mid summer, 1987

In UK exams, a “No Mention” was basically where you did so badly in an exam that they didn’t bother to mark it, and you weren’t actually listed as ever taking it.

I got a No Mention for my A-Level Special Maths. I got talked into sitting it by my mate Matthew, who is a maths genius. It was on my 18th birthday, my last day at school, and a gorgeous day.

When I opened the exam paper to see proofs of things involving frictionless pulleys and light, inextensible strings, something snapped. I wrote my name, then:

1) I refuse to answer this question on the grounds that it is silly.

I sat for a few minutes, watching the dust motes groove about in the light from the library windows, then walked out.

Matthew got a special distinction, by the way.

I would have liked to add that I went home and listened to “A Can of Bees” by The Soft Boys on my brother’s hi-fi. But I think he’d already left home by then, taking his record collection with him.


  1. Sorry to be picky about this, but although i had left home, i don’t think I had actually moved my hi-fi out till August 88.
    For what its worth I still listen to can of Bees sometimes.

    The Brother (who still owns the same hi-fi)

  2. Excellent move. Bet no one saw that coming. Perhaps they won’t see whats next either?

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