Part of the language at Wincoll is the word, 'prole'. Follow the hardlink. It is an almost pejorative term, reserved for those with state school backgrounds. I am one of them. And, joining at sixth form, I am extremely set in my prole ways.

The distinction drove itself home when I told someone which school I attended before and was met with 'what the fuck where you doing there?' Being someone who prided himself on being a smart alec, I was speechless as a penguin with an apple stuck in its mouth. Why penguin and why apple? For that you'd have to be a prole. A prole with admitted psychological problems, but I've got them nicely repressed.

So here I am, admidst the people who will change the future, so says the headman. And apart from being a prole, I'm sixth form entrant, which means I get to pay three years less fee. When that fee is well over £19000 per year (at time of writing, 2002), it can be considered a minor blessing. The status of a poor and needy scholar doesn't help that much either, merely halving the grotesque sum needed. To a pauper such as I, that is just on the edge of subsistence.

However, I've found that there is much humour to be found in rolling in my prole-ness: there is nothing more fun than to walk through the school, saying 'alright, guv' in various accents. The responses are worth keeping in a photo album. Now, don't get me wrong here, I'm not saying that Wincoll is a bad place, just that it may be a little secular, like a good mental asylum. People look through the glass, pitying the poor wretches who lie inside, convinced that they are the best. Also, there seems to be types of humour that even the local inmates cannot comprehend, involving, as per usual, hyper-energetic squirrels armed with smoked kippers in a duel to the death.

So there, if you ever happen to go through Winchester, come down and visit, and be ever ready with your lilting cockney: "Alright, guv!"

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