The Austin Effect

He was the coolest thing to come out of Watford since that scene in the beginning of Kevin and Perry Go Large where they’re in the town centre there.

Better than ginger spice, George Michael and Elton John combined- Austin Jepson was the greatest 13 year old that graced the surface of the earth.

He was in a band, he had a skateboard, he played football, he made jackass videos with his friends where he set fire to cans of deodorant. He made me feel things that only that seat above the wheel on the bus had ever made me feel before.
I used to imagine that Austin would cycle to my house in the pouring rain across Watford and throw stones at my window to get my attention. I’d look out and see him, rush downstairs past my evil mother (who doesn’t understand me and wont let me listen to Greenday in the car) and I’d run outside and let the rain water soak through my socks and it would be amazing. We’d probably even snog… with tongues.

He may have only said 4 words to me but I was definitely in love.

I probably invited Austin Jepson to every birthday party of mine between the ages of 11 and 17. And judging by my persistence, and personality, and every 80’s coming of age film, you can tell that I wasn’t top of his party list. And he never came. To any of them.

The one I remember most clearly is my 13th. Where I hired a hall for 100 people and 10 people came. Austin Jepson, as you can probably imagine, was not one of them. In fact, its safe to say that if I had been given a choice between Austin Jepson coming to my party and ALL OF MY LIMBS, it would still be Austin.

10 years pass with new hair styles, braces, boys and bad political rebellions.

And then one October I bump into Austin Jepson at a gig in Camden. He asked me out for a drink and I couldn’t make it and was about to away for a few months with work so invited him to my birthday drinks at a Weatherspoons. It wasn’t my actual birthday and all of my friends were pretty skint so I didn’t really expect anyone to come.

But Austin Jepson did.

Not only that, but Austin Jepson cycled across London in the pouring rain to come.

And he was alright.
He works in recruitment.

It wasn’t until the next day that I noticed, while my socks were still damp with rain from old shoes and a non central-heated flat, that it felt like yesterday that I was staring at the back of Austin Jepson’s head in science.

And yet if I went back to a 13 year old me then and told her that Austin Jepson comes to her 23rd birthday and he’s not all that, I would have never believed me.

Even more so if I’d told her that I blossom at 18 and Austin goes out of fashion for you about the same time that that tattoo of yours will then I would’ve believed me even less.
Regardless of how we feel right now I can promise you that we won’t feel the same way in 10 years time.

Whether that’s heartbroken, or lost, or lonely, or gutted that breaking bad has ended, or feeling like you’re life would be so much better if you had those doc martens, or worrying about that project that’s not really happening for you, or stressing about bills, or friends or boys or girls or just completely wondering what the hell it is we’re doing with our lives we will not be feeling that specific feeling in that specific way in ten years time.

Well maybe we’ll will still wonder what we’re doing with our lives but we’ll have probably figured out by then that it doesn’t really matter unless we’re happy.

Things that seem unachievable will one day seem like nothing.
Things that we thought mattered, one day, will not.
There is always time to change and learn.

And perhaps by the time I reach 33 I’ll stop finding men attractive because they set fire to deodorant cans.

There’s always time.

*extract from Clerke and Joy’s Tips for the Real World


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