Friday's Evening Standard

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Saturday 20 July 2002 4.23pm
Did you see the article about Bermondsey Girls In last night's evening standard?

I'm incensed. Especially as I'm originally from Essex - out of the frying pan....
Saturday 20 July 2002 8.35pm
What did it say?
Saturday 20 July 2002 10.46pm
As a bermondsey girl I would also like to know what it said please! Didnt get the Evening Standard that day!
Sunday 21 July 2002 7.43am
I did not see it either - have all Bermondsey girls been reclassified as Big Brother contestants?
i wonder if my newsagents have any copies left....
Sunday 21 July 2002 7.27pm
JJ is right - I have just read the article - talk about being incensed - it shows photos of young girls wearing the sort of clothes that you see anywhere - with the addition of a nasty piece of journalism - I'm gonna write a bloody letter to the Standardd - and because I am so annoyed it probably wont get printed!.....had this article used colour as the basis - the race relations would be quite rightly onto it.....;-(
Monday 22 July 2002 12.21pm
Oh, it was an awful piece of hackneyed journalism - obviously recycled from the Essex girl days. Apparently, the typical Bermondsey girl is just like Jade. The shorter the skirt, the longer the acrylic nails and the blonder the hair the better, apparently. And we all wear Tiffany jewellery.
Monday 22 July 2002 12.39pm
Here it is in its entirety:

Jade's fellow Bermondsey girls

by Zoe Brennan

Did you hear the one about the Bermondsey girl who found out she was pregnant? "Are you sure it's mine?" Or what about the Bermondsey girl who thought "East Angular" was abroad?

The first is, of course, a recycled Essex-girl joke. The second is just one of the real- life musings of Jade Goody, who, through her exposure on Big Brother, has become the world's most famous, or indeed only famous, Bermondsey girl.

Night after night, as she makes drunken passes at fellow housemates, viewers have been wondering whether 21-year-old Jade is a bizarre one-off, or whether she is, in fact, representative of womanhood in this south London borough.

A quick stroll down Bermondsey high street reveals that Jade is far from unique. Coming towards me, wearing a candy pink minidress, matching diamantè baseball cap, blonde-streaked hair, chunky jewellery and a sunbed perma-tan is Shelley McManus who, like Jade, grew up in the area. She explains that Jade is part of a long tradition of happy-go-lucky Bermondsey womanhood, not bothered by such fripperies as grammar or geography.

"Some of the Bermondsey girl image is true," she says. "I went to this party the other day and this bloke introduced me as Jade's half sister, 'cos I got mixed up over the difference between a slug and a snail," says Shelley, 28, a full-time mum. "They're the same animal, ain't they?"

Hollie Mills, who has all the Bermondsey girl essentials - long, fake, acrylic nails, large fake diamond adorning her finger, and a revealing top - protests that there is a difference between Essex girls and Bermondsey girls.
"I don't agree that we're the same," says the pretty 17-year-old, who wants to be a stylist. "We might be laddish and coarse, but we keep our drawers on."

Jade, of course, hasn't, but perhaps she didn't quite understand the bit about Big Brother being shown live on national TV, poor love.

According to Shelley, who has the now distinctive local snub nose, Bermondsey girl is usually a receptionist, shop-girl, maybe a vet's assistant, or perhaps - like Jade - a dental nurse.

As well as being reviled for her lack of general knowledge, Jade's extraordinary sartorial taste - matching, pastel minitracksuits, appliquèd T-shirts revealing her D-cup bosom, lurid bikini bottoms showing off her bronzed, dimpled thighs - has come in for criticism.

"Clothes are really important round here, because then people can see you've made it," explains Shelley, who says most girls go to Topshop or the bootleg stall on the market.
"Labels are everything: Burberry, Louis Vuitton bags, Donna Karan, Gucci shoes, and jewellery from Tiffany's. If it's fake, it has to be good fake.

"My boyfriend gave me this Tiffany necklace," she says proudly (Bermondsey boy, by the way, is crop-haired, tattoed, and wears a tracksuit). "I know you can get jewellery in Argos, but this came in that little blue box."

Designer labels aren't the only Bermondsey girl essential: nails have to be French-polished acrylic extensions; ankle chains are ubiquitous. Earrings have to be huge gold hoops. Bra straps are always on show: in Bermondsey, that's not tacky - it's regarded as dead classy to wear one.
Blonde streaks are, of course, de rigueur, even if you have black hair. Pearlised lipstick is big, anything pink is good and short skirts are always in fashion.

The main prerequisite, however, is to be loud. Favoured greetings are "Wotcha", "Hiya", or "All right, mate?", and all at full pitch. No wonder Alex has a headache.

A night out on the town is Bermondsey girl's raison d'être. Those trendy new places, such as the Honest Cabbage gourmet pub, are out. A session at Venue in New Cross, or Bon Bonnie's, gives the excuse for some real dressing up. Caesar's or Quebec Curve in Rotherhithe are also popular, but if you're a true Bermondsey girl, it's got to be the Old Kent Road.

Dressed in Valentino jeans, a pink tank top, Chanel-style sunglasses and gold earrings, 25-year-old Gina, who wouldn't give her second name - perhaps she can't spell it - was taking a break from her job at the Blue Anchor Garage and is, like many of the girls I met, sympathetic towards Jade.

"She is a bit of a div," she says. "But she's stuck in the house with no telly, so you've got to talk, haven't you?"

Like Gina, Nickola Evans, the 27-year-old proprietor of Hype Hair on Bermondsey's main drag, Southwark Park Road, can't see why Jade is getting such a bad press.
"Bermondsey girl knows what she wants - designer gear, a good night out - and she looks after herself: we get through a lot of blonde hair dye, and the sunbeds are popular.
"Jade fits in around here, she's really well-liked. When she comes out of that house, she'll be cheered up and down the high street. She's just up for a laugh, Jade is."

How to spot a Bermondsey girl:

Fake Louis Vuitton "graffiti" bag.

Tiffany silver heart necklace - not from Argos.

Gold hoop earrings, big enough for a parrot to perch on.

Anyone not dressed in a mini pink tracksuit is "minging" (ugly); anyone who doesn't understand you is a "chipstick" (idiot).

Dark roots and bra straps are always on show.

For a posh night out, you go "Up Town".

Nails are long, acrylic and pearlised pink.

Sunglasses are Gucci or Chloe - but only the ones with the sparkly logo; anything sparkly is good.
Tuesday 23 July 2002 11.31am
"Bermondsey High Street"? WTF is that? Brennan must have take a wrong turn at Canary Wharf. Probably can't even read a map properly. Or she's just 'aving a larf.

She's certainly never been to Bermondsey.
Tuesday 23 July 2002 1.23pm
jo jo you must get very bored or just type very fast
Tuesday 23 July 2002 1.27pm
Will it make you all feel better if we start an Essex (sorry, Bermondsey) Girl joke thread?
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