A Poem About Leaving School

I have graced the hallways of my school for seven entire years, roughly the equivalent of the time it takes to get to the front of a queue in the post office. Typically students bring in notebooks into which other students write farewell messages of good luck and sappy happiness. I forgot to get a notebook so I’m writing this instead, which is way more impressive because it’s in the public domain forever.

So, what was happening seven years ago?

  • Gordon Brown was prime minister and students could attend university without first selling their organs
  • Jimmy Saville was an okay dude
  • North Africa was full of peaceful, dictatorial regimes
  • Benedict Cumberbatch could go out in public
  • People used MySpace
  • Leonardo DiCaprio was waiting to win an Oscar

Well, I never said the world had changed beyond all recognition.

But still. Seven years. Part of me thinks about leaving school and is like this:

from lisce.tumblr.com
from lisce.tumblr.com

Part of me feels like this:

Found... somewhere on Tumblr
Found… somewhere on Tumblr

Since I’m a writer, blah blah blah, I thought I’d write a poem about my time in school.

  • A is for ageing, which we have all done
  • B is for bonkers, which we have all become
  • C stands for lots of coffee… enough said!
  • D is Sunday night and that sudden feeling of dread
  • E stands for examinations, which make us want to cry
  • F are the fuckin’ idiots we’ve all had to put up with in class at least once who make us want to die
  • G is General Studies, ironically my best subject
  • H stands for homework, which you shouldn’t try in public
  • “I is not in ‘team’!” which we learnt in PE
  • J are the in-jokes that make strangers want to flee
  • K finishes ‘okay’ which some days you are not
  • L is in ‘lower school’ when you thought sixth formers were hot
  • M is Monday assemblies, the only thing the entire year thinks is shit
  • N are the notices which make the assemblies such a hit
  • O is organisation which… wait, I’ve lost my notes
  • P is for school pond, where there really should be boats
  • Q is in ‘quiet’ which the quiet study room never has been
  • R is in ‘year seven’ when we were really keen
  • S starts off ‘sleep’ which we very rarely do
  • T are the teachers who are actually humans too
  • U are the uniform rules that have haunted us for years
  • V is the vast amount of bullshit we’ve sometimes put up with from peers
  • W is for websites used to hastily gather information
  • X is in the phrase “surely that doesn’t need another explanation?”
  • Y is for “WHY ME, GOD?” a frequently-asked school-based question
  • Z is for zoo, the place to which we might actually return with begrudging joy when it’s time for a reunion.

And by zoo I mean secondary school. Please never accuse me of lacking in appreciation for the poetic arts, ladies and gentlemen. It rhymed.

Anyway, happy end-of-school! (Unless it isn’t the end of school for you, in which case happy Thursday.)

Pancake Day! Or, Not.

You know those weeks when you think it’s Wednesday when it’s Tuesday and Thursday when it’s Wednesday and Monday was a fortnight ago?

Yep yep.

I also can’t remember what I wanted to talk about so let’s all talk about Pancake Day (which I thought was either yesterday or 30th March). Last year’s was my first unable to eat two thirds of the ingredients so I had a Lindt rabbit instead but I’ve found a recipe I want to try out which substitutes everything. Also found one for making your own version of Nutella, which is very tempting… I actually think I’m okay with normal Nutella.

I may make some anyway.

Right, favourite pancake toppings: discuss.

(I liked everything. Have individual flavours first then mix everything in one then for the final serving, presuming the mix hasn’t landed on the ceiling, choose your favourite and resolve to make pancakes more in the next year. Never do.)

Oh, and Scotch pancakes. Mmm. If I ever learn to cook in other ways than using a microwave, I might investigate all available types of pancake. Someone’s already done it with potatoes. Mmm, potatoes. Is there a designated potato day? Potatoes are the second-best food possibly ever and they deserve a day. Carbs and vegetables, people, simultaneously. The best food is the humble oat, because they can be manipulated to suit every meal of the day including dessert and they cost a tinny amount relative to their surface area and they cook faster than potatoes in a microwave.

I just read that back and it’s time to go to bed. I sort of want to stay up and think of puns about wild oats. Party oats.

Ruby drew some wild oats in English once. If you’re reading this please know that your face when we explained what the phrase means (as in, when Heathcliff was sewing ’em) is in my top ten senior school memories.

