Pretty Fly for a Chav Guy

The Times has published an intriguing allegation regarding the background to the pedal-by shooting of Rhys Jones that, perhaps better than anything else I’ve read in the last few days, explains why its important that we crack down on teenage street gangs in the UK:

Detectives believe that Rhys, 11, was accidentally hit by a stray bullet as he walked through a pub car park on the private Croxteth Park housing estate.

The intended victim is believed to have been a senior member of the Strand gang — known as the Nogga Dogs — who had started a relationship with a girl from Croxteth Park. The gun boy was allegedly ordered to carry out the attack by an older member of the Croxteth Crew gang. The Croxteth Crew is based on a nearby social-housing estate.

Nogga Dogs? Croxteth Crew?

Fuck me, Britain’s teenagers really should be staying away from this whole street gang thing…

… because they’re shit at it.

‘Nogga Dogs’, for fuck’s sake!

What the fuck is a ‘Nogga Dog’ if its not a character from a pre-school TV show on CBeebies?

One of the recurring themes of late over at Tom Watson’s blog has been a new CBeebies show called ‘In The Night Garden‘, which features characters called ‘Igglepiggle’, ‘Makka Pakka’, ‘Upsy Daisy’ and ‘The Haahoos’. ‘Nogga Dog’ sounds a perfect name for a new character in the show, and if not there then it certainly wouldn’t be out of place in the revival of ‘Bill and Ben The Flowerpot Men’:

‘Flobbadobba-dobba-dobba-dobba Nogga Dog’

‘Flobbadobba-dob-dob Little Weeeeeeed’

And when this particular bunch of juvenile twats are not calling themselves the Nogga Dogs they are apparently known as the ‘Strand Gang’???

Sorry but that’s not a gang name either, it’s an old-time musical hall act, a bunch of ageing thesps scratching out a living on the Saga circuit by telling old jokes and singing medleys of traditional Cock-er-ney songs while wearing demob suits covered in cheap buttons.

And as for the ‘Croxteth Crew’, not only do they get zero for originality, but is that really a street gang, or is it a local rowing club?

The simple fact is that British teenagers are basically shit when it comes to trying to imitate American gang culture – they can’t even manage to come up with a halfway decent gang name.

Think about it.

Probably the most famous gang of all are the Hells Angels, and the name alone conjures evocative images of big fuck-off bikers cruising American highways on ornately decorated custom Harleys.

As gangs go, the Hells Angels have got it all; the seriously cool name, the logo, the bikes, the image, the reputation… mention the Hells Angels and you can’t help but think of Easy Rider; PeterFonda and Denis Hopper out on the open road on a pair of bad boy choppers with Steppenwolf blaring away on the soundtrack.

Whatever you might think of the lifestyle, when it comes to the ‘look’ the Hells Angels are just fucking cool.

Then you’ve got the two best-known and most notorious LA street gangs; The Bloods and The Crips.

Even if you’ve absolutely no fucking idea what either gang is about, just on the names alone you know damn well that you want to keep as far away from them, and their territory, as humanly possible.

Having a gang name like ‘Bloods’ or ‘Crips’ automatically sends a simple and extremely compelling message – we’re a bunch of scary-ass motherfuckers and you really, seriously, don’t want to mess with us.

What kind of message does a name like ‘Nogga Dogs’ send out?

We’re a bunch of spotty-faced chavscum wannabes.

And when it comes to coming up with a good gang name in the US, its doesn’t stop with just the Bloods and the Crips. Other well-known (i.e. notorious) gangs in the US include the ‘Black Disciples’, the ‘Gangster Disciples’, the ‘Latin Kings’ and the ‘Vice Lords’. Now those are what you call proper gang names, names that have real style and sound genuinely intimidating.

That’s the real life stuff, but even in works of fiction the Americans have got us beaten.

When Arthur Laurents, Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein needed fictional gang names for ‘West Side Story’ they managed to come up ‘The Sharks’ and ‘The Jets’, while the in film version of Grease the gang names used were ‘The T-Birds’ and ‘Scorpions’.

