The Saturday Boy: bullying, love and Billy Bragg

Every bullied teenager thinks they’re alone. But then they hear a song that tells them about their lives. Billy Bragg talks about the writing of The Saturday Boy, and the boy he was when he was sitting in double history twice a week. By Michael Hann.

“But I never made the first team
I just made the first team laugh
And she never came to the phone
She was always in the bath.”

I don’t recall whose was the first boot in my mouth, or who kicked me afterwards, or how many times. All I remember — all I’ve ever been able to remember, since the day it happened — was being followed around the playground by a group of boys who, like me, were in their first term at grammar school in autumn 1980. Then I was on the ground. Then I was being kicked in the face, over and over again. Then I was making my way back to my classroom — the nearest classroom, thankfully — for afternoon registration, my mouth bleeding, my teeth chipped, my eyes swollen from the kicking and the tears that followed. Mick Whelan — the only person I can be sure was among the group that attacked me, and only because we later became an uneasy sort of friends — said everyone took their shoes off before they started on my face. That sounded both unusually considerate, and extremely unlikely. Continue reading