The Skins trailer from four years ago that reminded me of that thing from 18 years ago

I wasn’t writing this blog when the first series of E4’s teen drama Skins hit our screens in 2007, but if I had been, I probably would’ve written about how it bore no resemblance whatsoever to my experience of teenage life.

In many respects that’s probably a good thing. As a teenager, you could’ve locked me in a room for a week with nothing but the complete series of Hallelujah! on DVD and I still would’ve ended up masturbating to a uniformed Thora Hird. Although I doubt you could get ten episodes out of that, and it probably wouldn’t pick up any Bafta nominations.

You might remember the original trailer for the first series of Skins, which depicted a riotous teenage house party taking place to the soundtrack of Gossip’s Standing in the Way of Control. It looked like the last days of Rome, but with more shaving foam and a formidable arsenal of Super Soakers filled with piss and alcopops.

Watching a load of teens vomiting on each other, then washing the technicoloured glaze from their semi-naked bodies during orgiastic shower sessions, made me think I’d missed out as a teen. Is that what I should have been doing all those years ago?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as if I was playing with Hornby train sets and watching Countdown when I was 17/18 years old. But the closest I got to a sexual experience during my teens was on a camping holiday to the Lake District with three mates in 1993. (And no, it didn’t involve a homoerotic game of Top Gun volleyball.)

As four red-blooded single males we were hoping that our lads’ holiday was going to be a blur of beer and women and sex, maybe with occasional breaks for Kendal Mint Cake to replenish our dwindling energy supplies. However, when we arrived at the campsite (I can’t remember what it was called; I assume it was something like The Hills Have Eyes) it seemed ridiculously quiet for the height of summer. There was just us, a family of four from the North East, and a young couple in a tent.

As you can imagine, the collective disappointment was palpable.

Nothing much happened for the first few days of our holiday, except for the owners of the campsite accusing us of letting off fire extinguishers around the place (even though we were completely innocent). And to add insult to injury we couldn’t even shop the real culprit because he had the perfect disguise: he was about 8-years-old and was staying with his parents in the caravan next to ours. He would no doubt go on to become an excellent Skins teenager, just as long as he remembered to always expel a fire extinguish over a girl in her underwear.

Things finally started to look up when, on a typically quiet summers evening, two coach-loads of Czech Girl Guides rolled into camp quite unexpectedly. It was like waking up in my very own Robin Askwith Confessions film, and I naively anticipated finding myself in a variety of saucy situations over the remaining days of the holiday.

Even before the Czech coach drivers had killed their engines, our caravan was engulfed in a fog of deoderant spray. It looked like a special forces assault team had tossed a couple of Lynx Java grenades through the window to smoke us out, but we really didn’t need any encouragement.

We first attempted to harness the Guides’ attention with our skill and athleticism during an impromptu kick-around with a football. But perhaps unsurprisingly, that failed to generate any interest whatsoever. Our second wave of attack saw us walking around the campsite smoking cigars under the misguided assumption that the Guides’ bedrooms back in the Czech Republic were adorned with lipstick-kissed posters of George Burns.

We eventually called time on our futile efforts at wooing the opposite sex and returned to our caravan, where we drank beer, played cards and took it in turns to read the Mayfair and Club International magazines we’d jointly bought at the start of the holiday. We were down, but by no means out.

However, by early next morning, when my mate returned from an unscheduled run (which he’d planned as a third attempt to get noticed by the Czech Girl Guides), he reported that they’d vanished without a trace.

I always felt that the sudden appearance of those Girl Guides was like our version of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man; the physical embodiment of our collective, sex-obsessed thoughts. It took us a whole day to get over the news of their departure.

Why have I told you this story? Because I have absolutely nothing to write about at the moment, that’s why. Still, that’s 800 words in the bag. 800 useless words.

Incidentally, season five of Skins (the third generation cast) started on E4 a couple of weeks ago. In the trailer for the new series all the characters are naked and falling to earth at high speed, as if they’ve just been ejected from an Easy Jet flight at 30,000ft for trying to replicate season one’s house party on board.

