Rupert The Teenager: Surviving Brock College

My hormones stepped up into overdrive. The pale, gingery goddess with crystal blue eyes stared back at me.

My heart pumped in my chest. My body tingled all over with that warm fuzzy feeling. My mind was aghast in a cringey teenage tornado. I even got goosebumps.

⚠️ WARNING ⚠️
The following blog entry is from the perspective of my virginial, awkward teenage self. People who read my blogs often ask ‘why did you do that’ etc, but I am older, wiser, and far more cynical these days.

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This teenage moment happened back in the 2000’s. Our phones weren’t smart and neither was I.

As you have read before, I had decided to become a gothical emo alternative schmuck. A year later from this decision, disappointing facial hair had now grown, and I adamantly refused to shave the fluff. My theory was that if I shaved, it would grow back into a scary full-on man beard I would never be able to get rid of. Hipster was a mere trend-foetus at this stage.

My new life ambition was to become a charismatic and popular rockstar – despite not knowing how to play any instruments and only drinking Watermelon Barcardi Breezers. I was studying at Brockenhurst college – and my goth, I was having a social renaissance.
I could wear what I want!
Well, what I wanted back then was a t-shirt advertising Iron Maiden. Complete with TK Maxx leather jacket and various bandanas. Said jacket was worn so much, I was known as The Fonz around the Hard Brock Cafe. Yep, it was actually called that.
This fashion had replaced the Matalan red fleeces and T-shirts with pressable sound effects (the only clothing I’ve ever worn that came with it’s own battery pack.)
On went the tight drainpipe trousers (with great difficulty), black shag bands and dangling chain then went around my jeans pocket for no reason whatsoever. This infographic pretty much sums me up:

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Each day seemed more amazing than the next. I wouldn’t get told off for not turning up to college! However, GTA: San Andreas ruined my education and I didn’t get the A-Level grades I probably should have got.
Everyone at colleague was friendly. I could even call teachers by their first name!
I had gone from shy wallflower to someone who would just sit next to someone on the college bus and strike up a conversation. I was giddy and no doubts could stop me.  My confidence was growing at a great rate, but my decisions, like my unbeard, were ridiculous.

I aimed to be part of the Goth clique at college. Not by talking to them, but by dressing like them and listening to their music. My logic was that my alternative aura would naturally pull me into their black-cladded, growling ensemble that looked like an economy Lost Boys mixed with the Addams Family. Their leader had nostrils that looked like the arches of a viaduct.

To further my transformation, I decided not to have my hair cut for about 14 months. It grew into an unkept mane with the colour of mocha, of which was wrapped up in a burgundy bandana. My Dad said I looked like Jim Morrison. Looking back I resembled  like a poor man’s Tarzan.

Everyone was banging on about Natasha Bedingfield and Britney, but my dream girl back then was Amy Lee.

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Bring me to life :p

At the time girls were confusing and elusive (this is still true!), yet I yearned for a girlfriend. I would see prancing couples at college, and goopy long haired barons doing handstands on the field, lapping up the attention. I’d think, ‘what is the boyfriend saying that is so magical? What is he doing?’
I lived in a town (New Milton) where the average age was 70 and fun was outlawed. Any women my age were mostly likely pregnant or were aiming towards their first ASBO.

There was Michaela, a girl from Winchester. She was very lovely and talkative, we could have a potential future, but there was one stipulation.
We never actually met.

So in summary, my love life was pretty much dead. Maybe my destiny was a microwaveable Meal for One – or like my once stepfather, order a Thai Bride off the internet.

I went to visit my Nan in Wales, over Easter and we’d just popped to see Auntie Vi. She wasn’t even an Auntie, it was just one of those affectionate terms, like Nan. Vi’s accent was so thick with Welshness her voice sounded like she swallowed a cheese grater.  She always gave me money so I could buy sweets, as would many of my Nan’s friends. I instead saved all these coins enough over the years to buy my own Playstation. My inner businessman started to salivate when any of them got their purses out around me.