That said, so is the time someone in History thought Osama bin Laden was one of the Beatles.

The Six O’Clock News: a Quick Lesson Borrowed from an Actual Lesson

As I hauled myself out of bed this morning the newsreader bloke mentioned that some higher-up in the EU had spoken out against the British government for spreading “myths” about immigration. I thought a few swearwords that are usually too foul for that time of day except I was late and did not need to hear about it before I had found my slippers (remind me to write a post about slippers). I thought “I better do something on Indifferent Ignorance on the EU because no one knows what in the [swearword] is [swearwording] up with it hey I forgot to draft the Six O’Clock News EU time!” and went to find some Oatabix.

Or something.

Fast forward to fourth period and my Politics lesson was about the history of the EU! So since it’s fresh in my memory and I need to be academic for the betterment of my brain and career prospects, here is a lesson on the EU with some vague relevance to today’s news.

Fun Facts With Frank

  • This thing’s been around almost as long as the papers that ridicule it. First known as the European Coal and Steel Community, it was established in 1951 as a method of rebuilding Europe, which looked something like this when the war ended. It was generally agreed that a good way to prevent another war would be to get bickering neighbours to share wheelie bins, by which I mean that West Germany, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy and the Netherlands all signed over a bit of power (supranationalism, snowflakes) to the ECSC. With no political involvement, it was just a free market for coal and steel, so that war would be, to quote French foreign minister Mr Schumann, “materially impossible”. Basically if countries rely on one another for resources (interdependence), they are less likely to invade one another. Cool huh.
  • Like a decent band, the ECSC evolved over the next few years. NB: Britain hadn’t wanted to join because racism xenophobia miners didn’t want to relinquish control of their mines. In 1957 the organisation’s remit expanded, creating the European Economic Community and the Atomic Energy Community. Ten years later they did (made? Signed?) the Merger Treaty and called the whole lot the European Commission. Still with only six member states, there was growing reticence – word of the day, means ‘wary’ – about states giving up their power. Sound familiar? Good.
  • In 1973 Denmark, Ireland and the UK joined. Having not consulted the public about joining, a referendum was held in 1975 to see if people wanted the UK to remain in the EC. Sound familiar? Good.
  • 1979 saw the first elections for members of European Parliament, which had not previously occurred because who needs democracy an every governmental level. Interestingly, Spain and Portugal weren’t allowed in until the eighties because until then they had dictatorships…
  • Allowing more free and standardised trade, the Single European Act was passed in 1986, expanding the process of the easy peasy wheelie bin sharing with the neighbours. Germany unified in 1990 and in 1992 the Maastricht Treaty was signed, which further expanded the remit and lead to that shining example of excellent currency, the euro.  It also made the whole organisation more political and renamed it the European Union.
  • As of 2014 the EU is home to 500 million people (that’s more than in the entire USA, folks), 28 states and 24 official languages.

Here is a mildly inappropriate loop video of politicians dancing to help you digest that information.

Now, you will all hopefully be aware that lots and lots of people like to say “what in the name of Mr Johnson’s dancing does the EU do for us absolutely nothing those immigrants just want to take our jobs and cash and housing and they don’t even integrate let’s send them back where they came from who cares if they came here smuggled under a coach we don’t want them taking up our school places and giving the kiddies Eastern European ideas blah blah etc. etc.”

But ladies and gentlemen, Vivian Reding is totally right about political rhetoric! I’m not sure how right in terms of legal stuff because I’ve only done one lesson, but if you can’t see past the political hand-waving or tabloid crap pertaining to immigration then a) you need to learn how and b) you probably shouldn’t have read this far because I probably can’t change your mind. But have a wee look back at that list. The EU was formed in order to help Europeans prosper. Or at least not kill each other. The recent influx of Eastern European nations is due to the fact that for the majority of EU history they were part of the USSR, which wasn’t really pro-Western trade. In terms of GDP, EU is the richest area of the world, so the prosperity idea seems be if not succeeding then not failing. Plus the migration thing works both ways. Imagine you were to go on holiday to, say, Greece. You meet a nice guy and decide to stay and open a bar there. You could. Unless you were a convicted serial killer or something anyway. Remember those E111 cards you’d get on school trips to the trenches? They give you access to free or almost free healthcare in the EU, Lichtenstein, Switzerland, Iceland and Norway. So if you get sick from a dodgy cocktail in Marbella, you don’t have to pay through your vomit-filled nose to get your stomach pumped.

