Prior to becoming battery mates, Mike Piazza said of Pedro Martinez, “all of that money couldn’t buy class”. Mike, of course, was dead wrong. It just wasn’t the right class. In Friday’s edition, The New York Times’ Sarah Lyall profiled another misunderstood example of New Money. (thanks to Sam Frank for the link)
Known across Britain by his tabloid nickname, the Lotto Lout, Mr. Carroll won £9.7 million (about $15 million at the time) in the national lottery three years ago and showed up to collect his prize while wearing a police-issued electronic ankle bracelet. The question now raging in Swaffham is whether he deserves to throw the switch at the town’s annual Christmas lights display, as he was briefly invited to do.
Among other things, he has appeared in court more than 30 times in the last three years. He has spent three months in jail on drugs charges, paid thousands of dollars in fines for vandalism and been evicted from several hotels after, for instance, ripping a chandelier from the ceiling while trying to swing from it.
He was recently ordered to perform 240 hours of community service – later increased to 300 – after shooting ball bearings through 32 car and shop windows with a catapult as he drove around in the middle of the night.
He has been issued with two antisocial behavior orders in two local jurisdictions forbidding him to threaten, harass or intimidate anyone in a 400-mile radius. He has been told by local government authorities to stop throwing raucous late-night parties and to stop holding demolition derbies on his land.
And he has been told to clean up the yard of his house, strewn as it is with tires, beer cans, food wrappers, wrecked furniture and the hulks of half-smashed-up old cars.
Mr. Carroll is an object of national fascination in part because of his apparently pathological criminality, and in part because he represents a kind of Briton known as a chav. Chavs, whether rich or poor, tend to favor gaudy jewelry and expensive-but-tacky clothes with big logos and to behave in a way that others find coarse or obnoxious.
Male chavs wear tracksuits and baseball caps; female chavs pull their hair tightly back in buns or ponytails, a style known as a “council house facelift,” from the term for public housing.
Mr. Carroll has “King of Chavs” printed on his Mercedes, a car known in the newspapers as the Loutmobile (its license plate reads L111 OUT).