On the way back from Vi’s, my pocket now full of well-earned coins, I passed by something that usually escaped me.  I was wearing a grungy black T-shirt with a mud design, the fashionista that I was, with my mocha mullet flowing and my Will-from-Inbetweeners spectacles on.  I saw a ginger girl. She had a slightly pale complexion with ocean blue eyes. She was very pretty, and I think she smiled at me.

Hang on. Oh my god.

I loitered around the town centre, contemplating this rare phenomenon. I later saw her with three African girls perched up near some steps.

“Hi” they said in chorus.

I almost did a double take. Were they speaking to someone behind me? Were they drunk?

Nope.

Girls.

Were.

Actually.

Talking.

To.

Me.

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My Muddy Valentines (Day)

We were stuck in the wilderness. I looked across to my friend in worry. 

There was no escape.

This was not how I expected my Valentine’s Day to pan out…

Let’s rewind to the  year 2014 – a year of self indulgent fame and vanity.

This was represented by  the talent vacuum that is her majesty Kim Kardashian, who was balancing a champagne glass on her photoshopped and suspiciously engineered behind.

When the most famous picture of the year is an ex-pornstar using her bum as a beer mat, you know our culture is about to flat line.

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This image, not the trailer for the new Star Wars that year, allegedly ‘broke’ the internet.

I did the same once, by accidentally dropping some boiling chicken jalfrezi on my dial-up modem.

Anyway…It was Clinton Card’s Day Valentine’s Day.

I was treated and spoilt rotten…

To people’s Valentines Facebook statuses

I was saturated to a nauseous news feed on full of romantic surprises, teddy bears and chocolate hearts. Couples don’t really care how it makes the singletons feel.

I mean, I can’t help that I’ve alienated the female race because I say what I feel and I am rubbish at giving compliments. I was single. Tonight’s meal would likely be in a box with a plastic film.

I was almost ready to go on Take Me Out.

Instead of spending the night wallowing with a sad bottle of Blossom Hill red from Lidl’s alcohol aisle, whilst tucking into a microwaveable lasagna, my friend invited me to see Frank Turner. Frank was performing live in his home town of Winchester.

Who is this Frank Turner I heard you ask?

Frank Turner is a folk singer with some really punchy songs, with a rugged manly look that makes you question your heterosexuality.  A soulful voice combined with the crescendo of acoustic guitars, violins and banjos,  his music makes you want to jump up and dance and spill you cider everywhere.  He is also the only songwriter to unwittingly write a song about me and my big-kid syndrome:

I won’t sit down,
And I won’t shut up,
And most of all I will not grow up

He also has best goatee since Craig David. How can you not like this guy?


We aimed to travel there via South West Trains, despite having to remortgage the house to afford a rail ticket.

However, this was February 2014. Storm Nigel was battering the South, causing some aggressive flooding. It wasn’t quite Kevin Costner’s Waterworld, but it packed some weatherly carnage that caused animals and humans alike to hibernate.

Various beach huts had been destroyed, but it’s OK, they were mostly owned by the rich. Diners at the Marine Restaurant in the town of Milford-on-sea (aka the Black hole of the South) had to be rescued by the army after the  windows were destroyed. Water waded under the tables and shards of glass fell onto their canapés

I would love to read the reviews on Trip Advisor for that night.

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Meanwhile, my friend Tom and I arrived at the train station. Everything was delayed but there was no indication when or if the trains would be running.  It was packed full of people wandering aimlessly around the platform. They carried sad-looking wilted red roses, waiting in vain for a train that would never arrive, to meet up with partners they would never see.

We could wait with them, but we’d get to the gig around Easter time. I didn’t want to miss our date with Frank and his banjo.