Fun.

Okay, that’s enough politics stuff for one day. Just do me a favour: when you are next watching the news and some white dude in a suit says something about the EU, think about this: three Members of the European Parliament are Nigel Farage the UKIP guy, Geoffrey Bloom the other UKIP guy who called women sluts and got thoroughly ridiculed by Victoria Coren on Have I Got News for You and Nick Griffin the  bankrupt BNP guy who is possibly even more racist than the UKIP guys. They have been elected because the majority of voters (and there aren’t too many to start with) hear the rhetoric or read the papers, believe the words and vote in someone who will cause a ruckus in Brussels. Which doesn’t accomplish anything except embarrassment.

Happy first week back! If I never blog again it’s because Sherlock broke me.

Internet Stuff and Stuff

What is this ‘school day’?

I wish it would just go away.

Like Christmas has.

And Sherlock will.

Though Christmas will be back first.

With less death.

 Probably.

A few weeks ago I took part in a virtual panel discussion, aka an email, which has recently been published here. Some of my answers got cut, which is good because the published one has less sarcasm but bad because the sarcasm made the pretentious nature of interview slightly more bearable. Basically if you want my whole answers, let me know and I’ll post them.

In the mean time, the Shorty Awards are open for free-and-Twitter-based nomination. There are a variety of awards which are very fun to read through but one cannot nominate one’s own work, so I’m letting you know because an interview wasn’t enough to make me feel super duper about my very important life and work.

Haha, work.

No Site For Weaklings

We’ve started the religious experience topic in RS, and today we looked at proof. Here is an extract of my notes:

  • If someone experiences an entity, then the entity exists. (I have conversations with characters, then the characters exist…)

It took me a few minutes to figure out why Thank You God was playing in my head.

Speaking of characters I want to talk to, one thing lead to another yesterday. No regrets (I had just finished an essay on William Blake, okay, and football was the only thing on TV. Plus there needs to be somewhere in my imagination where di Angelo doesn’t need a hug).

Question: should I have tagged this post not safe for work? Because thinking about it, I should probably tag every Tim Minchin video or even some MCR posts NSFW, for the language and whatnot. But then, is my language crossing the line? What is or isn’t “safe for work”? Surely that depends on your job?!

I mean, I don’t much like censorship, which is one of the reasons I run this thing by myself, and it’s not like I’m one of the people Google’s blocking… I don’t want to get younger readers into trouble for having adult words or links to questionable fan art – but that’s not my fight. I just write this and it’s up to you, reading this, whether or not you read it. If you don’t want to then click exit. If you don’t want your child to read it then click exit for them but please remember that if they like this sort of site (as in, not space bar games or celebrity forums) then they’re probably going to find another way to read.

I don’t label atheism-related posts “GOD-HATING NEARBY, PIOUS PEOPLE BEWARE”, so should I label a link to a drawing of two dudes kissing “homophobes your eyes might fall out”, or “in the movies this would be a 15”? I mean, Perks wasn’t a 15 and Steve Chbosky got in about 85% of the book’s content.

Is it just enough that I say “headphones are a good idea for this song” or to clearly label links? Maybe I should do a little thing on the sidebar: “oh hey I’m a teenager and if you’ve met one of those you’ll know that they talk like sailors and launch very different types of ships”?

(You shouldn’t be reading Indifferent Ignorance at work anyway, although if you can please notify me of your occupation.)

The Ten O’Clock News: ‘The Cruelty of Children’, and Teens, and Adults

I have no idea what the age range of readership for Indifferent Ignorance is (and I’m not looking to find out because that would be creepy) but this Rookie article caught my attention just now.

It got me thinking about school, children/teenagers and the whole ‘social aspect’ of western education. As in, for ten per cent of people it’s great and for the other ninety, at some point or another, it’s shit. It’s also hard to write about a topic like bullying in a general sense because one person’s being teased is another person’s friendly joke, etc. – so I’m wondering: what was your social-school experience like? Was there a particular age that was hard for everyone? Do you reach a point when exams matter more than who’s bitching about whom?

