Despite a secret soft spot for Queen, I was probably an Indie girl. Never really understood dance music, or generic teeny pop. I was sad to have missed out on Nirvana (Foo Fighters just couldn't make it up to me). I looked up to people who said they liked the Pixies.
I like to think I was a Manic Street Preachers fan from their very beginning. The harsh truth is that I only properly discovered them in their Design For Life era, and got into the back catalogue subsequently. Ditto for the Stone Roses. I never really got on with either Blur or Oasis, that whole feud passed me by. Pulp were more my cup of tea, with a side helping of Weezer's Sweater Song or Ash's She Said. [IMPORTANT editorial correction - turns out She Said is by the Longpigs. But I did like Ash too, promise!]
Acne was a near-constant companion. I had it bad, mainly on my chin. On good days the spots were red, angry and pus-filled. I tried everything my GP (and the magazines!) suggested, with no effect. Eventually, in the summer break between leaving school and starting uni, I was referred to a dermatologist. I was given a course of Roaccutane. This is a powerful drug, with some crazy side effects, but it WORKS. My skin cleared up in less than a fortnight, ready to start uni acne-free. It was a fresh start, but I have always seen myself as that spotty girl.
I have always been fairly ridiculously tall. It's not as noticeable now I've piled on the baby weight, but as a stick-thin young teenager I stuck out.
And, as if being a spotty, skinny, freakishly tall teenager was not enough - GHD hair straighteners had not yet entered my life. So mad frizzy hair topped it all off.
Everyone needs a teenage gang, even if the main inclusion criteria is being a fellow misfit, bandying together for strength and solace. I accepted fairly early on in school life that I was never going to run with the popular crowd. I spent a few years during a particularly awkward phase spending a lot of time either hiding in toilet cubicles or pretending to be walking somewhere important. But by the time I was 15 or so I had a small group of good friends who had somehow managed to track me down. More boys than girls, but let's face it - teenage girls are the pits. It was a small rural town and entertainment options were limited. So before we could blag our way into the pubs, I remember a lot of time spent hanging out at the reservoir / hosting an "empty" / staring at the stars / persuading our respective parents to let us go to gigs in Glasgow. I'm sad we have drifted apart over the intervening years, but I remember my teenage friends with great affection and am always pleased to hear from then even now. We shared everything - first kisses, first smokes, first hangovers, first love. Our thoughts on everything, from the meaning of life to just how unfair our parents were. We were open, naive, confident one minute and crushed the next. Grown-up friendships, with all the niceties and conventions, just aren't the same. I miss the gang.