The Very Metal Diary Of Cleo Howard

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June 1997


Sunday 1st June

Mum made us corned beef hash for dinner, with Viennetta for pudding. I ate not much dinner and loads of pudding. Jenni had never seen corned beef before she came to our house. It’s not one of my favourites but I do like opening the tin with the little key. Mum keeps the little keys in case she ever gets a cheap tin of corned beef with the key missing.

Monday 2nd June

At school today Donna asked Miss Douglas if it’s true that doing loads of P.E. makes you a lezzie? I wouldn’t mind if I was one, but I’m fairly sure I’m not, but, until I’ve actually done it with a man I won’t know for sure.

Dilemma for me and Jenni from Ian: Would you rather be used for your body or your brain? Ian and I said body, Jenni said brain.

Tuesday 3rd June

Everyone at school is wearing the same top from Miss Selfridge. These people are sheep. It’s a blue T-shirt with a red heart and a thick white outline, so it sort of looks like tie-dye. There were three people in French wearing it! I was wearing my WASP T-shirt (as usual I’d smuggled it out in my bag and changed at Ian’s).

Wednesday 4th June

Ian and I went to see Betty after school. She made cherry scones for us. We had them with cream and jam, they were so lush. She is definitely the best cook I know. I was trying to open the jam and she said “Righty tighty, lefty loosey”. This is how you remember which way to open things. She is full of actually useful stuff. I bet I’d learn more in a day round her house than I would in most days at school.

Thursday 5th June

Mark Dobbs had a porn mag at school! It was called Zipper. There was a smiling bloke completely starkers on a bike. It was probably a Raleigh Chopper! Mark claimed he found it in the park he walks through on his way to school when someone pointed out that it was a magazine for gay men. Mark Dobbs has previously claimed to be trisexual, meaning that he’ll try anything sexual.

Friday 6th June

I saw a graph I actually understood today. It wasn’t even in Maths, it was in Biology. We were doing respiration and looking at mock exam questions. There was a graph and the usual question, what does this graph tell us? Usually my answer is that it tells us that I’m crap at Maths. This time it was that smoking causes lung cancer deaths. It was just a diagonal line, with years of smoking on the x axis and risk of death on the y axis. Maybe I’m not crap at Maths, just at the sort of weird Maths we do at school. Sometimes if someone else in the class, not impatient Mr Kennedy, explains it to me, I can understand it. Like to remember which axis is the y axis, you have to remember y to the sky, because the y axis is the one that points upwards.

Mum bought me a Spira.

Saturday 7th June

Why am I still a 32A? Jenni is a 34B now. The only way I can get cleavage is by pushing my boobs together. I can’t walk round squashing my boobs together. It was me, Jenni, Ian, Shot, STF, Bob, Lex and Mopey Dick at the Green Man tonight. Mopey Dick moaned that there wasn’t any Lydia Lunch on the jukebox. Shot, STF and Bob have GCSE exams next week. Shot was telling Bob and STF not to worry about them too much and to just try their best. She takes her lucky green haired punk troll with her to exams. Bob takes a packet of Marlboro and touches the upside down for luck cigarette he always creates when he starts a new packet before he goes in and STF’s lucky charm is his Iron Maiden sweat band.

Sunday 8th June

Dad and I went to the Sunday market/car boot sale. The top half of the field is market stalls and the bottom half is a boot sale. He bought me some amazing pink camouflage trousers from the army surplus stall. There was just boring stuff like kitchen roll and fake Power Rangers on most of the market stalls. Almost every boot sale stall had a Chippendales video, an empty Huntley and Palmers tin (these are supposed to be collectable, Dear Diary), at least one Stephen King paperback (all his books are a film, you don’t need to read them) and a copy of Rosemary Conley’s Complete Hip And Thigh Diet book. Mum has this book. I don’t see how a diet can specify the area which weight loss occurs from. I would read Elvira’s Great Big Boob Diet but sadly it doesn’t exist. Ian’s Nan Betty says “If a thing sounds too good to be true, then it probably is”.

We went to Nanny Howard’s. I showed her my trousers but I don’t think she was impressed.

Monday 9th June

I had a dream where I got hit by lightning and my boobs grew! It was like that was my superpower. I’ve stopped smoking.