Good thing, too. Because if I didn’t get any as a teenager, neither should anyone else.

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8 Comments

Filed under Memories, Personal, Television

8 responses to “The Skins trailer from four years ago that reminded me of that thing from 18 years ago

  1. Bitzi

    Hilarious, Toots. Smoking cigars to impress a coachload of Girl Guides: that image will keep me chuckling for a long time.
    Missing you on Tinternet. Love, Bitz x

    • andytoots

      I was smoking Henri Wintermans Café Crème cigars. I find it baffling that no women were interested in me, given that I exuded such class.

      It’s made my day that this post has made you chuckle. For that reason alone, I’m printing it out and filing it away in my ‘SUCCESS!’ folder. Well, I will do, just as soon as I’ve taken the cellophane off it.

      Thanks for missing me. It’s always nice to be missed, isn’t it? If I can ever remember how to do Twitter again (and be mildly amusing), I’ll come back. I really wanted to tweet about my new blog post, but it seemed like a vulgar thing to do after such a long absence. I have rules! Actually, fuck my rules. I’ll probably have a go at tweeting it. x

  2. Excellent. I can testify that even being quite a naughty teen as I was, Skins STILL bears no resemblance to my life whatsoever.
    Why do none of them have spots? 80% of my friends were spotty & greasy haired.. I had frizzy hair and looked like a stick insect. Pah!

    Anyway, I too have missed you pottling about online, Toots. Come back soon please? x

    • andytoots

      Somehow, I knew that you’d be a naughty teen! ;o)

      Most of the cast from the U.S. remake of Skins look like rejects from a 90210 casting call, so there isn’t a spot to be seen or hair out of place.

      Thanks for missing me! If my Twitter mojo ever returns, I’ll be back. x

  3. Diana

    I remember pitching up at a campsite in Cornwall as part of my Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award when I was 14, and there were four teenage boys of a similar age camping in the same field. In what I can now see was an attempt to impress us, they told us in turn that they were 1) in the SAS 2) racing car drivers and finally 3) the younger brothers of Liam and Noel Gallagher. Brilliant. By contrast your coolly detached smoking and kickabouts were the height of sophistication.

    • andytoots

      Ha! That’s hilarious!

      I love the SAS lie. “Yeah, we just got tired of all the killing and elite missions, so we just thought: Cornwall. Yeah, a lovely camping holiday in Cornwall.”

      It’s like they started out with the big lie, then spent the rest of the time trying to create something more believable.

      “We’re in the SAS.”

      “Well, when I say we’re in the SAS, I mean Andy McNab used to drink in our local pub.”

      “Actually, I think it was the pub in town that we’ve never been to. But I wrote the foreword in Bravo Two Zero.”

      “OK, I didn’t write the foreword. But I used to work in Waterstones and once unpacked a delivery of Bravo Two Zero.”

      “I’m unemployed, but please sleep with me.”

  4. Klare Tootell

    How odd! All week I’ve been thinking about tweeting about how unlike Skins my own teenage life was! Clearly we’ve got that great minds thing going on again.

    As you will remember, my teens couldn’t get any further from the Skins trailer. If the show was based on my teenage years, it would show me weeping over a 19th century novel whilst drinking sherry and picking up my embroidery now and again when the tears had dried up. Not quite sure what soundtrack I’d put over that….maybe some doleful Sigur Ros or…let’s face it, the Archers theme tune.

    I do remember your boy’s holiday camping but I’ve never known what went on……until now! 🙂 By the way, isn’t it an odd thought to think that most of the current skins cast were still probably grainy foetus scans when you were ‘Askwithing it up’ 18yrs ago?!

    Oh, and I’ve missed you on Twitter. Please come back! xxx

    • andytoots

      The season one cast of Skins were all between 3 and 4 years old when I went on holiday to the Lake District, which is still truly frightening!

      You did go through a bit of a sherry phase, didn’t you? Incongruously, your soundtrack of that time was probably The Doors and Jimi Hendrix. Good times!
      x

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