We jumped in Tom’s car, the mood was precarious. There was nothing to worry about right, driving in the wild weather? It was like the humorous prospect of Donald Trump eyeing up politics. It seemed like a sinister thought, but nothing would ever come about with it surely?

However, Hurricane Nigel, had other thoughts, and pulled us from side to side across the motorway. It felt like we were the marble in a pinball machine. I was a little worried Mother Nature might scoop us off the A31.

Luckily, we arrived at Winchester’s Guildhall, still vertical.  We enjoyed the support act, Will Varley, who sung ‘The Self Checkout Shuffle‘ which included the lyric ‘there is an unexpected item in my bagging area,‘ no joke.

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I spotted a cute girl to my right, but I was a little bit too apprehensive to strike up a conversation, without alcohol or a waistcoat. She looked at me with a smile, I assumed it was directed at the person behind me.

A little later, I silenced the negative voice inside my head, plucked up my courage and spoke to her. Turned out she was a Mancunian!

At first I couldn’t understand her accent, so I smiled and nodded for a while. She was actually really lovely, we spoke about her love for pasties and how her favorite insult was calling someone a bungalow.

(As they didn’t have much going on upstairs.)

“Can you two be quiet!”

We both turned around like naughty schoolchildren to come face to face with an annoyed old lady , who had actually told us off. We’d be chattering away so much we were louder than the gig itself.  I’ve never been told off for talking at a live gig before, I was quite amused.

I casually asked if she would be my Valentine. (not the old lady, I don’t do well with the fiesty type)

She said yes. I felt quite elated, then felt preposterous for actually asking someone this the first time I’d met them, in the middle of a Frank Turner gig.

We met up a few times after where I learnt more Manchestery idioms such as their national cuisine of pudding – a savory dish. I also learn their odd twist on the tooth fairy (you get vegetables put under you pillow instead of coins.) Also, if your brother looked very different from you, he was quite likely the milkmans .

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Pudding from up North. Yeah I don’t know either. 

I hadn’t noticed I’d spent one of our dates with chocolate ice cream splashed on my face, luckily she saw the funny side.  Sadly we weren’t meant to be, but it was probably be some of the funniest dates I’ve ever been on and it was a funny education about the world ‘up-north’.

Anyway, back to the gig. Without upsetting any more pensioners, Tom and I left and began the journey home. We were navigating the road labyrinth that is Winchester town centre, a place that has more castles than people.

We should have made it home in under an hour. Sadly, the weather had other ideas.

Broken tree branches streatched across the road, which were casually lazing around after being ripped off trees by the storms. Tyres would screech in terror as cars avoided dislodged bits of the countryside. We were really in the back of beyond on the way home as we passed through places with names like Tidpit, Appleshaw and Frogham. I felt like there were no signs of life.

One particular road looked like it was completely flooded.  With no canoe, my friend Tom used his initiative. He drove up the embankment to the left, of which looked like innocent wet grass.  We were gaining momentum across it, but then the wheels stopped. Tom pushed down on the acceleration, where we moved a a few inches, but then the car completely ground to a halt.

We were stuck in the mud, and alone in the middle of nowhere. We were officially trapped in countryside captivity. I swear I heard an owl hoot into the night and a tumbleweed float past.

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Tom tried to floor it as I pushed the car, but it was no use. I pushed with all my might, my hands pressing against the car with hope, confidence and determination. However, my empty promises to join the gym had bitten me in the ass.  All I got was disillusion and achey forearms.

A car approached us from behind, but then abruptly disappeared away again, choosing not to be road Samaritans today.

We called a taxi to come rescue us, but they didn’t seem very helpful about sending a car out to the middle of nowhere in a stormy season, so they told us to wait. Being the countryside, the Internet did not yet exist and we knew no numbers for the AA or RAC, not that either of us was a member. Instead we sat huddled in the car, hiding from the gusty winds and animal howls in Emmerdale- county.