Reasons why smoking isn’t cool:

1.Not worth getting bollocked for when caught

2.Smells grim

3.Might stop boobs growing

4.Uses money that could otherwise be spent on CDs

5.The graph I saw in Biology has made smokers look like twerps.

Reasons why smoking is cool:

1.Get to hang around behind the Maths block

2.Perfect subterfuge to speak to hot men, asking someone for a light is the most natural thing in the world. Even I can manage to do this occasionally.

Tuesday 10th June

Mum said I can’t wear my pink camouflage trousers to school. I have to save them for weekends. This is ridiculous! I don’t have a school uniform which means basically I can wear whatever I want. My brain doesn’t work better wearing shit clothes, if anything it probably works worse, because of the shame. She should see what some people wear to school. Ella was wearing a low cut halter top last week.

I played the adverts game with Ian. You have to guess what the advert is for and the one with the lowest score at the end of the ad break has to make the tea. I won the first round (I got Coco Pops, Flora, Mellow Bird’s coffee and Felix cat food while Ian only got Mullerice and Pringles) but he won the second round because I didn’t recognise the Sugar Puffs advert fast enough.

Wednesday 11th June

I didn’t buy Kerrang! this week because Bon Jovi is on the cover. I read in Ian’s Metal Hammer that Alice Cooper is playing here in England in July. I asked Mum if I can go. She said no. She says I’m not old enough to go to London on my own. I said I wouldn’t be going on my own, Jenni and Ian would be coming with me. She said they aren’t old enough to go either. She said maybe next year when I’m sixteen. Why does everything have to wait until I’m sixteen? I’m mature for my age. It’s so unfair.

We listened to Gav’s Best of the Undertones album. I wish I was getting some teenage kicks.

Thursday 12th June

Biology was good today. Baggers (sorry, Dear Diary, I mean Mr Bagnell) brought in some cow lungs still attached to the trachea and blew them up with a bellows. It was so much better than the dull stuff with plants we did last term. Jenni stood right at the front today and Baggers let her have a go with the bellows. Baggers asked how a smoker’s lungs would be different and all the smokers in the class stuffed their fag packets further down in their pockets and shuffled their feet and looked at the floor. Since I’m no longer a smoker I didn’t feel uncomfortable.

When Baggers was handing the lungs to the lab assistant to be taken away Carina Norman said “You’d better hide them well in the rubbish, Jenni will be looking for them to suck the blood out”.

Ian and I gave her loads of cut eye but as usual Jenni didn’t need any help and said “I’ve heard you’ve sucked much worse” and everyone started laughing at Carina (except Janine).

I watched my Alice Cooper videos: Welcome To My Nightmare and The Nightmare Returns. My nightmare is that I’m not allowed to go and see Alice Cooper.

Friday 13th June

I wrote a note from Mum excusing me from swimming today. Carina Norman asked me loudly if Aunt Flo was visiting. I didn’t have a clue what she was talking about. Donna Harlow told me after that she meant my menstrual flow, my period. She said some women call it that. Why do we need so many words for something no one wants to talk about?

Dilemma for Ian: Would you rather be caught wanking or listening to Bon Jovi? Ian said this was an invalid dilemma. He would never listen to Bon Jovi.

Harry Hill had Gary Bushell from the Gonads on tonight.

Saturday 14th June

Today is Dad’s birthday. He took me to see Nan. She’d made him a lemon cake. It had tiny little sweetie lemon slices on it, like you get at Christmas in a pack with orange slices. She gave him book tokens. She always gives him book tokens. I gave him a card I’d made and some Brut aftershave. I always give him Brut aftershave. I think men over thirty wear Brut and men under thirty wear Lynx.

It’s sad when we have to say goodbye. I worry about him being lonely, living on his own, going back to an empty place on his birthday. I wouldn’t mind if he got a girlfriend, I understand that people have needs, but I don’t know how to say this to him. When Mum and Dad first separated I didn’t understand how people could stop wanting to be married, but now I’ve gone off stuff that I used to love myself (rainbow legwarmers, ra-ra skirts, tap and ballet classes) I can sort of understand that people change.

I felt tired when Ian and I called for Jenni. She said I should eat stuff with iron in when I have a period. Spinach doesn’t actually have loads of iron in, it has some but there was a mix up with a decimal point and people thought it had more iron than it really did. This sounds like exactly the sort of thing that happens to me in Maths.

