Tag Archives: school

Number 94- there ain’t no door that can keep me out- number 2


Number 94 – There ain’t no door can keep me out – number 2.

Kyle tries to pull the tiny slivers of glass for his thumb. He can’t see them, but he can feel sharp grittiness under the skin.
He thought he’d been more careful when he smashed the glass, had wrapped a tea towel around his fist, but here he is, leaning against the kitchen units, his hand hurting. It doesn’t surprise him that the back door at 98 had crappy old fashioned glass, the non safety stuff, the stuff that leaves splinters that will, knowing his luck, get infected and hurt like buggery.

At least he doesn’t have to worry about finger prints cos it’s not like the police are going to break a sweat on another robbery at number 98 and he would laugh, but he’s just pulled a bit of glass out and now there’s blood all over his hand, so,he doesn’t feel much like laughing.
He has a good swear instead, Kyle loves swearing, loves combining words to make mega swears, even invents new words when the old ones just don’t seem angry enough.
Swearing was what got him kicked out of the last school, well swearing and throwing a chair at a teachers head.
Although in fairness, the chair missed, missed by a mile and Kyle reckons that this proves that he wasn’t really aiming, if he had wanted to hit the teacher, he wouldn’t have bothered with a chair, so, if all just proves what Kyle already knows.
People just pick on him for no reason.

His mum went mental, screaming and shouting, but he just stood there staring at her, fronting up to her until she stopped and then he went out.

Kyle doesn’t miss school, not the lessons anyway, except maybe the ones with the teachers who lose it, whose faces go red, who spit and shake and on a really good day, the ones who cry, the ones who turn away and you know that they are close to tears.
He misses that and the corridors and the noise and the possibility of chaos and mischief, but school, what’s to miss?

He’s been to three secondary schools now, new uniform for each one, new bus route, new need to suss out who’s who and who thinks they need to show him how hard they are and who’s weak and needs to learn how hard he is.

And each time, it’s just the same shit in a different coloured blazer and he doesn’t even bother to hide what he thinks and so now he’s at home, waiting for someone to find another school or something and his mum has stopped nagging him and just gets herself up and goes to work and doesn’t say much to him and he’s never said much to her.

Besides, he hasn’t got time for school, he’s got stuff going on and some of it is proper bad. Not like the wanna be gangsters at his second school, the ones who thought that grabbing a handful of sweets from the scruffy corner shop or boosting a phone from a kid in Year 7 made them dangerous to know.

That’s not robbing, what Kyle does,now that’s robbing and if number 98 wasn’t such a cheap git then he might have a bit more to show for it than sore hands and a tenner.
He’s vexed, proper vexed. He could have gone into his mums handbag if all he wanted was a bloody tenner and he wouldn’t be standing here now, trying to dig bits of glass out of his hand.

He thought there would be more, much more in number 98, he thought it would be worth rolling out from under his duvet, worth finding an old pair of trainers, worth leaving a half smoked spliff on a plate,ready for later.

But,there was nothing.
No TV
No games machine
No laptop
No phone

Nothing and for a minute, before anger kicked in, Kyle stood there in the middle of the sitting room and just stared, not sure of what to even think.

He felt cheated, after all this was the house that kept getting broken into, in Kyle’s head there had to be a reason, there had to be good stuff there, stuff worth nicking, stuff he could sell or trade or simply keep under his bed with other things, special things, but there was nothing.

He could feel the anger growing, it felt good, his stomach knotted, fists clenched, lips pulled back in a snarl.
At school, they said he had anger issues, said he needed to learn self control, said he made bad decisions and every time some stupid no mark stood too close to him and poked their finger towards his face and he managed not to punch them,he knew that they knew nothing because the control it took to not smash his fist into their fat satisfied faces exhausted him, left him pale and shaking.
They didn’t understand why he had to shout out a really good swear and walk away, pushing his fists into his pockets, his breath ragged,short, head pounding like it wanted to explode.

But standing in the middle of this joke of a room, he could feel the anger growing in him and he was just about to do something and then his phone pinged, a text and he couldn’t ignore it, had to just check it and he was glad he did
“ R U in – bunkd off Skol- fan c a smoke 😆”

So, he took the tenner, why not and legged it back over the fence and home.

