teenage rebellion

Teenage Kicks

A pathetic act of pure middle class boyish rebellion - but one that decades later still brings a smile to my face.

The setting for my rebellious story is the WH Smith on Hemel Hempstead High Street.

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Fitba Daft

I guess I always knew I was different.

Not to look at. I was just a typical teenager - if there is such a thing. Unremarkable, quiet, bookish and shy. More comfortable reading, drawing or out walking my dog than going into town shopping and gossiping with the girls. Always a bit of a loner, but comfortable in my own company.

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Letter to Mum, Nov 77

21 November 1977

Dear Mum,

I miss your sayings more than anything and I try to live by them as much as I can. ‘Leave while the party’s still good’, is sometimes a struggle. I’m wondering about one of your favourites for my current situation, ‘to thine own self be true’. I’ve fallen in love with Father Mann. No, honestly mum, don’t be mad or stop reading. It’s the real thing, I’m going to tell him soon. I’ll never get the chance at mass with Mr McAlpine hanging about like his bodyguard so I thought of three possibilities:

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Not Just Another Brick In The Wall

When you think of rebellion a collection of stock images tend to flicker through your mind, playing like an old time newsreel.

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Spiralling down in paradise

Warning: this piece contains strong language

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Scotland. 1985.

Amanda is a teenager.

Dr Clark is the local Medical Practice locum. He’s in his mid-twenties.

Dr Clark: So, Amanda. How are you feeling?

Amanda: I need to know if Victoria Gillick’s happening here. 

Dr Clark: Victoria….?

Amanda: You know. Her. The Catholic wifie with all the kids.

Dr Clark: Sorry. You’ve lost me.

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Smart as Paint

I am expressing my creativity
With the odds and sods of paint left in tins
from the hall cupboard of our council flat. 

“Let her be” says my father,
calm and confident of his daughter’s
teenage wisdom.

“That woodchip didn’t come free in the post you know”
My mother confirms.
She rolls pastry and the pins in her hair rollers bob
as she shakes her head.

“Magnolia is fine and fresh,
If she just took those stupid posters doon…”
The lid of an apple pie is jabbed with a fork.

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Who Wears a Purple Hair-net Anyway!

'Where dae ye think yer going' said ma mither fae below,
'Ye'll need tae dae the hoovering before ye cross the door'
'What! I'm off tae see ma pals,' I said, 'the weekend's here, ye know!'
'Aye, after the upstairs cleaning's done, and definitely no afore!' 

Now I'm a busy lass, ye see, things tae do, places tae go,
But I'm no a housekeeping slave, which is what she thinks I'm for.
The upstairs rooms and landing wants hoovering, that's required.
'an mind tae dae the dusting tae', essential, not just required!

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How I hated P.E.!

Oh, the embarrassment of jumping “over” the horse…only to get stuck on it.

No one would listen to a wee lassie, “You’ll be fine”, “You’ll soon master it”.

They lied.

Cross country running? Dear God, it was a form of torture.

How can you possibly look good in a pair of brown shorts, a shapeless Aertex shirt and trainers?

Short answer: you can’t.

I needed heels, I still need heels; even today I do not own a pair of trainers.

I decided in second year there would be no more P.E.

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It was another normal day and the family were preparing for the day ahead. Sarah picked up her school bag and called from the kitchen door, "I'm away, Mum, I'll see you later."

"Bye, darling, have a good day."

Sarah's Dad was returning from his night shift and passed his daughter on the drive.

"Take care and watch when you're crossing the road."

Smiling, he saw her walk to the house on the other side of the road. 

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