Now admittedly, even the Americans don’t get it right all the time – in the original stage version of Grease, the main gang were called the ‘Burger Palace Boys’ and not the ‘T-Birds’, but Hollywood soon managed to sort that one out and it still means that they have better gang names in fucking musical theatre in the US than anything our homegrown idiot scumbags can manage to come up with.

The whole idea of giving a street gang a name is to create an image, and just what the fuck kind of image does a name like the ‘Nogga Dogs’ conjure?

A bunch of shiftless halfwits slouching down the street with their hands in their pockets mumbling their special gang song…

Here come the Nogga Doggas. Splish-Splash. Splish-Splash.

Here come the Nogga Doggas. Splish-Splash-Splosh.

Take away their guns and more people would die laughing at the sight of them than anything else.

We have to get the message over to Britain’s teenagers that there really is nothing big or clever about trying to imitate American gang culture…

…because they’re shit at it. Just embarrassingly, humiliatingly, crap.

British teenagers just don’t have the sense of style necessary to carry off this whole gang business without looking like a bunch of cunts.

American gang members have custom Harleys, big fuck-off Cadillacs and Chevys with expensive hydraulic suspension systems, they sell crack, coke and crystal meth, wear shitloads of expensive bling and had NWA coming ‘Straight Outta Compton’.

British teenagers have a communal 15 year old Mini Metro ‘customised’ with a cheap Halfords body kit and hole drilled in the exhaust, wear £6.99 hoodies bought at the local market and a knock-off, ‘Burberry’ cap, hang around outside the local corner shop begging for a punter to go in an buy them 10 Silk Cut and a 2 litre bottle of Woodpecker and have Lily Allen coming straight out of an expensive private school.

Fuck all this banal wittering about to ‘fixing’ a society that isn’t broken in the first place, the message we really need to get across to these young people is that its really not cool to be a member of a street gang because you’ve got absolutely no sense of style and you look like a complete cunt.

And if any self-styled ‘street gang members’ do happen to read this, then to crib a classic line from Baddiel and Newman, just watch this video…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AS2uzNIxH_M

…that’s you, that is.

  • You know, that’s some spot on satire but when it’s kids killing each other I find it hard to laugh. That’s not a dig Unity, just how I feel about all this, I’ve known very good friends of my family to be killed over this gang shit so my perception may be a little lacking in humour…

    Regarding names, they may sound stupid at first (crips is a fucking idiotic name if you ask me) but give it time, reputation and a number of killings under their belt and the name will change in its perception.

  • Crips is a good name, Leon, crip being short for crippled which is what they would do to you if you crossed them.

    As for gang culture in Britain it is not a laughing matter. The Norris Green/Croxteth areas of Liverpool have a serious gang problem. The murder of Liam “Smigger” Smith outside Altcourse prison by rival gang members is probably behind the shooting of Rhys Jones. The Liverpool Echo recently published an obitury at the behest of Smiths gang which referred to him as a soldier.

    The murder of Liam Smith shows the level of organisation within these gangs. Scan the archives of the Liverpool Echo/Daily post for the evidence. To summarise Smith had an argument with Llod in the prison visiting room, Lloyd returns to his wing makes 40 calls in 38 minutes to his associates. As Smith leaves the prison he is shot dead.

  • I know what Crips means doesn’t mean I can’t think its idiotic…

  • ZinZin,

    The serious point I’m driving at here was, perhaps, best expressed by Mel Brooks:

    Rhetoric does not get you anywhere, because Hitler and Mussolini are just as good at rhetoric. But if you can bring these people down with comedy, they stand no chance.

    One could argue that Hitler and the Nazis are not ‘a laughing matter’ and yet no amount of academic research, public moralising or even judicial redress has achieved as much in destroying the public myths surrounding, and carefully nurtured and propagated by the Nazi regime between 1933 and 1945, than has Brooks’s relentless piss-taking of Hitler and Naziism on film, or indeed the work of wartime satirists like Chaplin, in The Great Dictator, or Spike Jones, writer and performer of ‘In Der Fuhrer’s Face’.