GTA, spliff and Doritos and bit of a sleep.
When he woke up, he lay under the duvet on the sofa for a minute, his hand was still stinging and it took a while to remember what had happened and then he felt the anger growing again.

That stupid twat with his books and fucking radio and his arsey stupid bird feeders and his nothing worth nicking.

Kyle sat up, fired up the half smoked spliff and then he knew what he should do.

And this time he was going to do it properly, let number 98 know exactly how bad it all made him feel.

He walked up the path, 3 steps from the gate to the front door and nodded to himself. He was going to kick the front door in, he didn’t care if anyone saw him
“ fuck that” he said out loud and then he said it again,even louder and again until he was standing there screaming and then he leant on the door, ready to smash it in and it opened.

The stupid twat hadn’t even bothered to lock the door.
Just asking for it.

Kyle walked in, took a deep breath and prepared to show the sad little git who lived here exactly how angry he was feeling.


1976 and all that


It is 1976 and I paint my toe nails Californian Poppy red and my father says I am a tramp.

It is 1976 and my friend Karen is dating a Northern Soul DJ, he says his wife doesn’t understand him and our 14 year old mouths try out, for the first time, the flavour, taste and texture of this sentence.

It is 1976, we play swingball in the back garden, within days the parched grass is trodden down to dust.

It is 1976, I walk past the only punk record shop in town and want with every fibre of my being to go in, but too fearful, simply walk past as often as I can believably contrive, hoping that someone inside will notice me and see beyond my convent school uniform.

It is 1976, two older girls get expelled from school for piercing each others ears with darning needles and slices of cucumber. We talk about it in whispers in the playground.

It is 1976, there is some Royal Jubilee, but my family, Irish, keeping our heads down during the whole of the mainland bombing campaign do not get involved and do fly flags of any sort.

It is 1976 and I am teaching myself to like coffee and smoke cigarettes, I apply myself to the project with focussed concentration.

It is 1976, the Sex Pistols get to No 1, the record is banned, but I buy a copy & keep it hidden. I play it when my parents are out, I threaten my brother and sister with violence if they ever tell on me.

It is 1976 and I buy a pair of wedge espadrailles – they are so heavy that each time I walk, I twist my ankle over, but they are the first shoes I have ever bought myself and so I continue to walk and fall until the soles themselves fall apart.

It is 1976 and it doesnt rain, we watch people waiting for water at stand pipes on Nationwide and wait for the water to run out in Norfolk.


The Partisan


[ and who says old white men in suits and hats don’t rock]

i’m watching a boot leg film of Leonard Cohen, world tour 2008 – the stage is full of old, ugly, men in strange hats and suits that remind me of my father and his Sunday best.
They’re playing as if their very lives depend on it and perhaps they do, but this is no showmanship, no slick styling, this is old men who have spent a long time getting very good at what they do.

And it’s my turn to choose the tune among the flotsam and jetsam, the detritus of Yr 9, the refugees from learning, the chuck outs, the self selecting opters out of co-operation, courtesy and classrooms.

They have drifted or been directed to here, the behavior room, the behavior teacher and we should be working, doing something useful, but its the fag end of the day, so we’re playing music.

The rules are simple, we all get to choose, no-one rubbishes anyone else’s choice and we have to make a comment.

I do my best, really I do, but more and more I feel like a member of the royal family watching some tribal performance, in terrible danger of nodding my head on the off beat, the wrong beat.

Dub Step – makes my teeth hurt

Grime – quite a lot of swearing really

X Factor winner – do you want to hear the original ?

And because the boys are fair, sometimes, just sometimes, I get to choose a tune.

Mohammed 1, from Papua New Guinea picks up the french, translates for us all
“This guy, he’s like a soldier, undercover, the baddies have killed his family, but he goes on killing, and these other people they hide him and then they get killed”

Mohammed Squared – double named for double blessings – an unaccompanied minor from Afghanistan, smuggled across the border in the boot of a car, doesn’t say much, but then he doesn’t.

Yahya – five countries in 10 years – in the jargon a child with no mother tongue smiles when the mandolin soars above the guitars.

And then the door burst open and Saara, refugee from science bursts in and by force of personality alone gets to choose the next track and we all remember the rules and listen politely to another X Factor finalist.

The bell rings and they scatter and I sneak another quick play and watch the old men do it right.