Thursday, 3 May 2012

Memories of ... School (Part 2: High School/Secondary)

Could Have Been My School
My Secondary School (or High School) was in fact two different schools, as we moved as a family in my third year (? I think). Not that it matters, UK Secondary and Comprehensive Schools in the 80's were all pretty much the same. If you're a Brit, think Grange Hill with less drugs. If you're not a Brit, 'Grange Hill' was a kids TV show in the 80's about a .... UK Secondary School. If you were a kid in the 80's, you wished your school was like Grange Hill but your parents hoped and prayed it wasn't at all like that. Mine was a bit! I'm whistling the theme tune to Grange Hill now.

Burnt in My Memory: Walking the halls between classes trying to look cool and attractive at all costs and at all times. Because everyone's watching you, right? Not easy to achieve my ideal High School look of a cross between Boy George and 80's Madonna when my Mum was still responsible for most of my wardrobe. AND I had to work around that dumb uniform and stupid school rules about make up and hemlines.

The day I was given detention by my impossibly unforgiving French Teacher (also Head of Year) for ... ASKING A QUESTION. Yes, I was punished for my enquiring mind at school. She ordered me into the Store Cupboard at the back of the classroom, there was a small desk inside and a young chap in school uniform whom I didn't recognise. He looked at me as I walked in and said deadpan "I've been here for years".

Being made Prefect at aged 14 along with best bud, and being told to "keep C Block locked at breaktimes and make sure nobody goes in there". They even gave us keys, the fools. We spent every lunch hour thereafter, along with a few chosen chums, happily locked inside C Block. Playing tunes and smoking loads of faaaags. Me? A Prefect?? Suckers.

Canvas bags. It would start off a beautiful, new, blank canvas bag. You'd doodle on it a bit one day. Then you'd write something cool like "Duran Duran" with hearts and stars all around it or draw a "What No ..?" Cartoon. A week or so later, your mates have all signed it and what with the badges and the studs you'd be hard pressed to find space to draw or write anything. Then that guy in your Biology class who's into Punk writes something obscene across the front if it with a black permanent marker when you're not looking one day, complete with a graphic image. And then your Mum bleaches the bag when she sees it. And we have a blank canvas again ... woop woop!

Best Forgotten: The crushes. On much older, way cooler boys who were never going to look your way. Cringe.

The Girl Bullies. Who'd bump shoulders hard with you in the corridor and whisper something like "sl..u..u.t" as they walked passed. You could never figure out why. I mean, hardly. I am only 14!

Back in Fashion!
Plastic basket bags, remember them? All your pens and fags would fall out the holes, so you had to put a carrier bag inside and keep everything in there, inside your plastic basket. It became a MAMMOTH issue to ensure that the carrier bag you chose to use was from a 'cool' shop. "No Mum, it CAN'T be M&S, the other girls will laugh. Isn't there a New Look bag I can use?". Then came the matching shoes ...

The Common Room (ONLY For Sixth Formers). You spend your entire school career from 11 to 15, wondering what's behind and finding reasons to walk passed ... the elusive 'Common Room Doors' Oooo. Only to find out in your final year it's just a crappy old temporary building with a few broken chairs inside that they didn't want in the Teacher's Lounge and a pool table with only one cue that has no tip and no cue ball. Oh, and a load of six formers playing music on their 'Ghetto Blaster' and pretending it's WAY more cooler in the Common Room than it actually is. And of course, we carry on the pretence once we come of age and are allowed inside it's hallowed walls.

Dramatic Performance: A feevin' pickpocketing member of Fagins Gang in our schools run of Oliver Twist. I made my Stepdad laugh out loud when my parents came to see it. At a point when nobody else was laughing admittedly but what the heck.

Stuff I learnt: How to wire a plug (in Science). How to melt a biro so it looks like a bubble (also in Science). How to fold your trendiest jacket down to the size of a postage stamp so you can stash it in your bag until you get to school and change as soon as Mum's out of sight. Oh, and a shedload of important lesson-y type stuff n' stuff I should imagine.