Firstly, to clear up any confusion, this writeup is not about people who live in towns. The term 'Townie' in British slang refers to a member of a particularly strange and antisocial subculture that seems to be exclusive to the UK. Many terms are used in different areas of the country for essentially the same thing: kevs, waynes, trevs, pikeys*, scallies, steeks, chavs, spides, neds. They're scum basically, parasites who contribute nothing to society and spend their idle days (a gift from the taxpayer) spoiling the world slightly for decent people.

What are they?

Townies are a kind of antagonistic underclass that have opted out from the mainstream as a result of peer pressure, bad parenting, deprivation and educational failure. They have developed their own 'fashion' (to stretch the term to a precarious breaking point), mode of speech and value system. The type of person who fits the 'townie' monicker is certainly white trash, but there is more to it than that. Not every person hovering around the poverty line is automatically a townie. I have a number of friends who have, due to their upbringing, picked up a few trace elements of townie culture (a baseball cap here, a colloquial speech pattern there, and in bad cases even a bit of tatty jewellry) but are still far away from the true depths.

It takes a certain kind of amoral personality to strive towards towniedom, with the point of no return usually coming when they are officially kicked out of school. (Possibly this then leads to an initiation rite involving sniffing glue, burning a bus shelter, and then impregnating a makeup-caked underage girl in the back of an XR3i.) Basically, townies are those, mainly from disenfranchised backgrounds, who have actively rejected any chance of bettering themselves, because they're weak and stupid. (Note that they're not weak and stupid because they're poor, they're weak and stupid because they think that remaining at the absolute base of society is an easy ride.)

The townie look

Townies of all ages generally dress in an extremely budget-restricted imitation of black youth fashion. The staple garments are grubby brandname sportswear, shapeless hoodies, trainers and baseball caps. A townie will happily spend their family allowance on overpriced fashion items (e.g. multiple pairs of Adidas trainers for a two-year-old, and no, I am not making this up). Both men and women wear outsized gold-plated jewellery. All townie women scrape all of their ratty hair back on their bulbous skulls, with the exception of a heavily hairsprayed fringe. Pikey men have similar 'do not trust this person' haircuts, utilising clippers and a lot of hairgel.

The townie speak

There are many efforts online to catalogue the townie 'patois'. The words vary between areas and age groups (most conversation anyway being restricted to expletives, "shaaafe" to display approval, and "hippie" to describe anyone wearing normal clothes), but the delivery remains the same. A strangulated, drawling voice with a thick regional accent, used to demonstrate that the townie "don't taaahk posh, likes" to his 'friends'. (Eventually, townies seemingly forget how to talk properly at all- I have seen a particularly scabby specimen try to purchase rail tickets with questions such as "aaaaugh, whensa fockin train gow?".)

The townie think

The townie mentality is geared towards perpetuating the fantasy that they are victimised (ironic, as they are generally more of a blight to society than a victim). They see nothing morally wrong with petty crime, and have standards of behaviour so far below human societal norms that they might be more accurately documented as a kind of nylon-clad troupe of chimpanzees. Townies have all inherited virulent xenophobia, homophobia and inverse snobbery from their similarly uneducated parents, which is then perpetuated by their only reading matter (well, for those that can actually read), tabloid newspapers such as The Sun. The majority of townies do no work and rely on benefit fraud and crime to survive. The few that have (menial) jobs can generally not afford to support their extended clans of illegitimate rat-children (all of whom smoke and steal from the age of eight), at least not while also paying for basic staples such as digital television and sovereign rings.

Gits, to a man

I am as liberal as the next man, but I hate townies with a passion. They are the worst and most cowardly form of vandals, because they've chosen to vandalise themselves, their children, and society at large. Not to mention an awful lot of bus shelters.

*'Pikey' is used in the Shane Guy Ritchie movie Snatch to describe Gypsies, and this is what the term was originally meant, however in modern London slang 'Pikey' generally just means 'Townie' as described above, although there is the risk of misinterpretation as a racial slur. It is also sometimes used as an adjective to describe something cheap, nasty or disgusting.

