1. ‘FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!’
Nothing at school was more thrilling than hearing someone shout ‘FIGHT!’, a clarion call that would see every ball dropped and game abandoned as pupils of all ages flocked to form a jeering carousel around two boys who would proceed to shove each other on the shoulder, get into a headlock and then roll around on the floor for two minutes until a teacher pulled them apart.
2. School canceled… cos of SNOW!
The miracle, the Holy Grail, fate’s finest hour - many of us got through our entire school years without ever missing a day of school to play in the snow, but for those that did, the feeling was unforgettable.
3. The late teacher.
Everyone has arrived for the lesson - but wait! The teacher is nowhere to be seen. Five minutes pass. Then 10. People are getting restless. Someone swears they’ve heard you’re allowed to leave if it gets to 15. The air is thick with mutiny… then the teacher walks through the door and everyone sits back down.
4. Uniform wars.
The school uniform is the battle ground on which teachers and pupils play out their daily war of attrition. Shortening skirts, removing ties or wearing trainers all send out the same important message: WE WILL NOT BE CONTROLLED!
5. The supply teacher who doesn’t give a shit.
When you can clearly see the ‘I’m just here for the money’ look in their eyes, it’s time to party.
6. Bunking off.
Skiving, playing hooky - whatever you call it, playing truant from school by feigning illness or just sneaking off at first break was one of the ultimate thrills of being at school.
7. Tall tales.
“My Nike Air Maxs are at home.”
“I’ve completed Gran Turismo on the hardest setting.”
“I’m not a virgin - I had sex on holiday.”
8. The random dog.
Somehow, a dog enters the school field and starts running around. Delirious joy breaks out everywhere.
9. ‘Own clothes day’.
Freeing you from the shackles of uniform (for just a pound of your dinner money), own clothes day was your chance to shine. Or just put on your latest football strip.
10. Lessons outside.
With the sun shining brightly and the lesson about to begin, “can we work outside, Sir?” was always worth a try, because sometimes - maybe only once a year - they answer would be yes.
11. Really ‘feeling’ music for the first time.
As you grapple for a sense of your own identity, you discover nothing says the things you want to say about yourself quite like a band hoodie, patch or pin badge stuck to your school bag. Altogether now: ‘F**K YOU I WON’T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!’.
12. School dinners.
Mainly absolutely God awful, of course - but that’s what made the rare treat you did enjoy from the school canteen all the more exciting. Whether you secretly loved custard, croquettes or pineapple upside down cake, some days those ladle-wielding malcontents really did the business.
13. School trips.
It wasn’t just that school trips got you out of class for a while. When else in life would you have the chance to see a lamb being born, go orienteering in the Yorkshire Dales or look at a hardcore porn magazine bought in a Belgian newsagents? Sorry - we mean pay a solemn visit to the graves of World War I.
14. The last day.
Exams are finished. Jobs or university beckon. So you decide to end your school days with a bang.
Plans are hatched to skip all lessons, storm the teacher’s break room and maybe even leave a dog turd on your headmaster’s desk… sure, you end up just throwing a few eggs about and writing ‘GOOD BYE’ on a dozen different school shirts, but this is still the most exciting and poignant day in your young life. You don’t truly know it yet, but things will never be quite as much fun as this again…