Thursday, March 09, 2006

I'm just a teenage dirtbag, baby

Tickets for Iron Maiden go on sale next Friday.

When I was nearly fifteen I started going out with my friend’s brother’s friend. He was eighteen, and I thought he was the absolute pinnacle of what a teenage girl could hope for in a boyfriend. He was unsuitable - from his long hair to his ripped jeans, from his motorbike (I use that term loosely – it was a CG125 in middle-aged grey and burgundy) to his job on a pig farm. His parents were well-off and owned a sprawling farmhouse in rural Oxfordshire, and he was happily rebelling against going into the family roofing business. I presume his parents were happy to indulge him for a few years, secure in the knowledge that the threat of no inheritance would steer him back onto the right track at some point. When he wasn’t parping sedately around on the CG, he would use his rusted-to-within-an-inch-of-its-MOT Vauxhall Chevette (which had its wings stuffed with newspaper and weatherproofed with parcel tape) to visit me in rural Essex. He introduced me to dope, cheap cider, motorbikes and rock music. As you can probably imagine, my mother hated him. This was a huge part of the appeal.

When I was fifteen and a half, our relationship was abruptly curtailed.

We’d spent the summer hanging around with a huge group of friends. We all camped out most weekends in a field on the outskirts of the village, riding knackered old mopeds around and smoking huge joints. On the weekends that my friend’s parents were away, all sixteen or so of us would stay there instead. We’d eat the place bare, have sprawling, rowdy parties and engage in panicky clean-ups the day they were due back. One memorable weekend, someone managed to spill a five litre tub of emulsion down the stairs (they were the ones with gaps in between [I don’t know what the proper word is] ), covering stair-carpet, hall carpet and a very surprised dog in white-with-a-hint-of-peach. That took some clearing up, but we got away with it*. I loved that summer – things at home were very bad indeed that year, and any chance of escape was seized upon.

When it all fell apart, it did so in style. I’d been to stay at Boyfriend’s parents’ house for the weekend. Well, that was where I was supposed to have been staying. In reality, one of his friend’s parents had gone away and we were staying there. In a fit of teenage pique (which if I’m honest was actually a total crisis brought on by the circumstances at home) I decided I wasn’t going back. I rang my mother to tell her, and she flatly stated that if I wasn’t home by the Tuesday morning I would come home to find all my things on the doorstep. I didn’t care. Really. However, my mother subsequently panicked and went through my room to find a contact number for Boyfriend’s parents. She found it, along with some, ahem, revealing correspondence and all hell broke loose. We were tracked down by his sister and hauled before Boyfriend’s parents. Six o’clock the following morning saw us hurtling back to Essex in the Chevette to face the wrath of my mother. It was not pretty. I was consequently grounded until my sixteenth birthday which was a whole six months away. During these six months, a different group of friends (and, in retrospect, a more suitable one) were going to see Iron Maiden in concert and I’d been really, really looking forward to going with them. I didn’t though. Oh no. My mother spent three weeks threatening me with being put into care, being sent to live with my father (he declined, unsurprisingly) or just being kicked out. Anything would have been preferable to the house arrest I was placed under when, having been allowed out for a couple of hours on a subsequent Saturday I met up with Boyfriend, was grassed up by a neighbour and ended up being kidnapped by my own parents from outside the corner shop. Seriously. The car screeched up, I was bundled into the back and taken home, whereupon my parents announced that they were going out for the evening. So they locked all the doors, locked all the windows, removed all the phones and did exactly that. I contemplated setting the house on fire to make them feel guilty** but decided that was a bit too drastic, even for me. I (grudgingly) rode out the remaining months of my grounding, and paid them back when I was sixteen and allowed out again by promptly choosing an even more unsuitable boyfriend. They upped the stakes considerably by simply moving to the next county and not inviting me to go with them, and so began the really eventful years.

I’ve still never seen Iron Maiden. Whenever anyone mentions them playing live it reminds me of the story I’ve just told you. And you know the worst part? The very worst part? It was eighteen years ago. Eighteen. Years. Ago. I work with people who weren’t born when this happened. So, I am very much looking forward to being one of the old gits at Earls Court in December. And I can’t think of a better way to see them than in the company of the Other Half. Bollocks to being fifteen. Being fifteen was fucking rubbish. Nearly thirty three is way, way better.

* We got away with a lot. I dread Small Person becoming a teenage girl, and will never, ever leave her alone in the house for more than half an hour at a time until she is twenty four thirty seven and has learned the value of other people’s property.

** What?? I was fifteen! Don’t tell me you never thought about setting the house on fire.


Anonymous kyahgirl chimed in with...

you were a typical teenager where I come from sg.

Let's compare notes on our daughters. What do you think is a reasonable age to begin dating? 24?

09 March, 2006 21:03  
Blogger Fifi chimed in with...

You are right Surly Sis, in fact all teenage years are pretty crapulous.
Mine were safe and boring and 'happy' in comparison (natch)but I was still effing miserable! x

09 March, 2006 21:11  
Blogger Fifi chimed in with...

My girls are having no contact with boys till they are 31.

09 March, 2006 21:13  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

kyah - i think i may have specified thirty seven. it seems reasonable to me.

fifi - xxx

09 March, 2006 21:23  
Blogger Sherbert chimed in with...

Surly, have a fucking good time - it's been well overdue and I'm rather envious.

09 March, 2006 21:37  
Anonymous kyahgirl chimed in with...

well, you specified 37 as an age by which you might expect her to understand the value of other people's property so she will be allowed to have a house party perhaps.

I'll let mine start at 24 and see how we get on. That is, if I can convince her father to but the big menacing gun back in its lockup.

