The Nostalgia Series: Going to School in London

Recently I’ve been reflecting on what growing up in London was like and thinking maybe school wasn’t that bad after all. Endless jokes, summer holidays, being with your friends all day – all whilst finding yourself and growing up. So, let’s go back and remember some of things we used to do in school.

(Obviously I’ve said this is for schools in London because that’s where I’m from, but if you lived outside this could still apply to you too).


Pink Hair Gel

Slicked Hair – Remember when girls used to slick their entire side fringe to the side of their head? Yeah me too. It was a strong fashion statement, usually sported with some attitude and cubic zirconia earrings. Some even did swirls and added diamantes for a more sophisticated look. Pink’s Gel shares were booming – I’m sure of it.

Nike Just Do It Bag

Nike Just Do It Bags – After starting Year 7 with a bag bigger than an EasyJet cabin bag, this somewhat iconic bag had London’s schoolchildren hooked between Year 8 to 10. With a colour for everyone, the brand even released an edition where you could rep endz (North, East, West and South) – such a clever marketing plan. Anyway, your books ended up curling at the edges, you probably customised it with marker pens, and by Year 10 or 11, you’d given up with a bag completely and just started coming to school with a pen.


Kickers Shoes

Kickers –  Again, a popular choice amongst us all! Everyone had a pair of these, whether you kept them fresh with the laces clean or you were that guy whose pair were leaning after too much football at lunch and your Mum refused to buy you a new pair (yes, you…). Teachers used to get stressed if the laces and stitching wasn’t completely black – you’re ruining my swag Miss.

Tom Myspace

Bebo/MySpace and Piczo – Maybe we shouldn’t remember this one, it included embarrassing tag names, messages and pictures. People owning your pictures, making sure your Top 10 friends were elite it was a crazy time. Adding ‘Do You Mind’ by Crazy Cousinz ft. Kyla to your MySpace profile complete with customised layouts and pictures meant you took the game seriously. This was sometimes completed in ICT.

Kit Kat

The Apprentice – There was always one guy with a supply of freshly baked cookies or doughnuts from Sainsbury’s, Lucozade’s, Kit Kats and other munchies that would keep your break interesting. He would sell them from 50p upwards, making him unbelievable profits – a true grinder.

School Playground

Lunch – This was an amazing time, an entire hour to catch up with your squad on everything. Each group had their designated areas of the playground, some boys played football and some of the girls would watch whilst wondering why he hadn’t replied to their MSN message last night. If someone was running it meant that there was a fight happening, and you’d better start running too.

KA Pineapple

KA – Remember when it used to cost 39p? Yeah, it was a staple to many people’s diets. Whether it was Karibbean Kola, Grape, Fruit Punch or Pineapple – there was always someone with a KA. Always.

School Planner

Journal/Planner – a place to keep your timetable, what homework you had due and any exams. Your form tutor expected you to get your parents to sign it every week, little did they know you had become an expert in forging your Mum’s signature.

Fried Chicken and Chips

The Chicken Shop – Whether it was Dixy’s, Favourite’s, Morley’s or Sam’s, this was the spot after school. People often opted for the 4 wings and chips combo often costing £1.99 or a delectable chicken burger for £2.99. Still baffled at how it’s so cheap and tastes disgustingly good.

MSN Messenger

MSN – This was the motive after a gossip-filled day at school. Waiting for your crush to come online so you could ask them numerous “wuu2?” numerous times, even though it was nothing interesting. Nudging, customised usernames and status with colours and fonts – if your status wasn’t Busy or Appearing Offline you weren’t prestige enough. Syncing your music to your status also reaffirmed how cool you were – no dead tunes please.

Sony Ericsson W810i

5 Day Pass – Everyone had this – top up £5 after school and text T-Mobile to activate your unlimited calls and texts for FIVE whole days. You used this wisely, planning motives, calling your babes and spending hours on the phone…what a time to be alive. RIP.


BBMPING!!! We all signed out of MSN for the last time and never looked back (when was that???), but BBM came around and it was lit. A phone for business professionals, school kids were running with Curves and Bold’s like it was the best thing ever. Broadcasting your friends pin and only sending it to them, dramatic people that used to put a black/blank display picture after a stressful day at school. Don’t forget ScreenMuncher and how many lives that ruined. Some people got creative and added slee(don’t)ping to their status – pure genius.

When they paused its services during the 2011 Riots, it actually felt like the world had ended.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading this and if I missed anything or want to add something else, tweet me at @franklycasey.


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