In college towns, students refer to the permanent residents as townies. When hanging out on campus isn't interesting enough, bored students will go out and pull shenanigans on the townies to help wear out the college's welcome.

In my home town (Arlington, Massachusetts), a townie is a resident of the town who is all-important within the town borders, but is as helpless as a frightened child outside of it. Townies typically frequent the same Dunkin' Donuts every morning, know every police officer by his first name, have coached the same Peewee hockey team for thirty years, and play poker with the Board of Selectmen. They are the kings of their suburban world.

But ask them how to get anywhere in Lexington, and they stare blankly at you. These are the folks that have never been west of Worcester, cry about the impending doom of Fenway Park, and think everyone in Belmont is a rich prick and everyone in Cambridge is a criminal.

Neds, Townies, Scallies, Scum. A common part of British village or town and sometimes city life is avoiding these, something hard to do in several locations (EG Rhyl, Manchester, Arsenal, Wrexham).

Normally coming from Birmingham, Manchester or Liverpool or at least claiming to, they stalk round with blank expressions on their faces in groups of about three to twelve. They rarely go on their own anywhere, and will either be walking with hands in their pockets and swaying slightly- this seems intentional- or out low like an ape. This is not the only connection these stoop-stood semi-humans have with primates.

They often look weak, but are commonly psychotic bastards who stay in groups so they can more easily beat people up. This is the reason they are packs. Their skin is often pale or fake-tanned due to staying indoors all the time and only going out at night, working in a chip-shop or such. They can be relatively pleasent when alone (except they always tend to use the word "fuck" in place of a comma,) but nonetheless they itch many up the wrong way.

Loud-speaking and spitting on the floor if male or chewing gum and swearing often if female, they are often incredibly stupid, but this is not a rule. They can be quite proficient in a few things, and some of them even go on to prosper and have a good life. If there is one good point to these people, they do seem to be good fathers when they're not getting drunk, something they do with alarming regularity.

Townieism affects those from the twelve to twenty region, but it can carry from about eight to the thirties. Those who are townies often spawn more, taking after their parents.

Slack-jawed, dirty and with more a slur than any accent, they walk round in white or dark blue tracksuits and shell-suits, wearing a baseball cap that hides gelled or tied-back hair, and often lots of jewelry. They favour cocktails and such with Vodka, trying to get sozzled and not truly enjoy the taste of anything. Some of them do drink from cans, but not socially. Townies tend to infest a bar which then becomes a townie-only zone but for those fools who walk in.

Townies, too, are bullies. They attack anyone different from them with (often quite creative) insults, overswearing and finding the louder they speak the more effect they have. When talking like this doesn't work, they attack, normally in pack, with weapons if available. They often attack for no reason when they have managed to leave soberitey behind. They fight with ferocity and cruelty, punching people and only kicking a downed foe in the head in when thay can, and often attack by surprise with dirty fighting. They attack in full with no thought for defence, not caring about after-effects.

The townie often listens to rap, hip-hop and other "black" music, though tecnically they're listening to urban music. They also enjoy bad techno or hardcore techno alongside dance music. They are the kind of people who own the "blow your whistle" CD and still actually play it.

Often smokers of some kind, they are not averse to drugs, often going to the harder side with heroin and crack. Cannabis is incredibly prevailent amoungst them, and a townie who is not ingesting some mind-altering substance is rare.

Particularly bad is their aversion to anyone different- they hate Goths, Geeks, Nerds, and all other social groups- the only one they really have trouble with is Goths, the other rulers of the night. Townie- Goth fights are common, and due to the fact they come in packs, Townies often win.

They particulalry seem to hate Indians, Kurds, Bengalis and Pakistanis if they have an accent, all of whom they refer to as Pakistani or "Paki". Those without seem to be kosher, for some reason.

They also despise Jews, Christians, Geeks, and basically everyone who isn't black or another white townie and many homosexuals. It's not true that they are entirely homophobic, but they are when it's a non-townie who is, and even then it's only the females allowed. They also use what's termed as ghetto-slang, hang round in gangs, and generally do all they can to make it seem like they should have been born in a ghetto in the Bronx.

