diamond geezer

 Tuesday, July 08, 2008

25 years ago today...

 Friday, July 08, 1983


6.45 Bedside radio switches on.
7.00 It's Mike Read with the Radio 1 breakfast show.
7.10 Crawl out of bed and stumble into the bathroom.
7.30 Breakfast in the kitchen. Mmm, Crunchy Nut Cornflakes.
8.05 Hop in car and Mum gives me a lift to school.
8.20 Arrive at school, just like normal. But not normal. It's the last day of term. It's the day after A Level study leave. It's the last day of the very last term. Last day at school.

8.25 Hello classmates. Hello class victim. We all insult the class victim. Sometimes I feel ashamed that we all insulted the class victim. I mean, this was the sixth form for heavens sake, and you'd think we'd have matured past that. Other times I'm mighty glad that somebody else was there to be class victim instead of me.

8.35 Enter form teacher. Form teacher outlines today's non-bog-standard timetable.
8.50 Go visit teacher of A-level-subject-one and drop off a pile of textbooks. I considered taking this subject at uni, but no, this was where I handed the entire subject in.
9.00 Cross school to visit teacher of A-level-subject-two and drop off another pile of textbooks. Another subject hits the buffers.
9.10 Return to form room, home of A-level-subject-three, which is suddenly my unique specialism.

9.20 It being the last day of term, somebody has of course brought in a board game. [Note to younger readers: board games were made of cardboard, didn't plug in, didn't flash, didn't move, didn't keep score for you, and didn't cost £49.99. You'd have enjoyed them] Our favourite board game at the time was called Cosmic Encounter. It was a bit strategy, a bit sci-fi, a bit geeky. But hell, we were geeky sixth formers so we never noticed that we should have been talking about football and breasts instead. [Note to younger readers: you can play Cosmic Encounter online today without the embarrassment of handling cardboard.]

9.50 The headmaster pops into the classroom to say goodbye. He shakes everyone's hand. I don't think he's ever done that before, but suddenly we're all men.
9.55 We get back to our board game. All that knowledge still to be had, all that free education waiting to be digested, and we spent our last morning shuffling bits of cardboard and pretending to be aliens. Still, I won the game, so it wasn't all wasted.

11.25 Our second game is rudely interrupted by the end of term. That's the last thing my classmates and I will ever do together. Unfinished.
11.30 All the Upper Sixth leavers head down to the garden for a bit of a 'do', and a drink. Some of us aren't even 18 yet, it's all very exciting. I bet schools don't hand out alcoholic drinks to their pupils today, even half an hour before they kick them out.
11.31 I sit down on the grass next to the young man who'd been my best friend at school for the first few years, back when we were still uniformed. We haven't chatted much in the Sixth Form, he went arts and I went sciences. We chat a bit now. We'll only ever chat three more times. Life moves on.

11.35 Time for farewells and prizegiving. Two boys I've been at school with since the age of 5 win the science prize. Two boys who were my second and third best friends win music and languages. One boy who was born in the same maternity ward as me wins the 'creep' prize for service to the school. The only boy who still sends me a Christmas card wins the history prize. None of my friends wins a sports prize. And I still have the Dr Who hardback that my ten pound book token paid for. The headmaster would have been so disappointed.
12.00 School's out, forever.
12.01 Walk home, swinging a nigh-empty bag, in the blazing July sunshine. This must be what freedom feels like.

12.30 Mum is holding a big fat envelope from my university-to-be. Life's rollercoaster continues. But weren't the last 29 minutes great?


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