Turnpike Travellers

Now you don’t often see terms like ‘pikey’ on an HR blog but Guru has leapt to the defence of motor-racing commentator Martin Brundle, who remarked:

There are some pikeys there at turn 10 putting tarmac down – what do you think of that?

The blue-headed one asks:

But what is offensive about the term pikey? 

It is said to be offensive as it means someone who travels (pikeys do), someone who has a tendency to lay Tarmac (pikeys do), and someone with scant regard for established society (pikeys are past masters at this). In which case, it’s a remarkably accurate demonstration of observational skill from Mr Brundle and not at all offensive to anyone.

By coincidence, I was round at a friend’s house a couple of weeks ago and she dug out some of her old records. Among them was All The Fun Of The Fair by David Essex. (Yes, I have some strange friends.) On the back of the sleeve was a dedication to showmen, travellers and pikeys.

Has “pikey” become a derogatory term in the thirty years since that album was released or is it just that David Essex was ‘allowed’ to use the term because his grandfather was a Gipsy?

In any case, because of its perceived racial overtones, the term seems to be beyond the pale now.  Guru might get away with it because he is paid to be naughty and controversial but, to paraphrase the old conjurers warning, don’t try this at work! You might get into trouble with HR.

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2 Responses to Turnpike Travellers

  1. HR Wench says:

    When I hear the term “pikey” (which, in the USA, is not that often) all I can think of is the Guy Richie movie “Snatch”.

    “Isnotferme, isfermemam!”

  2. Jonathan says:

    weren’t Pikey’s the lookout men for illegal gambling and the like ? (seriously)

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