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Bully Fuel


John Matrix

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So it’s fair to say I was on the receiving end of a fair amount of bullying through secondary school – and whilst mine was for fairly run of the mill reasons, looks, height etc, there were some pretty clear thresholds which, if breached would condemn you to a lifetime of torment.  Essentially, some kids didn’t do themselves any favours.

 

I’m sure many of these were universal, there may have been localised things in your area but rest assured, if you were to show up to school with any of these, you were done for..

 

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Happy Shopper. 

 

Didn’t matter what.  Can of Happy Shopper coke, bag of happy shopper crisps, take your otherwise expensive lunch to school in a happy shopper carrier bag.  TRAMP!  For life.

 

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Shit trainers.

 

Remember around the emergence of Jordan’s when Basketball boots were all the rage?  I thought I was relatively safe in my new white Hi-Tec high tops.  Nope. “Alright Hi-Tec? You fucking TRAMP!” I’d hear most PE sessions.  To this day, I claim the moral high ground in that Hi-Tec were at least, in the upper echelons of shit trainers – suffice to say I breathed a huge sigh of relief when a new kid turned up for PE wearing Nu Beat velcros.

 

At my school, you’d dread ever forgetting your trainers for PE as lying in wait for you were a pair of Dunlop Green Flash.  Pristine white in their heyday, these were the colour of an adolescent’s bed sheet.

 

Trousers too short. 

 

I couldn’t find a picture to illustrate this one, presumably because no one has ever allowed their photo to be taken.  A classic symptom of hand-me-downs/poverty, trousers which were too short, usually amplified by the wearing of white multi pack tennis socks from the market was equivalent to a death sentence.  To this day, hearing it referred to as “British Airways” always makes me giggle.  I think it goes without saying, short trousers meant you were one thing and one thing only.  A TRAMP!

 

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Spliffy Jeans.

 

Every mufti day without fail, some poor sod would turn up in their Spliffy jeans.  The poor mans Eclipse - which of course, made you a TRAMP.  There was absolutely no leeway with so many of these things.  If you couldn’t afford the proper stuff, and weren’t smart enough to wear non-labelled plain clothing - TRAMP.

 

Fortunately, I never had the pleasure of owning my own pair of Spliffy’s.  I saved up all my money to go and buy a proper Eclipse top from Yanks in Queensgate, only to get there and find the only thing in the shop I could afford was an open ended rasta coloured beanie which tied at the top, I assume around your dreads.  Naturally, to save face, I promptly bought it and left before putting it a drawer for all eternity.

 

Literally any minor misunderstanding ever...

 

It was in walking distance, so a few of us would go round to one guys house at lunch, often because it was cheaper/safer than 'the shops', or on occassion, because someone will have made a compilation VHS tape of stuff off the 'Adult Channel' using his old man's smart card.  

 

Anyway, on one occassion, his mum had left a strapless bra on the radiator to dry - upside down is the key information.  As a result, it looked, to our mid-pubescent untrained eyes, as if they were crotchless knickers and well....that's all the truth you need isnt it?  Suffice to say the poor sod had to put up with years of allegations that his mum was 'filth' on account of her penchant for crotchless knickers.

 

Over to you lot...

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With regards to shit trainers, you got a hiding if you turned up your CICAs or GOLA trainers. Come to think of it, anything GOLA got you a shit kicking when I was at school. Fast forward a few years when it seemed every kid on the planet wanted a GOLA bag.

 

Anyone who came in a Kappa tracksuit was accused of having fleas

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After my Dad left and we were a bit skint, I'd have fucking killed for Hi-Tech trainers. I had Mercury at one point. I don't even know what they are. Worst ever was my Nan took pity on me once and bought me some Pumas. I treasured them but eventually wore them out. What did I get to replace them? Fucking Mercury again.

 

My Mam used to shop at Netto. Not when it became alright but when it was new and only for proper pogs. Remember needing a bag to carry some school work once but all we had was yellow and black Netto carriers. I just walked with it in the rain and it got ruined. Teacher gave me a bollocking but at least I didn't have to carry a Netto bag. I would never have lived that down.

 

My Mam, who was just on a mission generally to have me bullied, bought me a SKI jacket one winter. I can't remember it exactly but It was mainly purple and green with Neon pink and yellow piping. This was after Neon was cool. I left that cunt everywhere. She'd insist I wore it but I'd take it straight off and use it as a goalpost or something. I left it on the field, on the park, on the bus, at school, at my Nans, at my friends, and the fucker would follow me home everytime. I remember thinking I'd finally lost it, took the latest kick-in from my Mam for it and then about half nine at nine some "big kid" knocked on the door and politely handed it over. Every bastard knew it was mine because it was more tragic than when Daphne died in Neighbours.

 

Edit: This sort of jacket!

 

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Looking back, I think I was just trying to get the shit kicked out of me for being a tramp between 11 and 15 — I went through a phase of carrying a big sports back full of an entire set of shit encyclopedias, so I could answer any question I was asked. I also wore my dad's old fishing jacket to school — it was knee length, shit brown, and one of the pockets was ripped off. I avoided the trainers issue by wearing massive Mock Martens, and I grew my curly hair out into a white boy afro. I was also roughly the same weight I am now, and I'm very overweight. To top it all off, on days I didn't bring my sports bag to school with me, I had a Bike (honesty, with a swoosh and everything) backpack that had two threads holding the straps on. 

 

One day, a well-meaning person took me aside and told me I was a fat scruffy embarrassment. Thanks, Mum.

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I got a lot of shit for wearing my rucksack on two shoulders. I had just moved back to the UK and didn't even know that one-strapping it was a thing. Also made the classic new kid mistake of letting a total loser latch on to me which didn't help me establish myself as not a loser.

 

And it all went further downhill from there.

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I got a lot of shit for wearing my rucksack on two shoulders. I had just moved back to the UK and didn't even know that one-strapping it was a thing. Also made the classic new kid mistake of letting a total loser latch on to me which didn't help me establish myself as not a loser.

 

And it all went further downhill from there.

 

I remember there being a campaign to try and prevent kids carrying their bags on one shoulder because it could lead to curvature of the spine, it got news coverage and all sorts.

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I attended a pre-college "under 18's disco" , (which is bad enough in itself), wearing what I thought was top pulling clobber.

 

A pair of smart shoes, smart trainers......

 

........and THIS shirt:

 

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Open at the front of course so you could see the magnificent Guinness T shirt I was wearing, for some reason. Bearing in mind I was 16, and this was to "meet all your fellow students" before turning up at college.

 

I managed to get some attention from an obscenely sized bird, (and not fat, she was like 6 ft 5.......i was the best part of 5 ft 2 at the time), who then told me she had a boyfriend, and he'd seen us dancing.

I was unpopular for the two years I was there.

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Wasnt it NAF NAF that was the actual 'fashionable' brand, and "It's trendy 'onest" what those in NAFFco54 jackets would cling to as a defence.

 

There's a woman on the same bus as me fairly regularly who still wears a NAFco54 jacket, immaculate it is.  I would have expected it to start bio-degrading by now.

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