09 March, 2006 21:51  
Anonymous Whinger chimed in with...

It is certainly ambitious of you, given your past history in getting to attend their concerts, to announce going to a concert in December.

One can only hope that the next nine months are not a slippery slope of unsuitable boyfriends, brought on by the excitement of the event.

09 March, 2006 21:57  
Blogger First Nations chimed in with...

oh my god. have you stolen my teenagerhood?
yes. but actually thats ok; you can keep it.
have a righteous fuckin' time at the concert, man! rock on! smokin! *shoots horns, holds lighter overhead*

09 March, 2006 23:55  
Blogger Spinsterella chimed in with...

Iron Maiden are one of the best live bands I've ever seen (at Reading last year) and I'm not even much of a rock chick.

Worth waiting 18 years for...

10 March, 2006 07:34  
Anonymous Other Half chimed in with...

I first saw Maiden in 1979 and then on pretty much every UK tour until they lost Bruce Dickinson in 1992. That means it's nearly 15 years since I last saw them too so a return to those Wasted Years is well over due (subtle IM reference for all those in the know).

Oh and Whinger...I am the only unsuitable boyfriend SG will have from now on !!!

10 March, 2006 08:46  
Blogger crisiswhatcrisis chimed in with...

Damn, it's almost uncanny. I did the hair, silly little motorbike, Maiden, rusty car, oxfordshire farm, party, field thing almost exactly as you describe. It would have been a few years earlier. Because I'm old.

10 March, 2006 09:09  
Blogger the Beep chimed in with...

And me. Except it was Hampshire. And 250cc. And a Hilman Hunter. Otherwise, could have been me. Oh, except I've only (knowingly) been to Essex once.

10 March, 2006 09:15  
Anonymous Piggy and Tazzy chimed in with...

I was a fire bug when I was a teenager too.

That is, until I set fire to some plastic and while watching it 'drip' one of the drips landed on my leg.

Fuck, it hurt. And so ended my fire-bug days.

I always hated Iron Maiden though.

10 March, 2006 12:57  
Blogger patroclus chimed in with...

*is secretly terribly envious of SG's rebellious teenage years*

Remember to get the tickets as soon as they come out. Don't want anyone else to go through my recent self-inflicted Calexico-disappointment fiasco.

Which nevertheless now seems to have been rectified, hurrah!

10 March, 2006 13:01  
Blogger mig bardsley chimed in with...

I really enjoyed reading that.

10 March, 2006 13:41  
Blogger Dale chimed in with...

Hi SG. I'm here via Crash 'n Donna. My daughter is nearly 14. You've given me hope. Enjoy the concert.

10 March, 2006 15:08  
Blogger funny thing chimed in with...

I set fire to a field by accident when I was about 10.

I think SP should be sedated until child benefit draws to a halt, when she should then be trained up and sent out to clean chimneys to earn her keep.

10 March, 2006 16:15  
Blogger Geoff chimed in with...

I saw Iron Maiden 26? years ago at a cinema in Gravesend, supported by Praying Mantis. I went with my friend, my friend's seven year old brother and their dad. They had usherettes who must've been in their late sixties who sold us ice cream in the intervals.

"A tub. I SAID A TUB!"

10 March, 2006 17:09  
Blogger frangelita chimed in with...

Wow, your childhood was a lot more eventful than mine. Although I did get banned from one of my friend's houses and parents vehicle for about two years after throwing up both in her front room and her car on separate occasions. I'm sure SP will be more sensible though.

10 March, 2006 18:50  
Blogger Jemima chimed in with...

a) I've seen the Maiden. Briefly. At Download, but had to go about 2 minutes in because of catching a train from Derby station. I remember what the crowd was doing more than the band. Moving as one arms-punching-the-air mass. Missed them at Reading on account of young people flinging things at my head, lack of sleep, fear for my life, weepy weepy IWANNAGOHOMENOW problems. Might be a good source for writing, that one.

b) As for children, I'm going down the arranged marriage path, although I can't cope with the thought of anything male ever going anywhere near my girls, so I've told them they're both lesbians, and a mother deciding is the usual way these things get worked out.

c) fifteen was agony. I hope there's no such thing as reincarnation. Couldn't do fifteen again. I wonder if my acting up and lack of regard for personal safety had anything to do with domestic crises. Hmm.

10 March, 2006 21:10  
Blogger bedshaped chimed in with...

Taking the years into consideration, I wonder if they will now be singing "Bring your Grand-daughter to the slaughter"?

10 March, 2006 21:17  
Blogger rockmother chimed in with...

Well it is never too late to rock out and I really think you should go. As for being fifteen - I sympathise - shit shit years especially with nightmare parent. I had a similar time and was grounded for the whole of the summer holidays as I pierced my ears age 15. Absolutely ridiculous. I was also banned from talking to any friends. I might as well have been in prison. I hated my mum for that. She even opened and threw away letters from my best friend. That was a tough summer. I too rebelled by going out with the most unsuitable types - which carried on pretty much up to my early thirties! I've got over it now but actually feel like I've never quite forgiven her and want to make sure that I would never do that to my SP. Get those tickets!

11 March, 2006 08:52  
Blogger Moo chimed in with...

I have never thought about setting my house or anything on dad once set his school alight when he was 14 and the consequences were well serious! I think it scared me not to ever even think of it!!

11 March, 2006 16:22  
Blogger Bela chimed in with...

I was 15 a very long time ago (43 years to be precise) so, you know... I never thought of setting the house (or rather our small flat) on fire. I wasn't allowed out anywhere on my own. I was a rebellious teenager, but it never occurred to me to rebel against that. Weird.

Ah, that reminds me: you've been tagged. :-)

12 March, 2006 04:54  

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