(Yes.)

Seriously though, I’m interested. Has anyone ever run into a school bully in the high street? Were you infinitely more successful than them or were they no longer the fire-breathing tosser of your childhood? Did anyone ever get their own back on someone who was nasty to them? Does anyone have any tips about how to cope with nasty people in the classroom? Do bullies at school grow up to be bullies in the work place? If they’re a shitty adult, is it their parents’ fault for moulding them into a shitty child and letting the shitiness blossom like swine flu in a petri dish?

I’ll start: a few years ago a couple of girls threw paper in my hair over the course of a few lessons. Eventually they got bored. I sometimes wonder if I would ever have retaliated had they not stopped. They did not get back into my sixth form and I doubt anyone misses them particularly.

Now it’s your turn!

The Six O’Clock News: Back to School

Since this is most readers’ first week back at school (shout if you’re in another country though, or not a student!) I thought I’d do something on school, new terms, starting afresh etcetera.

Back to work: 10 Worst Things About Post-Holiday Blues

I love how sarcastic this Sean Coughlan guy is. One of my favourite least-favourite things about coming home from abroad is how strange the locals seem. I kind of forget what a smartphone is and think that it’s totally normal to wander around in the equivalent of my underwear, waving to people I only know vaguely. Not in Essex. (Well, maybe the first one for some people.)

Back to Reality

This essay was written for the girls’ online magazine Rookie in January, but I’ve always thought it useful for general ‘starting over’ so I’ve included it.

Welcome Back to School, Girls. And Mind Those Breasts!

I sometimes struggle with The Guardian, because it sometimes comes out with some bullshit, but this piece about an LA school’s uniform code is interesting. One student’s mother noticed that the new rules were completely based around what girls were wearing (or weren’t wearing) and wasn’t impressed about how they might impact girls’ self confidence. I spent five years wearing a uniform – more three-quarter blouses and tartan than “uncomfortable Harry Potteresque” – that basically didn’t suit everyone equally, so we all looked okay. There wasn’t really much to objectify even when woolly tights became knee-highs (I never wore knee-highs, for the record. They tend to suit people with long legs, but those of us who did wear them didn’t have particularly visible legs because of the hemline thing). Now I’m in the sixth form, the rules are pretty much “don’t dress like you’re going to the beach and/or clubbing.” It’s okay, actually, because I can tell people apart without getting the motts.

Anyway, this parent is irritated that teachers are spending more time telling off pupils for their clothing and reckons that all uniform codes should be abolished. Hmm.

‘Sexy Mandarin’ School Recruits Semi-Naked Models To Teach Foreigners Chinese (PICTURES)

I’m not sure what the LA school would think about SexyMandarin, an online school whose teachers all wear lingerie. It’s quite successful apparently – surprise! – but this has upset a few feminists. I’d be quite distracted by hot models talking to me actually, but if it works…

How has your first week back been? Any funny school stories to share?

Motivational Poster Time!

Today is the last day of the summer holidays so I thought I’d come and say hey before it’s too late I’m too tired to lift a finger I have essays to slave over.

The last academic year was tough, and Indifferent Ignorance suffered a bit because if I wasn’t working or doing physio, I was propped in front of some Original British Drama, drowning my sorrows in whichever chocolaty dessert I could find… I fully intend on enjoying some OBD this year, but the plan is that I’ll do it while I’m ironing, so I’ll miss out on E4/Comedy Central adverts…Adverts ruin the soul.

Come to think of it, most E4/Comedy Central shows probably do too.

Anyway, I found this on the Interwebz the other day and I think it’s far better than the usual Hallmark-y crap that’s usually supposed to inspire and motivate you to climb Mount Everest or whatever:

From bcdn-sphotos-e-a.akamaihd.net (Pinterest)
From bcdn-sphotos-e-a.akamaihd.net (Pinterest)

These days, you know, people appreciate realism, not sunsets and nature stuff.

(Okay I was going to upload a photograph of a sunset that I took in Zante this year but it’s taking ages so here’s one from last year.)

Right, I’m off to find portable coffee cups and refills for my pencil-case.