"If Deborah roused herself, or could acquire some enthusiasm or self belief, then she could do well. Instead she has shown little interest or motivation. Disappointing."
Well, fuck you Mr Keer, so-called Head of Art at Arden School circa 1991.
Old school reports are ace, aren't they? Sobering reading in my case. I had a vague idea I was effortlessly successful at school, but it turns out that I was barely average and just good at pulling my shit together at the last possible minute.
"Deborah allows herself to be too easily distracted," says my old German teacher.
"Satisfactory," says Science.
What do you mean, satisfactory? I am a special snowflake and not at all average in most things except English. You bastards.
I was clearly too much of a genius for them to recognise. Probably just intimidated them with my vastly superior analytical skills and intellect. I was pretty sure I knew everything at 15, and nothing they said made any kind of difference. Ah, the misplaced arrogance of youth. I know far less now than I did at 15, and understand even less than that, particularly about people and their actions. I lived my life in black and white and now I'm submerged in so many shades of grey I can barely tell who the good guys are.
It was when I was 15 that my career as a reprobate began. A pretty mild, middle class reprobate, mind. I seemed to get sent out of class a lot in the final year of school. I vaguely recall it was down to my attitude. I can't imagine what their problem was. I bet I was a delight. I also remember being threatened with suspension for dyeing my hair black and having my earrings confiscated on a daily basis. I know, I can hardly believe the depths of my depravity either.
But then again, as I read Mr Keer's damning words 22 years later it strikes me he had a point. And if an imaginary teacher was writing a report for me right now, they might say something disturbingly similar. Hmmmm.