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My Exciting Life In ROCK (part 3): The Freedom Of The Press

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During my time at school I was, it is fair to say, a bit of a show-off. I'd had a TASTE of being famous in the playground with The Masters Of Nothing and wanted MORE. I was a regular fixture of School Plays for my first four years at school until PUBERTY finally hit me like a 4x4 smacking into an orphan but it wasn't long before I was back in action and demanding ATTENTION.

I'd always DREAMT of running a school magazine, having read how about various Famous Authors getting their start writing for their own such periodicals. The fact that those sort of people had gone to UBER POSH Public School where everyone's PATER was either a member of parliament or In Publishing (as opposed to attending Thomas Deacon*'s Comprehensive in Peterborough where nearly everybody worked for Perkins, Thomas Cooks' or Pearl Assurance) did not put me off, nor indeed did the fact that our OWN school magazine only came out annually. Even that had packed in after a couple of years of my being there, so when I got to Sixth Form I decided that the only reasonable response would be to set up a monthly magazine of my... sorry, OUR own, with me, of course, as EDITOR.

Full of righteousness I rounded up some friends and persuaded our English Teacher to let us use the school roto-copier, an ANTIQUE THING which rolled off sheets of paper at an frighteningly fast 10 pages A MINUTE from specially STINKY sheets of chemical paper. I spent many an evening getting all DIZZY on the smell of the Special Tippex you had to use to correct mistakes on my Electrical Typewriter (a Christmas Present cherished by THE ASPIRING AUTHOR) as I typed up the magazine.

I had a FANTASTIC time being in CHARGE, DEMANDING articles from people (and failing to get them, but still) and generally acting like J Jonah Jameson out of Spiderman. The only time my will was THWARTED was in the name of the magazine. It spent most of its time under the slightly dull name of "Write Lines", with only the first issue going out under my preferred name "Deacon's Thing". PHILISTINES! Other than that everything went smoothly with articles flooding in from ... well, from me, as I ended up writing 60% of all the articles, and ended up employing various pseudonyms to disguise the fact.

It all came to a sticky end when we launched a special weekly version for the 1987 election. The first couple of issues were packed with STATS gleaned from opinion polls conducted by me and my friend Melvyn, also reports from the HUSTINGS of our own Mock Election. Problems came with our final issue, however, when we presented a light-hearted look at some of the "remarks" made by various school candidates and members of staff. Our "bloopers" included quite a lot of SWEARING and SEXUALLY DUBIOUS REMARKS from teachers which, in a fit of tippex induced daring, I thought would be FINE.

It only took an hour for us to be called into the offices of the Very Disappointed Head Of English, who'd clearly been BOLLOCKED by The Headmaster for not checking what we'd written before letting us loose on the roto-copier. It was agreed that we could still distribute the remaining copies (not wanting to waste school resources) so long as we BLANKED OUT the offending words in permanent marker. That afternoon passers by were treated to the site of me staggering around, OUT OF MY MIND on the combination of chemical paper and permanent marker FUMES, shouting "I AM CHE GUEVARA!" while all around me vulnerable youngsters held their newsletters up to the lights to try and work out what the obliterated words were.

I'd had a taste of ANARCHY and a sniff of MINOR FAME - I was HOOKED!


* NB no relation to the FAMOUS Mr Deacon of the 1980s... although that didn't stop all the other schools in the area saying so.
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