We hopped out to see any signs of life. We traipsed across the mud and I saw an abandoned barn. It seemed like a nice place to wait diligently for the possible taxi to arrive. My friend proceeded to get his suitcase out the car, worried some nefarious flood bandits might try to break into the car overnight. To me it looked like he was contemplating this barn as a new holiday hotspot!

Two lights suddenly blazed through the country night. We turned around to see a car appear behind us and two lads offer to help us out. With Tom attempting to get some movement in reverse, the three of us pushed the car, though the stubborn automobile wasn’t going anywhere quickly. The lads came up with the idea that putting car mats underneath the tyres would gather some much-needed friction and traction.

We put them underneath, and we gave it another go. We pushed and pushed and pushed some more (this sounds like a pregnancy)  and I suddenly felt cold, wet mud spatter across my face. Flecks of mud were going everywhere, hair,  my clothes, my mouth… but I was so jubilant I couldn’t help but wear a smile on my face. I’d never been so happy to feel mushy car earth decorating my face – as I knew this must mean the car was moving.  We pushed it all the way back to the road.

Thanking the guys, Tom drove through the flood, of which turned out to be barely deep at all. In fact, it may have given the car a nice little wash after it’s muddy excursion.  As we drove home, we saw the Taxi coming the other way. We had completely forgot about them!

We stumbled across another flood, but thankfully we managed to avoid it by Tom doing a crafty 3 point turn. I was slightly apprehensive though as behind us was a massive ditch, so I leapt out the car and directed him away from it to avoid spending the evening in the ground.

We eventually arrived in Bransgore and shared beer and reflected over our misadventures.

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It took me a while to clean off all the mud…

Next Valentine’s Day I will stay indoors and safe, I decided.

If I can wade through all the cards I’ll receive.

:p

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Worst Date

Dating.
Just the word dating can make even the most confident human shudder in anguish.  Is anyone mentally ready for the the barrage of awkward icebreakers such as ‘what music do you like? ‘and the anti-climatic classic of ‘so um…. what do you do for a living?

From the pre-date guzzle of a triple vodka, also known as ‘liquid courage’, then to making sure my quirks and bad habits are safely tucked away, I have embraced this romantic ritual to its fullest.

Despite my enthusiasm to find the ‘one’  – dating has not gone according to plan. (In all honesty, I only do it so I don’t end up on Naked Attraction with my tackle out in front of the nation.)  Some dates have been horrendous – and not just the time my date said I facially resembled a terrorist.

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FBI’s most wanted?

Read below to enjoy my surreal experience from 2012. It put me into a romantic hiatus for half a year. I was only brave enough to start dating after I realised I was scowling at loved up couples on Valentine’s Day.

I think I could have been taking a course on how to be assertive.
(Yes I was. Just practicing my learnt assertiveness)

I met a lady there. Perhaps she had been planted by the teacher to see if I had learnt anything assertive from the course. She was few years older, kinda cute, though she had a slightly distracting gap between her front teeth.  I tried not to look at it, but I was slightly transfixed.

She revealed she was a dancer, and I wanted to learn to dance myself, this got us talking. My moves at this point resembled that of a stiff, traumatised mannequin.

After some pleasant interactions, she wanted a date. We arranged to meet for a hot chocolate on a chilly autumn day down Bournemouth beach. I was hot and cold, to quote Katy Perry.

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As we greeted each other, I was able to blame my nervous goosepimples on the cool November breeze. We were rewarded with a cheeky slither of heat despite the sharp weather. We sat in a nice spot in the sunshine.

Things were going smoothly. We rattled off the mandatory date questions. I kept all signs of my refusal to grow up and my only child syndrome hidden away. I decided not to reveal how I leave the toilet seat up frequently or how I repeatedly fail to make my own bed each morning.

