The Evil Of Cheggars
THE EVIL OF CHEGGARS – Why There’s Nothing Wrong With Keith Chegwin But There’s Plenty Wrong With Higher Education
Cheggers Drinks Pop
Before we start, let’s get one thing clear. I am not here to have a go at Seventies icon Keith Chegwin. For a start I’m well aware of how to spell his nickname. As far as I am aware, Cheggers is a lovely man and has never been evil, not even when he was in the grip of a particularly nasty bout of alcoholism.
Despite waking up on many a sun dappled morning covered in his own puke, he remained unconfused as to his innate inner niceness. It’s fairly certain he was confused as to where he was and what had happened to his career. Perhaps he thought he had defected to a particularly raucous episode of Tiswas after an argument with Noel Edmonds about the next outdoor location for Multi Coloured Swap Shop.
After all, puke can bear quite a close resemblance to gunge or comedy custard pies, depending on what you’ve been eating and what you’ve been drinking to get yourself fucked up. (I’m thinking Fluffernutter sandwiches and Bailey’s milk shakes) But whatever Mr Chegwin’s perceptions of that difficult time, he dusted himself off- or more likely wiped himself down- and started over again, albeit in a more limited capacity.
All in all, he faired quite well once he’s sobered up. Seem to remember him being on The Big Breakfast and a few other things. A little less fresh faced but chirpy as ever. Ok, he did that naked jungle thing, but everyone was doing that kind of stuff at the time. Plus I’ve tried that sobriety malarkey and it can lead to some pretty odd thinking when you have the kind of brain that insists that it needs regular, liver crippling draughts of alcohol to keep it from screaming.
Bungle In The Jungle
It can’t ever be a good career move to film something while you’re naked in a freezing cold aircraft hangar. No matter what kind of performance you put in, all anyone is ever going to see is the fact that you are nude. And all they’re going to remember is that the environmental conditions have made your cock look like a pink acorn. Actually I’ve just realised that all this does sound a little bit like a sideways pop at Cheggers, but that’s not my intention. My intention is to rant against cheggars without the capital C. The Capital C that Cheggers –singular – richly deserves and that cheggars – plural – do not.
It’s Not The Same and It’s Also Spelt Differently
If you’re not sure what I mean by cheggars, it’s probably because you know them by another very similar name. They are the young people in multi-coloured bibs who accost you on the high street in the name of good causes and you probably refer to them as chuggers. Amongst other things. But chuggers is a portmanteau word- a contraction of charity muggers- and this is the first point that I take issue with.
These people don’t actually mug you. They don’t produce a knife or a gun and demand cash with menaces. This is a shame, because if they did they might be easier to get rid of. Simply produce a knife or gun of your own and let the better man win. The police could sort it out down at the station. No, the weapons used are far more subtle and insidious. The cheeky smile, the chirpy demeanour and the massive guilt trip. Hence cheggars. Charity beggars.
I used to think I hated cheggars. I do find them really, really fucking annoying, admittedly. Of that there is no doubt. In moments of mental wonkiness I have told a few of them so in no uncertain terms. But dubious as their means of making a living might be, they have been led into it by a far bigger bunch of annoying bastards. The recent Labour government.
The reason I came to this conclusion is that I asked myself what should have been a rather obvious question. Why are these boys and girls, who might otherwise be quite personable and well brought up, hassling me in the street for my bank details? This never used to happen, so something has clearly gone horribly wrong somewhere.
The answer lies in what has happened to our once mediocre education system. It has now been turned into a catastrophically awful education system. Cheggars are so irritating because despite all of their attempts to charm us, they reek of one thing and one thing only. Desperation.
Cheggars have been lied to and led to believe that their potential is far greater than is actually the case. Drawn into doing pointless degrees in tourism or media studies under the premise that this might somehow magically increase their future earning potential.
The Young Ones
Not that this is a new thing. Useless degrees have always existed. We had plenty of those when I was at university in the Eighties. With one important difference; back then they were free. In fact, they were more than free. You were essentially paid to be a student.
There was a local authority grant cheque which you picked up at the start of every term and your bank would let you draw money on it as soon as it was presented. During the lengthy holidays you could claim the dole as you were technically available for work. If your parents lived more than a certain distance away from your chosen university, you could even claim the travel expenses incurred to go back and sponge off them. Truth be told, it didn’t amount to all that much, but if you got a bar job in your extensive leisure time, you could graduate fairly well in the black.
Students have no chance whatsoever of graduating in the black now unless they start off with a fairly substantial inheritance in the bank on the first day of Freshers’ week. But you don’t think about the future when you’re eighteen years old. And all during school you’re told you have to do a degree. Absolutely have to.
You don’t have to. I was at the same University at the same time as a chap who decided that this higher education gubbins was a con and dropped out to make his way in the real world. This chap’s name was Jonathan Ive. He designed something called the i-Pod. You may have heard of it. I graduated, he didn’t. He got a Knighthood and I’m a manager in a supermarket.
The Party’s Over
So teenagers do what all teenagers do and follow the crowd through the overpriced gates of academia. Then they get to the end of their courses, a little older and wiser and think “I had a bloody good time, but I’m financially fucked .”
It is with those words silently playing on their lips that many young people are lured into being cheggars. Charity beggars. And the sad thing is that the main charity they are begging for is themselves. They don’t just get a little bit of your pledge. They get up to seventy per cent of it.
The charities themselves allow this because they’re playing a numbers game. Thirty per cent of something is worth more than one hundred per cent of nothing. So we have young people wandering our high street and going door to door quite literally begging for a living.
Deplorable as this situation is, we’d better hope there’s more ideas like this come along in the future. Because when the coalition’s cuts really start in earnest, there’ll be a hell of a lot more of us needing to beg for a living without it looking like that’s what we’re doing. And it won’t just be Twenty-somethings with Media Studies Degrees.
© Copyright Michael Grimes 2013