Each one of us has a story to tell. Sometimes it’s fascinating, for others it’s heart breaking, and I’m sure for a few it’s a fairytale story of happily ever after. However for most of us, it’s all rather average.
I grew up in a working class Yorkshire town, where nothing major ever really happened. Everyone followed their weekly routine, in the monotonous way that seemed to bring a modicum of purpose. Although my upbringing was certainly priveledged in comparison to that of my childhood friends (“middle-class”, for want of a better term), it was unremarkable. As a family we had our ups and downs as most do – but we escaped the Jeremy Kyle-esque drama and controversy of infidelity, DNA tests, hard drugs and poverty. For that, I count myself lucky, and somewhat sheltered.
I passed my 11+, and attended the local state grammar school, getting all the shit you’d expect from friends. Clever observational quips such as, “posh twat”, “nob jockey” and following the release of Channel 4’s, The Inbetweeners, “briefcase wanker”, despite my lack of briefcase, or having any discernible resemblance to Will. At school, I was by no means the shy and retiring type. I suppose my teachers would put me firmly in the class-clown category, but I certainly wasn’t aggressive or overly obnoxious. I just liked taking the piss, and I was better at that than most of them were at teaching.
I would say I was well liked by most at school, bar some teachers, and certainly well known. I played rugby union for the school, and rugby league outside of school. I maintained a busy schedule, and many different groups of friends, however I was always happy. I never did anything because I thought it was the done thing, or because I wanted to fit in, I did what came naturally to me.
I don’t want that to come across as me being a selfish little shit, far from it, I just naturally had an ability to walk in to a room and get on with anyone, of any age or background, and I loved being around people. I suppose that was the first sign of things to come.
I very nearly didn’t attend university, but thanks to one of my good friends, I submitted applications to a few places, albeit somewhat half-arsed. Amazingly, I was given conditional offers by 3 universities (no red bricks, much to the school’s dismay). I always did well academically when push came to shove, but it was certainly a struggle for my teachers and parents alike to try and keep me motivated. I ended up leaving school with 11 GCSE’s all A-B and 4 A Levels all A-B. Admittedly, that was as big a shock for me on A Level results morning as it was for one of my teachers who hid in the staff room having told me I wouldn’t get a D based on my effort. If you ever read this Sir, I apologise for the frustration caused over the 2 years, but hiding from me? What a shit show.
That left me packing my bags to go to university. I wasn’t exactly moving far, just a short train ride down the country a little. Far enough away to have new experiences, but close enough to get mum to do my washing a couple of times a term. The culture shock didn’t hit me immediately, but those 3 years had a profound effect on my life.