Townies often drink for no reason but to drink. They spend more on booze than on anything, and malnutrition will undoubtedly be prevailent amoungst them soon. The women tend to wear huge earings and lots of gold, with the men wearing rings and meddalions. Many of them think they should have been born black, and all of them (who are not also nazis or such) respect blacks more than non-townie whites.

Clothing wise, they wear things such as tracksuits and shell suits, loving to wear Kappa, Nike, Adidas, and other sportswear makes. Alcohol, drugs, music, and clothes are where their money goes, not that they have much in their little poor hovels, flats and bedsits. They are street-hanging scum, hence the name townie; they are like the tarmac, stuck to the floor of the town.

By two 14 year olds, circa 1999. Noded with permission. Copyright retained by the authors.

What is a townie?

Also called "trendies", townies are everywhere. You either hate them or.....are one. They're the ones in neon trainers, popper trousers and Nike Sweatshirts. However, on occasion they will try to disguise themselves:

THE "SOPHISTICATED" TOWNIE The most common disguise is white hipsters and synthetic bright pink boob tubes and an obviously fake leather jacket which they bought/stole for £29 at the sale in New Look. If you should happen upon one of these, and if your neighbourhood is anything like ours, you most certainly will, take precaution and stand at a distance otherwise large amounts of toxins from the hairspray will take affect, and it won't be good. This disguise works best as it is hard to recognise them under the layers of orange foundation and lip liner. The male version of this type of townie wear popper trousers, Ben Sherman shirts and a large blob of hair gel with no apparent use positioned somewhere over their fringe. These townies are the ones who wander down the street, waving their phones in the air for everyone to look at and be jealous of (and it works, honest).

THE "HARD" TOWNIE These townies offer themselves as advertisements for sports companies everywhere. They also have huge amounts of hairspray but are likely to wear less make up. They chew gum a lot and you are likely to know them from far off because of their posture. If standing there will probably be a group of them around a bus stop/shop doorway/park bench. They slump their heads, have a permanent glare and for some reason stick their chin out as though a piece of string was attached to their jaw. It's also likely they will be holding a cigarette but not smoking it properly. These townies are the ones most likely to hurl abuse at people walking down the street different to themselves. The most common insults for males are variations of the label "gay" such as "queer" and "homeboy" (remember these people feel an affinity with Tupac Shakur). If a girl should be more attractive than the townie in question, she will be labelled "dyke" or "slapper", if she simply dressed differently she will be called "freak", "goth" or the ever popular "witch".

BEWARE: It is good for their reputation to fight a lot so they will be looking for an excuse: they must hunt for their prey. They will often stare at a person younger/different to them until the person looks back and then say "What are you looking at? You starting?". Another tactic is to choose a person at random and say "What you been saying about me/ my best mate/ my mother? You starting?" and then beat them up. This is an efficient technique because they can then say to someone else "Sandra, why you been saying she was spreading rumours about me? You starting?" and then beat them up. However, do not despair because these townies make 20 threats a day but, due to their busy schedule of contracting bronchitis and ruining their education, they only get around to carrying out two of these threats.

THE "ALTERNATIVE FASHION" TOWNIE One thing we must stress is that these townies do not actually dress in alternative clothing and wearing flares and bandannas will not stop them shouting at any real hippies that may walk by. They will attempt certain looks for example the "skater look", the "rock chick" and the "bohemian babe" look as Tammy Girl phrases it. However they will never be able to pull any of these looks off. The easiest way to differentiate between an alternative (we use the term loosely) townie and an actual person of alternative fashion is that an alternative townie will usually be wearing a "hippy chick" or "punk princess" top. These townies are easy to spot as they will most likely be the only ones wearing "alternative" clothing as those who did before will usually stop dressing like that in order to preserve their self respect.

QUESTIONS TOWNIES ASK

These questions have not been made up. Townies have genuinely asked them. Amazing isn't it? (these are mostly questions they ask Goths)

You're a virgin, aren't you?

