Bobby: Look at their canteen.
Me: Ooh, it's like Columbine.
That place was pretty damn wrong. The school I went to yesterday I mean. Not that Columbine wasn't quite wrong.
Never trust thin chefs. (That Gary Rhodes has a lot to answer for.) And never trust new schools. Something about sticking 5000 cinderblocks in a shape and painting them mauve just doesn't ring true when you're trying to capture any other mood other than hopeless artificially-created despair. Regardless of how many receptionists you have. Also they were twinned with Sheffield Hallam University. Talk about reaching for the stars, kids ;-)
I don't usually indulge in the worse kind of intellectual snobbery against Sheffield Hallam, but there are many obvious jokes. Like twinning a school with Sheffield Hallam is like starting a football academy and twinning it with the Renford Rejects. Or creating a new town and twinning it with Fallujah. OK, I'm done. (I don't really have a snobby side about Hallam, I'm sure everyone there is perfectly nice, it's just an easy joke and forms a bit of camaraderie at my Uni.)
I quite miss school sometimes. Occasionally I remark upon this and a lot of people look at me a bit funny. But I liked my school. It was old, it had character. Also, nostalgia sort of filters out the shitness of something. Sometimes I sort of miss my first year halls, and pretend I don't remember the shit bits. Like my ten stone flatmate sitting on a sofa and breaking it. But we left our mark on it, just about. Through ceaseless destruction, throwing vegetables at the wall and drunken antics I'd like to think there was something a bit "us" about that first year hall.
And my old school. It was tatty, and dusty and the playground was quite literally a large concrete block with grit on. But it had personality. This school yesterday was the most insanely bland place in existance. The only mark the students making would be inflicted with the help of a Mac-11 and a partner in crime wielding a sawn-off.
Suffice it to say that their questions weren't the most original bunch we had ever encountered. But then again had a trio of homos come into my Year 10 class, I think our disinterest would have been just as perceptible. I don't blame them in the least, I just felt the persasive horrible atmosphere amongst each other. The sort of school where everyone bands into such a tight clique that no one will say anything for the fear of having the piss ripped out of them. There was such a pantomime theatre about any stutter of speech, and hesitation, I felt sorry for the kids that weren't, yknow, arseholes. Which is why I defend my school to the hilt, and should probably go to the Old Edwardians when I'm back in Birmingham. Our arseholes were at least a bit original.
The refreshing thing was that the answer to most questions seemed to be, though was not said as such: When you leave this school and see a wider range of people than inside these four walls you'll realise no one gives two shits about your possible prejudices or ideas. And that's very healthy. School's a pretty unhealthy place for people to grow up. Every behavioural trait, every affectation, every admission of deviation from the norm is scrutinised and mocked. When you're in Year 10, anyway. It's a marvel any of us make it out alive.