Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Teen Reflections

Now that my son is 15, I often think back to my own teenage years and take the occasional cringeworthy peek into my very long-winded diaries of the time.

Of course the scribblings tell it as it was from my perspective at that age - a, more often than not, heart-broken lass whose only other worries were the spot on her chin and not being able to afford a new outfit from Jane Norman to wear to the church disco.

When I look back now, wearing my adult head, my memories are all quite different.

Hairstyles which ranged from Farrah Fawcett wings to shaggy perms, augmented by little plaits and flowers. I once spent a month going to bed with a bandage around my head to flatten my over-permed fringe.

Swaying between Miss Selfridge "Iron Lady" lipstick (which in a bad light made your teeth look yellow) to bubble gum flavoured lipgloss which was so sticky it would immediately attract any flying debris, small bugs and dirt.  My dad used to shake his head in horror and say I looked like I'd just finished a bag of greasy fish and chips.  My mum used to tell him to Shoosh.

Moving from my Saturday job in Barretts shoe shop to a job in the local sweet shop.  Yay!  No more smelly feet and all the chocolate and trashy magazines a girl could get through.  The downside was I was too loyal and, when the owner had a heart attack and his wife asked me to work an extra day, I missed an audition for the lead in a Disney film.  Who knows where I'd be today as a result of that Sliding Doors moment?

Having a totally individual (naive?) style which meant I would wear anything from my electric blue boiler suit with white boob tube to gypsy skirts with a little under-petticoat showing.  Dad on these occasions would tell me to pull my skirt down because my "slip" was showing.  He just didn't get it!  I'd also borrow his trilby and wear it with skinny drain pipes, a grand-dad shirt and my lovely blue suede Kickers or burgundy thigh length boots. What on earth did I think I looked like?  Like I was going trout fishing, according to my dad.

Skinny jeans mentioned above would (after washing) require my dad (my mum wasn't strong enough) to position me on the bed with a coat hanger through the zip so that we could manage to do them up.  My dad insisted I was squishing my organs and would never go through childbirth but it never stopped him from helping or me from having a baby!

My first professional job on Grange Hill.  Boy, I felt like a star walking into the BBC TV centre and I only ever had one line!  My contract lasted for 18 months though and it kept me in clothes and concert tickets for a good few years.

Concerts at Hammersmith Odeon - I saw some of the best and I think we used to pay about two pounds for a ticket.  The Police, Boomtown Rats, Ian Dury, Thin Lizzy and The Pretenders.  They were the ones we admitted to liking.  In our bedrooms we would also listen to Barry Manilow, Rod Stewart and The Beatles.  My big regret is never having seen Bowie live.  My friend, Julie was going to marry him though so we felt sure we would get our own private show one day!

Thursday nights when everything would stop for Top of the Pops followed by Fame.  Bliss!  I was also a member of the Top of the Pop's audience once and it's BORING - unless you like being herded around like cows for hours on end.

My first proper  kiss at a friend's party.  Uuugh!  Why did his tongue feel like a hedgehog and why had no one told me it was so yucky?  Then the resulting embarrassment when my dad came to pick me up at 11 sharp and said "What a load of 'erberts!" about the boys watching me leave.

Taking hours to get ready.  Trying everything on in the wardrobe and then chucking it on the bed with an "Oh, I've got nothing to wear" harrumph! Then going back to the original outfit and coming home to find I couldn't get in to bed.

Come to think of it I still do that now, except it doesn't take me hours, I've got it down to a whirlwind.  Plus ├ža change, as they say!

My debut novel, Diary of a Mummy Misfit is on Amazon for Kindle.

Now also available in paperback at Lulu.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful evocation of an era! I was more of a 70s child, but recognise various things here. Thank you for the bit of 80s nostalgia! I was lucky enough to see Bowie live, but in Lyon in 1983 (Serious Moonlight Tour). I had a brilliant view of the stage and can confirm he's even better looking in real life! The downside of that concert was the French police tear-gassing the crowd afterwards!

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