The Green Man was crowded tonight. STF, Shot, Ella, Lizzie, T-Reg, Bob and Dazza were all out. They are about half way through their GCSE exams. STF said if he fails he’ll get a job in the factory where his Mum works. Shot says she’ll write graphic novels if she fails. Ella says she’ll become a topless model. Lizzie said she’ll do retakes. T-Reg said if he passes or if he fails he’ll probably become an electrician. His Dad has got a mate who needs an apprentice. Bob said he wants to work with computers and he’ll get a job doing anything with computers if he fails. Dazza said he’ll start his own record label. I hope no one does fail. Everyone except T-Reg and Bob wants to do A Levels but the school will kick them out if they fail their GCSEs.

Shot made us do a toast, to friends and to being in the pub on a Saturday, no matter what we end up doing the rest of the week. When she raised her glass I noticed she is still wearing the friendship bracelet I made her.

Sunday 15th June

Today is Father’s Day. I gave Dad his card yesterday with his birthday card. Jenni and Ian are both busy today doing stuff with their Dads but I’m only allowed mine every fortnight.

Monday 16th June

I asked Mum if I’m allowed to go to the Sunday of Reading Festival. It’s not quite as good as going to see Alice Cooper would be but it does have Metallica and Marilyn Manson. Jenni is desperate to go. She says she’ll even get a job to buy the ticket. Mum said no to me going, it’s too expensive.

Tuesday 17th June

In German we had a visit from some kids that go to the school in Düsseldorf that our school is twinned with. It was a weird lesson. We didn’t have to do any proper work, just talk. A couple of the German boys like metal so we talked to them. Their names are Dominik and Florian. Dominik has shiny black hair. It just escapes being a mullet because his fringe is quite long. Florian has blonde curly hair. At the end of the lesson Mr Webbley invited us all to the school disco being put on especially for the German visitors tomorrow night. Usually nothing will get me, Ian or Jenni to be on school grounds for a second longer than is necessary, but we said we’d go. It’s from seven to nine and is in the hall where we have assembly.

Wednesday 18th June

This morning Ian and I listened to the Scorpions “Rock You Like A Hurricane”. We had a special assembly today. I think our school is showing off because we have guests, in the same way that Mum does. I expect we aren’t allowed to call the toilets “the bogs” while we’ve got visitors. The upper sixth German class sang! They and the visitors sang The Beatles’ “She Loves You” in German. Everyone who doesn’t do German was giggling at the word “dich”. Actually, even people who do do German were giggling at the word “dich”.

It was very weird going to school in the evening. It was so quiet compared to during the day. I feel even shyer speaking in German than I do in English. Luckily everyone stopped speaking German fairly swiftly when the visitors realised that to stick to it would mean an entire evening of being asked the way to the town hall (Das Rathaus, Dear Diary) or being told about our family pets (Ich habe einen Goldfisch namens Mustaine). The German visitors were taken to the Reading Rathaus today and went to the museum. They saw the replica Bayeux tapestry and learnt about the long biscuit making history of Reading. Once we’ve presented these gems we run out of exciting stuff so it’s a good job the women of Reading are beautiful.

The disco was lame (I will not stay in the same room as a DJ who is perpetrating the Spice Girls) so we took Dominik and Florian for a tour round the school. We showed them the Maths block and where we smoke behind it and the sports centre which is the newest bit of the school. We sat on the field and talked about music. They said in Germany they like proper manly men like Bruce Dickinson, Wolff Hoffman and Rob Halford.

Thursday 19th June

I saw a real male nipple today, Dear Diary. After school Jenni and I we went to the park for a bit with Dazza, T-Reg and Ella who had just had a French oral exam. It was really hot and we all sat on the grass and T-Reg took his top off! I’ve now seen him fifty percent naked! I didn’t have a really, really good look because I didn’t want to stare. I wish I’d had my sunglasses with me. I have to stay covered up in the sun because I burn. Jenni won’t risk getting tanned even though she could. A suntan is just not a good Goth look. After a while Dazza and T-Reg had to go. Ella stayed and chatted to us. She told us that she has had sex in this very park! She said once you’ve done it a few times it’s not a big deal. She said her first boyfriend had said to her “If you loved me, you’d have sex with me”. She said she didn’t love him but she was curious so she did. They broke up ages ago and she gets irritable if she doesn’t regularly have sex!