10 minutes in, she brought up her personal life. She revealed her recent ex-boyfriend, was a mad, bad and very jealous stalker. This caveman (or future Jeremy Kyle guest) would regularly turn up in her flat, of which he for some reason had a key, and demand her love and affection back. Oh Romeo, where art thou?
He was regularly aggressive. Caveman once broke a wooden chair in frustration. He then picked it up from the floor, pushed her to the wall and then pinned her there using the broken carcass of the chair. How absolutely horrible and terrifying.

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It turned out she had mentioned another man’s name in front of him.

Caveman would also turn up at the store where she worked, completely unannounced. He would rush to the busy desk, dive in, and give her a dribbly snog in front of everyone, staking his claim in front of customers. “She’s mine,” he would announce proudly in front of bemused gamblers. She didn’t seem overly concerned about his odd behaviour.

He recently broke her phone in a fit of violent rage, smashing the screen and transforming it into bitesize chunks. He got annoyed as she was checking the phone frequently, and he was livid she was teasing him about messaging someone. She revealed that special someone to be me!
(It wasn’t a Nokia. They are indestructible. They can literally survive anything. Tarmac, gravity, the apocalypse.)

I can sympathise with people in abusive relationships. I perched on the sand, slightly perplexed about what to say. I decided we should take a walk.  I had to focus on how to do this – Left foot, right foot, breathe, smile. In that order.

This wasn’t my usual first date. Usually they involve my sparkling wit and hoping we will split the bill. Please don’t order that expensive champagne darling. 

The sea air was quite therapeutic as we walked past the pier. She looked around, and told me another revelation in a hushed tone.
She had seen the infamous Caveman!  He was lurking near the Oceanarium. He wasn’t interested in buying a jellyfish keychain or taking a selfie with a charming penguin- instead he was was searching for someone. He looked disgruntled and slightly fuming.
(Like Phil Mitchell does if you take the mickey out of his long flowing hair)


Caveman was out looking for her and he’d gotten wind that she wasn’t at home. She’d mentioned she was meeting a guy for a date and he had gone absolutely livid at this. He was on the warpath. She hadn’t asked his permission to be out and about the house. Especially to hang out with a tall terrorist man like myself.

I looked around. I could see him in the crowd, scanning the promenade for her, like a budget Terminator. He was a big guy, and looked a few sandwiches short of a picnic.
My date put her hood over her head to disguise herself and clung closer to me.

We dived behind the Imax 3D Cinema. Even though it was voted the worst building in Britain, right now it was ugly and big enough for us to hide behind. We darted around the side to refuge to the right of Jumpin’ Jacks.

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I asked what would happen if the Caveman Terminator caught up with us.

“He would hit me first….then he would hit you.”

My heart pounded in my chest. With unwanted adrenaline coursing through my veins, this was not the action I was hoping for.  I couldn’t believe how quickly this escalated from getting a simple hot chocolate. As we continued to walk away, I strode around the car park, almost colliding into a pensioner trying to reverse his Volvo badly.

She peeked around the corner of the Imax. Apparently Caveman was walking with clenched fists into Harry Ramsden’s Fish and Chips. Something was definitely getting battered, I thought. ( I try to crack jokes in tense action sequences like this.)

I began to to walk with a sense of brisk pace. We ended up in the town centre, grinding to a halt near a Weatherspoons. How I wish I was in there away from this, snuggled around a freshly microwaved Chocolate Fudge Brownie and a jug of Woo Woo.

I apologized. I wouldn’t wish a horrible brute like that on anyone. I suggested that maybe she should get the locks changed and call the police.
She seemed fairly indifferent and said ‘Yeah maybe I should.’

I bid her a quick goodbye, then quickly walked away home in case, pondering whether to join the local karate club on the way home.

A few months later, she has listened to me and decided to get the locks changed and called the police. Would you have gone on a second date. Vote below, and read what happens next!

Click for PART 2


The Craziest Valentines Ever
How I Got Catfished By My Best Friend
How I Got Evicted
How To Break Your Heart. 
How To Save Money
How To Tackle Depression
Who Wet My Bed?

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