Please be warned, there is some coarse 80s language in this post. For those easily offended by the eighties, please scroll away.
Back in the eighties, I had the dubious pleasure of going to the third worst school in Britain, and with a name like, Julian Boffin, it wasn’t all sunshine and lollipops. If memory serves my correctly, I think my school missed out on the top spot due to our bullies being unable to waterboard properly.
The school was nestled in a large council park and during winter months we would receive phone calls from flashers saying they were going to pounce. Flashers wouldn’t do that now, back then they had much better flashing etiquette.
We would have an emergency assembly, warning us that the flash level threat had been raised to Amber, and that all girls had to be escorted through the park by two boys. Acting as a flasher bodyguard was scary but also a great way to meet girls, and flashers; who to be honest, always ended up being the local butcher. ‘Hi, Norman’, we would say. ‘Tell your Mam I’ve got that brisket in for her’, he would reply. It was all very cordial.
Our main claim to fame was that our top bully, or ‘Cock of the School’, had one eye and was called, Mad Morgan. For a guy with one eye, Mad Morgan was a crack shot with an air rifle. He would bunk out of lessons, climb up a tree and shoot at us when we were doing cross country.
During cross country we had to do three laps of the park. Start at school, go round the duck pond, slalom past the flashers and whizz past the teacher. As you approached the finish line, you would just see little puffs of smoke near your legs, followed by a glint of Mad Morgan’s glass eye from a nearby tree. At this point it was prudent to pick up the pace a little and belt it past the teacher, who seemed constantly surprised by my turn of speed. “Well done, Boffin. Keep them knees up. Excellent last fifteen yards,” he would say.
“Aaaaagh, get down…incoming fire,” I would reply.
We also had a Bad Hut. This was a portacabin, situated in the middle of a field, that housed all the loose cannons. It was our version of Alcatraz; the worst of the worst. When Mad Morgan wasn’t up a tree shooting people, he would sit in here being rehabilitated.
A good joke to play would be to offer the Bad Hut a sacrificial goat for slaughter, usually, Sloppy Sid from year 8. You would grab Sid, tie him up to the Bad Hut and then bang on all the windows shouting, ‘Wankers!’ It was the eighties, it was totally politically correct to bang on portacabins and shout, ‘Wankers’, in fact it was frowned upon if you didn’t. This is something that these 80s review shows never touch on. We weren’t all dancing to Wham, fiddling with a Rubik’s cube and getting AIDS. No, some of us where goading psychopaths.
Just as I finished my little walk down memory lane my son shuffled in looking worried.
“What’s up?” I said.
“I’ve got a problem at school, Dad,” he replied.
“Ok, what is it?”
“It’s my best friend. I don’t know what colour Jack Wills socks to get him for Christmas.”
“Stripy. Always go stripy.”
“And there’s something else. My nickname. They’ve given me one, but I don’t like it. Can I change it to one I like?”
“Don’t think it works like that.”
“What was your nickname at school?”