Survival with a teenage ‘gathering’ what we used to call having a few mates around or, the pathetic number of people my parents said was a party and that was because they wanted their friends round too

I’m sending texts to my daughter from the front room. She’s outside with 9 friends. I told her she could have six round. Her GCSE results come out in two weeks, I’m awaiting the Maths one with trepidation but it might be ok. Maybe they don’t do just basic counting up anymore.

If Child A wants friends round and her Mum says 6 how many can Child A actually have round?

(there’s two answers depending on whether you’re the Mum or, the child like the ones at my school in Biology about how to control population)

Mum: 6

Child A: If I ask 9 but tell them to move around alot and tell my Mum she’s just too old to keep up she’ll never know. So it is 9.

They never know that we watch them file in and count every single one in and out. I wish we could have clocking in machines in houses, like old factories, like Baldwin’s Casuals had in Coronation Street; maybe I could get some nylon knickers run up at the same time.

The texts I am sending are in block capitals now


I’m shouting by text.

Actually the texts started nicely

‘Shut up Shouting!’

‘How about singing a dose of shut the eff up!’


SHUT UP!!!!!!

They were singing earlier, I thought it was punishment enough. It was really loud. It was Robbie Williams Angels song. They sounded like fecking angle grinders.

I’m in a punk band for fecks sake, I thought I was supposed to ruin their street cred.

I’ve decided to write a survival manual, based on this and the fact a couple I know announced a pregnancy today and might need it in 16 years.


ALWAYS SAY NO ALCOHOL do that nice parent thing of ‘oh well I thought they could have a few cans of low alcohol lager*’ and you have opened up a GREY AREA. NEVER open up a GREY AREA. (unless in extreme circumstances and all else fails allowing a bathrobe to fall open to watch them running to the edges of your estate (council not country) in demented disgust – job done though) * bear in mind low alcohol anything these days is what Buster Bloodvessel was singing about in the early 80’s. You also don’t want to open up the possibility that you might share some of yours


1. When their friends arrive keep walking around looking balefully at them like Mrs Danvers.  Everytime they go upstairs to ‘put their sleepover stuff away’ (hide their alcohol) go upstairs and fold something on the landing. Try and master a gliding motion so it seems you have no legs (this bit is not entry level and should only be attempted by people who either work from home and have to slide about the kitchen in socks to kill time or work in really boring jobs in places with shiny floors and a boss with an uncontrollable sphincter who needs many toilet breaks, or who were schooled by nuns and had many years to watch people at the pinnacle of inexplicable hovering and sliding do it)


Even if they’re really polite do look at them in a ‘I’ve got your numbaaa’ way and do that thing where you point to them and your eyes a few times to show you have your eye on them. Again, anyone who works from home will have the advantage here as there is often time spent in the mirror doing Robert De Niro Taxi Driver or Harvey Keitel Goodfellas impressions during the working day. You can also feel good about yourself for doing it – time not wasted but committed to parenting skills (work/life balance)

Walking into the middle of any gathering and leaving a packet of Tena Lady on the breakfast bar is always a good conversations stopper. It is an age thing – after kids or with very funny friends this would be seen as being a good hostess, teenagers somehow don’t get this.

Walking out in a bath robe with hands on hips and just standing there staring activates their Oh Shit that Mother is Fucked Off! trigger hopefully. If not mouth ‘SHUT UP’ through the window.

Finally, if the noise is too much, the music is loud just remember, the fusebox is inside and most back doors lock. Pull the electricity and lock the feckers out.


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