Friday 20th June

I got my period this morning. I felt dizzy and ill all evening. I now have all the types of pain you can get while having a period (bad headache, stomach pain, nausea, dizziness and backache!). Mum brought me a cup of tea and two Feminax. She made me tomato soup for dinner.

Saturday 21st June

Mum fussed about me going out tonight because I felt ill all of yesterday. I told her I was fine but if I wanted someone to fuss over me she’d be my first choice. Her fussing skills are second to none. I’m not going to miss the pub, it’s my favourite part of the week.

Tonight in the Green Man we were talking about what Shot calls the wanking off disparity. She means that girls do it to boys quite a lot but you don’t hear of boys doing it to girls as much.

When Ian walked me home he said maybe boys don’t wank girls off as much not because they are being selfish, but because they don’t know how to do it. I told him this is exactly why girls are only interested in older boys, they want someone who knows what he’s doing.

Sunday 22nd June

I watched my Punt and Dennis video this morning. Hugh Dennis gave me a great idea with his “Wonderpants” sketch. Eureka! Get a Wonderbra! Problem solved. Instant boobs while my actual ones are growing. This is the most genius idea I’ve had since I started changing at Ian’s so I could wear normal people clothes to school and not the navy blue crap Mum expects me to wear.

Monday 23rd June

Mopey Dick high fived Jenni because Echo & the Bunnymen are at number one. It’s nice to see the Goths cheerful about something.

Tuesday 24th June

Ian beat me in the advert game. I didn’t get McVitie’s Fruit Jaspers fast enough. I made us a cup of tea and a roast beef flavour Monster Munch and salad cream sandwich.

Wednesday 25th June

Matty Bateman farted with the noise of a flock of ducks in Chemistry today. He smirked and said “Nobody smoke” (which they wouldn’t have done anyway). Kerrang! has Type O this week so I bought it instantly.

Me and Ian listened to Gav’s Status Quo records. I think “Mystery song” is kind of awesome.

Thursday 26th June

I asked Mum if I could have money for a new bra. She said not until I grow out of the ones I’ve got. I am trying you know! It’s alright for her and Nanny Brooks, they have got massive chests. I’m more like Nanny Howard, short and flat.

Friday 27th June

Maybe Dad would give me money for a Wonderbra if he didn’t know what it’s for. He said he would buy me a ticket to the Sunday of Reading Festival if Mum agrees I can go! I made her a cup of tea and then I asked her, but she said no. For Lemmy’s sake, what is wrong with me going to see a band not five miles away from my house?

Saturday 28th June

Jenni got a black PVC skirt from New Look in the Broad Street Mall (formerly the Butts Centre because it’s near St Mary’s Butts, old people still call it that, Dear Diary, which always makes me giggle). I’m in a foul mood today. Jenni and Ian have tickets for Reading Festival Sunday and I don’t. Jenni and her brother Bruce are going and Ian is going with them. Jenni’s Mum said she doesn’t have to get a job to buy her ticket. She’d rather she concentrated on her school work. They just bought her and Bruce a ticket each! Jenni’s parents can afford Sky telly but choose not to have it!

I bought a birthday card for Nanny Howard. Her birthday is on Monday. I asked Mum if she’d like me to write it from both of us. She said okay.

Everyone has finished their GCSE exams.

Sunday 29th June

I mowed the lawn today without Mum asking. I have got to see Metallica and Marilyn Manson, Dear Diary.

Mum and I watched “Oh Dr Beeching!” tonight. It’s a sort of railway based Hi-De-Hi. I wanted to like it. It had a lot of audience laughter but I still prefer Hi-De-Hi because it reminds me of family holidays. I asked Mum again if I could go to Reading Festival on the Sunday, I told her Jenni’s brother Bruce is taking her and that he’s responsible and that we can’t possibly get into any trouble and her Dad will pick us up after and it’s only local. Mum said she’d think about it.

Monday 30th June

It’s Nanny Howard’s birthday so I went to see her after school. It was weird being there on my own, without Dad. Nanny told me that when Dad didn’t see me for a couple of months at the end of last year he was heartbroken. She said it’ll be easier when I’m sixteen and able to make my own decisions. She is so right, many things will be easier when I’m sixteen but it’s still eight long months away.

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