You sacrifice virgins don't you?

YOU drink alcohol?! But you're too busy doing homework and stuff...

You stay up all night drinking blood don't you?

Is your head an animal? (We promise)

Are you a blacksmith?

Do you get a buzz from dressing like that?

Do you like dressing like that? (No we hate it)

Are you a dyke?

Are you gay?

Are you a hippy? A hippy from the chippy?

You're one of them old fashioned people aren't you?

Do you worship Satan?

Do you wear odd socks?

YOU swear?!

You take drugs don't you?

Are you into witchcraft and that?

Do you make your own clothes?

Are you a weirdo? (Why yes of course....)

Are you a fugitive?

Do you make lucky charms?

Are any of your clothes white?

Do you live in a castle?

Are you like that boy on Home and Away?

You don't like Adidas?! But what do you wear then?!

Are you a dog or something?

Are you one of them gothics?

Are you a cryptic?

Can you raise the dead?

Do you have any friends?

Do you wear black because you think white is poisonous?

Can you read my palm?

Are you a hippy-crit?

Are you a human being?

Are you natural?

Can I join your witch gang?

Can I be black too?

You stupid fockin' freak. You worship the devil. You look stupid. I'd kill myself if I was like

you. Can I borrow a pencil?

Do you hug trees?

Do you like the moon?

Who'd win a fight out of you and the Devil Vs. Jesus and God?

Is your underwear black? Can I check?

Are you a not well in the head dyke lesbo in black?

Are you that girl from the Adams Family?

Are you a gothmoth?

Can I burn you?

What do you do when it's not a full moon?

What's a goth?

THINGS TOWNIES SHOULD KNOW

1. Goths ARE goths. Thus calling them "goths", "gothos" or "gothics" will not insult them.

2. There are only so many times you can tell the 'dead has arisen' joke.

3. Just because we don't sit in bus stops drinking lemon hooch, doesn't mean we don't go out.

4. Ali G is a piss take of people like you, not a role model.

5. Adidas is not designer, neither is Gap or Ben Sherman.

6. People who dress differently from you are not gay, hippies or freaks.

7. Nine year olds smoking is ridiculous, not cool.

8. Walking like the hanger is still in your coat does not make you look 'hard'. Neither does spitting, shaving your hair or talking like you have a brick up your arse.

9. It's FUCK not 'fock'.

10. Wearing a gold coin on your finger does not make you look rich.

11. It's not a 'chain', it's a necklace. Get over it.

12. Being looked at is not an excuse to start a fight.

13. Working in McDonalds is not a preferrable ambition.

14. Hate to point this out, but you're all wearing the same outfit.

15. It's not cool to fail all your exams. Those who pass are not 'swots what have no life', they're the people you'll be packing bags for when you're older.

16. Too much hairspray will kill you.

17. Choking a woman to death with aftershave will not make her fall in love with you.

18. Being good at PE is not an academic achievement.

19. It may be a family practice, but having babies at 13 is not recommended.

20. Just because your trainers and shell suit are the same brand, doesn't mean the colours don't clash.

21. You cannot compensate for elasticised sports trousers by pulling your socks right up to meet them.

22. Luminous trainers don't go with ANYTHING.

23. Tight combat trousers with "Coq Sportif" t-shirts is not skater wear.

24. Chunky gold is not classy, it's horrible.

25. Listening to Tupac and clicking your fingers does not make you a gangster.

26. It's "was here forever" not "woz 'ear 4 eva".

27. Calling hoodies "goths" doesn't scare them, it makes you look stupid.

28. There is no way we are going to believe that you have an AK concealed on you, the same goes for an Uzi or any firearm more powerful than a water pistol.

29. You are not a gangster. You will never be a gangster. Your heroes aren’t really gangsters, they do it for publicity

30. Ali G is actually a Cambridge graduate with 10 GCSEs and four A – Levels

31. Yelling "Marilyn Manson" at us does not make us feel bad.

Sneering "Hallowe'en" at us is stupid, unless it happens to be the 31st of October, in which case it's pointless

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