Chippy by Neal Jones

Abbv. A chip shop
Coll. A carpenter
Adj. feeling aggrieved, usually applied to a constantly sour-faced moany working class person.

I’m a chippy and a chippy painter, and sometimes after work I go to the chippy but I don’t get chips I just get a small fish. Now aged 49, I’ve only just worked out that the childhood treat of fish and chips makes me feel fat and poor, and then chippy. Chips are cheap, that’s what’s nice, but now I’m wary of the bargain even though I’m poor and empty. When you’re poor you’re taught you deserve greasy scrapings, it’s you’re wallet and because you’re told that neither you or anything else is worth looking after. When you’re poor you have to fight you’re way out of a bin bag everyday. You’re trapped, since your non-history and poverty pressure keeps you locked into a weird sense of traditional deprivation, like working till you die for next to nowt, like drinking 20 pints on a Friday night and smoking fags, being sexist and racist and bleak, like gambling on the lottery and the grand national, watching football and listening to the Queens speech. All these habits are comfy and respectful to our forefathers, but when we wave the red white and blue, when we thank God for our daily chips, we’re killing ourselves early, making ourselves perennially stupid and passive. If you don’t have any money stashed offshore and you defy these rituals of self harm then you’re uppity, unpatriotic and chippy. The rich people we’re servicing aren’t worth any more, only more money, but then if you say things like this, like Oliver or Jesus it’s lonely, you lose your poor roots and any kindness from the gentry, but you can’t stop standing up and arguing for better. Thing is, you just sound CHIPPY! It’s so unBritish to say FUCK THIS cycle of deference and serfdom. NO MORE POVERTY, NO MORE OVERLORDS AND OVER LIES, IT’S NOT HEALTHY: walking the streets with high environmental and social ideals but only a bit of wet timber out of a skip under your arm and a massive chip on your shoulder.

Neal Jones: Southard Reid, London

 

Yasmine Robinson