In which I say 'hey, media, leave them kids alone'.

Printed 27/08/09.

Big news! I don’t know if you’ve heard, and don’t spread it around or anything, but apparently A-levels are, like, totally getting easier. It’s true, I read it somewhere.


Perhaps this is an obvious statement (what would I know, my qualifications are all in whistling and colouring-in), but, er… kids don’t set the exam questions.

There. Hardly an A-grade observation, but I feel it needs to be said. They don’t set the questions, they have no say in the syllabuses, they just potter on and have a go. If they got harder, they’d still potter on and have a go. If they carry on getting easier, they’d still potter on and have a go, but maybe in their pyjamas with their eyes closed.

Either way, and whatever bitter conclusion the grown-ups reach, eternity will still be full of teenagers pottering on and having a go. Some will become lab technicians, some will become nail technicians, and nearly all will at some point drink a bottle of Southern Comfort and be pushed home in a trolley.

Just think of it this way – be they a generation of geniuses or degenerates, the simple fact is that none of them have caused a recession yet. And until they do, in the words of Aristotle: er, shut your faces?

* * * * * * * * * *

With Bravo Family vs Cornwall minus 15 hours and counting, I’ve just arrived home. As I stepped out of the station, I was greeted by a lovely Worthing breeze. “Welcome home!” it seemed to say, in a suitably windy way. But unfortunately, as I’m sure Marilyn would have noted if she’d ever graced our south coast paradise, there is nothing like a Worthing breeze for sending your skirt skywards. And while I’d defend my choice of skirt as definitely keeping me decent at least 86 per cent of the time, knicks-on-show is certainly no way to make a comeback. (Actually, it’s my personal belief that the reason Davison High skirts are made so sturdy and excessive is to protect pupils from unsightly exposure on the seafront).

However, if you think that walking home with my dress round my head might have been a touch peeving, you’d be wrong. Nope, indeed it was gratifying to finally have it confirmed that I have been totally right, all along, to keep wearing black opaque tights for the whole of August. Suddenly the seasonal confusion and heatstroke was worth it. Take that, smug bare-legged non-believers!

No, what was peeving wasn’t the unprecedented bum exposure (when you cried during the opening number of Hairspray the musical, you can no longer feel shame). It was the man who felt the need to pull over, actually pull over, in his car and tell me he’d “had a lovely view”. Grrrrr. GRRRR.

I realise now that my reply should have been, to paraphrase Churchill, something like “Sir, I may have my arse out right now. But in two seconds, I shall be covered again. You, however, will still be a cretinous pig.”

I didn’t, of course. I said something much shorter. But, like my skirt, I think it served its purpose well enough.

* * * * * * * * * *

If the above dig at the Davison uniform seemed in any way resentful, rest assured that a) I really genuinely loved spending my most hormonal years in a sexless sack. It made our secondary education so much less about body dysmorphia and so much more about writing witty poetry in the back of our exercise books. And it was a nice surprise to get to sixth form and discover I had a waist.

And b) I had a chance to make up for it last weekend, when I stumbled across filming for the new St Trinian’s sequel in Liverpool Street Station. Watching Tamsin Egerton, Sarah Harding et al parading in their little mini pinafores made me, in turn, jealous, then wish I hadn’t eaten brownie for breakfast, then yearn for the days of the navy pleated sacks. Once a Davison girl, always a sucker for a heavy cotton cover-all.