    The Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal, for example, is widely considered to have played a pivotal role in ‘breaking the spell’ that the Nazi’s had over ordinary Germans, particular in relation to Speer’s public acceptance of collective responsibility for the Holocaust.

    However, its also well documented from accounts given by Germans living and working in Nuremberg at the time of the tribunals that the popularity of Jones’ satirical song with British and American forces also played a significant part in helping the German people begin to cast-off the spectre of Naziism. The ridiculing of Hitler and other senior Nazis in the song was picked up by the German population and served to tear apart the myths of superiority and invincibility that had been built up around the Nazi regime. It pulled them back down to a human level, one that enabled people to escape, psychologically, from their fear of the regime and from the cultural brainwashing of Nazi wartime propaganda.

    At a deeper level than its just being a piss-take, what I’m playing with here is the power of ideas, and particular that of satire as a means of blowing apart some of the myths surrounding these gangs, from which they draw both their appeal to young people and their capacity to intimidate their local community.

  • Dan

    Unity, you’re right on the money.

    Reading your post reminded me of this fascinating and funny TED talk given by Steven Levitt (of Freakonomics fame) in 2004, it’s about 20mins.

    It should be shown to all kids – particularly the bit about the death rates. I guess at least some of it is applicable here in the UK. And the bit about the organisational structures of gangs being the same as McDonalds….well.

    If you don’t know the TED site, it’s well worth a nose around.

    http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/29

    Background info here:

    http://tinyurl.com/yoeu36

    Cheers.

  • Thom

    When I was a young(er) anklebiter I used to be a member of a gang in Leeds in West Yorkshire called “the Charlie Kay Crew”. We would generally waste our time loitering, smoking, drinking and commiting petty crime in a moderately deprived part of Armley (near to the prison where most of my counterparts had family). This was far from my traditional stomping grounds; I was brought up opposite a golf course in a middle-england area, my sister went to a private school on scholarship and I avoided the local sink school and got into a better comprehensive. Now several years on, a university degree, marriage and in a steady job after graduation I look back and realise the futility of it all; several of the former gang members are now either in prison for violent/drug crime or are on heroin and living low. I myself narrowly avoided the eventualities of that lifestyle and can only think “what a bunch of doylems we were”.

    Some societal concepts should necessarily be lampooned; the celebritty who believes her poop is encrusted with rubies, or the rock star whose veins leak pure heroin and whose nose has only one nostril. Gang culture belongs with these idiots.

  • Thanks for explaining it to me.

    Unfortunately recent events have left me unable to understand satire. Do wish me a swift recovery.

  • I agree, this is spot on. Sometimes the best way to disarm those who seek to cause harm, is to ridicule them.

  • epsilon

    A slight tangent here I hope you will forgive me for- the denouement should be worth it.

    The rise in gang culture may well be due to YouTube allowing all manner of videos made by these ‘gang members’ and causing both a rise in machismo and in rivalry. Videos featuring kids with guns, illegal and/or dangerous driving, pit bull terriers- you get the picture.

    YouTubeUK claimed tonight that they cannot censor them. Which is odd, because they do censor anything containing even a threat of nudity. Funny that.

    YouTube’s UK head- as interviewed on ITN tonight- appears to be one Rachel Whetstone- who happily ran out with the ‘no censorship’ line.

    Hang on a minute. Rachel Whetstone?

    The Rachel Whetstone who was Michael Howard’s Sancho Panza in the run-up to the last election? The Rachel Whetstone who devised the obligatory ‘hardline on crime’? The Rachel Whetstone allegedly offered a peerage at 36 by Howard- and who declined as so to not stop her chances of being an MP one day?

    Yep- THAT Rachel Whetstone.

    Castles made of straw, anyone?

  • Yes, it needs ridicule (as does Islamism), but the MSM are bewitched by yoof, so they too need some ridicule. I saw a brief tip of the iceberg in The Sunday Times that ribbed C4’s “Skins” as being something only a media exec thinks is worthwhile.

