Why do I like it so much?
I find the whole school thing incredibly horny; just putting my uniform on is a thrill, because I know that as Simon Winter I'm going to get such a sore arse, but Simon never sees the trouble that he's about to get into; for all his swagger, he's terribly vulnerable.
I was nothing like him at school, partly because I wore a spinal brace from the age of 14 until I was 17; recently I realised (slightly uncomfortably) that there may be relevance for me that Simon is 14 too. The brace was horrible and a terrible stigma, however much I determined not to let it fuck my life up that thing was never going to be sexy to anyone without very specific fetishes, ones that I did not at all share.
It wasn't just that; my parents were a generation older than everyone else's parents, they listened to Radio Four, my father had actually taught the father of one of my contemporaries (who was accordingly hostile and sneering, the sad little twerp), and I was, by all common standards eccentric, and therefore probably Gay (not that there's anything wrong with that, of course).
I wanted to box, I wanted Doc Martens, I wanted to snog gorgeous girls, I wanted to get caned severely and for it not to make any difference. I wanted to be good at being a teenager, but I wasn't (in point of fact, I don't think very many of us were).
I am determined to enjoy being a teenager before I'm very much older, and if I have to create the right environment to do that myself, that's what I'm going to do.