "LIGHTNING BOLT!! LIGHTNING BOLT!!!" at each other.
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 8:52:58 AM EDT
Wiggers in britain I've been there mate! They got no black people, no ghettos, their grafitti is weak and they got no guns. How the fuck can they relate to our problemos?? Back in the day when i met a fake wigger i'd kick the shit out of 'em. And that is in NYC where hip hop was born. I can't stand these white boys tryin to emulate black/hispanic ghetto culture!!! Let'em live in the fuckin shitty ass Bronx for a month then maybe they'll have some bona fides! Lemme tell you somethin, livin in the ghetto SUCKS! hey that's why they call it a ghetto i guess IMHO anyone who lives in the streets can act street, anyone else deserves a beat down.
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 8:55:09 AM EDT

Originally Posted By darwindog:
This reminds me of the "Break Dance Wars"

Dude I was just gonna say that.

And both will only satisfy the ones who really weren't the problem to begin with.
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 8:56:14 AM EDT
What's all of the bitching about. Let them settle it with air5oft reather than real guns (not that those jackasses could even get them).
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 9:16:28 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/1/2005 9:17:21 AM EDT by vito113]
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 9:22:39 AM EDT
All I can say from my brief 6 month tour of England is that british chicks are hot looking and very sexy.
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 10:00:47 AM EDT

Originally Posted By The_Beer_Slayer:
fuck it give them real ones and get it over with once and for all.

Can we do that here? Yeah, it'd be messy, but it'd all be done at once, and without as much collateral damage.
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