    Gangs are about gaining cred and the risk trade-off between being “in” or “out”.

    Janet Street-Porter (Jar-nut stroit-pawl-tar) has alot to answer for.

    p.s. Mobile phone jammers need to be installed at prisons.

  • TinyHippo

    For a bit of local reference, ‘The Strand’ is a shopping centre in Bootle, which is a reasonably rough area. So that’s where the name comes from. Clearly both original and scary. Not. I don’t think.

    Anyway, I used to work I.T. in a school in Liverpool and we were forever confiscating mobile phones from kids full of gang videos, courtesy of YouTube (completely agree, epsilon. It’s funny how ‘censorship’ works) and bluetooth. Why these tracksuited idiots get respect for brandishing capguns and letting down the tyres of a police car to the backing of 50cent tunes I have no idea, but it seems to.

  • Moon

    Love your work normally Unity, but this piece is a little beneath you. I think you should leave the ridiculing of gangs to be done by the people that may know more about them then yourself.

    Look forward to your next piece mate.

    M

  • “Love your work normally Unity, but this piece is a little beneath you. I think you should leave the ridiculing of gangs to be done by the people that may know more about them then yourself.”

    err, why? ridiculing gangs is completely win-win, unless you’re suggesting that they’re going to hunt Unity down and bust caps in his arse for dissing their homeboys.

  • Mund

    Why? Because it comes across as a Parent lecturing a teenager on the down sides of drum ‘n’ bass. Your attempt at street speak comes across in the same way. Don’t think this is the form of humour needed in this case.

    M

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  • “Why? Because it comes across as a Parent lecturing a teenager on the down sides of drum

  • anomylous

    Tis funny the chavs trying to be hard n gangsta.
    They have guns, o wow! ny1 can pick up a gun , even me i they know the right people.
    It dont make anyone gangsta or hard or w/e.
    Gangsters shoot oppoosing gangs for respect and to gain loyalty from their fellow gang members, aswell as it bein a constant war between differnt gangs.
    They also burgle, rob, deal heavy drugs, sum may do the odd pimping of hookers, protection rackets, loan sharking, street racing n illegal gambling, car jacking, selling stolen stuff and all the rest.
    Bu even real gang members have the decency not to mug old grannies unlike chav scum wannabes do in england.
    Im part of a gang. Well it aint realli a gang, tho we do sell the odd pot or rob places n shit, we aint heavy.
    1) we are smart enough to realise we are too young to try doin serious deals n crimes, we aint old enough simply in many ways, we can probably try but we dont wanna realli draw attention n plus we jus realli wanna enjoy our youth n not ruin too many other people’s lives in the process
    2) although guns are realli easy to get, we dont have a great variety, no automatics or vry few and far between. It aint worth riskin life n limb 4 lame ass weapons unless the weapons can help us get in sum real firepower like macs n stuff, we canonly get pistols n 4 the marginaly rich, shtguns, y bother?
    3) Although its easy 2 smuggle weed or gro it, it aint vry profitable n hard 2 mass produce, also, heavy class A stuff is hard 2 smuggle in without a front for the operaion or sum m8s in customs.
    4) Gang members are usualli poor all their lives, better to live the high life of a cartel or crime lord, or jsu make 1 big deal n live off the riches 4 the rest of ur days in spain or w/e

    So my message is: leave it to the americans chav boys, or 2 real gangsters cuz u make them look bad

  • Kev

    Your quite obtuse to think that a name has any influence on a gangs activities. Don’t judge a book my its cover. I’m sure if you were confronted by the gang “Nogga Dogs” you would be in need of a change of pants.

    Your entitled to your opinion, but to have an opinion on something you know little about is pointless. I speak for a wide variety of people when i tell you to “shut the fuck up” my friend.

    P.S
    I find it quite funny that you hide behind a screen and haven’t plucked up the courage to come face to face with these scumbags.

  • I find it funny that you come here and run your mouth on post that more than a year old – all the way from Surrey.

    You don’t speak for anyone but yourself, trollboy, so fuck off…