Brixton is Chav Heaven

By Jonny B


If you’re gonna see The Streets, you gotta do it proper ain’t ya? White trainers, check; gold chain, check; striped pink polo-shirt, check; 20 Lambert and Butler… wicked, now we’re talking. And when me and my lady mate arrive at Brixton Academy to witness the fit but slightly wrong-of-tooth chav icon, Mr Mike Skinner, do his thing, we’re greeted by an army of lads in the same outfit at me… Fabulous!!

So, after two large glasses of Rosé at the DogStar, we switch to Strongbow Cider (plenty of it) and head to the centre of the Burberry scented throng of young men. Get in. The best thing about downstairs at Brixton Academy is that it’s on a slope, which meant we spent the night checking out the chavs behind us. Who knew there were so many types? Proper council estate chavs, middle-class fake chavs, gay chavs, fat chavs, and a rather exquisitely beautiful Indian chav with floppy hair and a tight striped shirt standing just behind us (there is a God).

A DJ plays standard Snoop Dogg classics with a bit of Missy Elliott and Notorious B.I.G thrown in for good measure, and by now the shirts and trainers have really started to move. The DJ asks us to shout out ‘Skinner’ when he shouts ‘Mike’, which we do, and then the curtain lifts… This, my chav comrades, is The Streets.

The stage is quite odd, a mixture of glam and tacky at the same time. The drummer is up high with a set of light-box stairs on either side, with cartoon eyes. The Streets meet Disneyland, if you will. As the stairs light up with a plasma screen either side and a huge screen showing animations, Mike’s band mate Leo (the fit one – Ed) hits the stage in jeans, a white shirt and suit jacket, followed quickly by Mike Skinner in the same, but with an oversized white tee rather than a shirt.

The first two songs are a blur, new stuff we haven’t heard. But the gig really kicks off when the instantly recognisable drumbeats from the first album anthem ‘Don’t Mug yourself’ kick in. A few thousand heads with short haircuts and/or caps bob up and down… wicked mate.

Mike Skinner is unique in the way that he performs, and the way he looks on stage. He’s a quiet presence but almost in your face when he flashes his big eyes and starts rapping/versing at the masses. He’s confident, really good at communicating with the crowd and, apart from the dodgy teeth, he’s really fit.
The pace of the gig is fast (three albums to get through), and the hits come thick and fast (oh yes). Mike and Leo quip at each other as they perform ‘When You Wasn’t Famous’, and Skinner lets it slip that Leo shagged someone famous recently: a very famous news presenter apparently!

Just when we thought it was all over (and I was taking a piss), they return… shirtless! Let me tell you, Mike has one fit bod, and he most appropriately launches into ‘Fit But You Know It’. When I get back from the toilet, I find my rather sexy lady friend surrounded by a group of sweaty but buff chav lads singing the lyrics at her. Jealous? Moi? Not at all…. ish

So there we have it, the perfect evening: chavs, cider, lager, Mike Skinner, Leo the Lion, naked chest flesh, and a man selling life-size posters of La Skinner outside. Did we buy one each? Would have been rude not to… innit.

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