Nostalgia corner: Relive the psychologically scarring nightmare of A-levels again

A-LEVELS have been overshadowed this year, but they’re still traumatising a new generation of students. Let’s relive that magical time of fear, insane levels of stress and wanting to cry.

Putting off revision

You’ll start revising at 7pm. You don’t. Then it’s 8pm. Then 9pm. Then you’ll study extra hard at 10pm. Suddenly it’s bedtime and all you’ve done is eat toast and listlessly watch shit TV. Even now you can’t watch Emmerdale without a sickening sense of fear brought on by quadratic equations.

You’ll be a loser with no friends doing resits

You imagine being stuck in your hometown forever, perhaps even turning into the lonely old weirdo who drinks cider on the bench by the library. Obviously this is ridiculous paranoia. In reality you’ll get a place through clearing and spend 50 years in a shitty job bitterly imagining the life you might have had. Then you’ll die.

Last-minute revision 

There’s a reason why airline pilots don’t learn to fly planes in two intensive days of staying up until 4am. It’s because it’s not possible. At best your own cramming will add a few facts about the causes of the Second Crusade, but the caffeine poisoning and lack of sleep will knock at least 20 per cent off your results in everything.

Desperate thoughts of escape

Cornered like a rat, your brain will start devising unlikely exit strategies. You could run away from home, become a shepherd in Scotland, then only return when you’re rich from your first best-selling novel. Sadly you’re forced to admit this is not a common career path.

Waiting to go into the exam

Possibly the most stressful moment in your life so far. Somewhat unfairly, your entire future hinges on being able to remember boring bits of Richard II. Your mind starts cycling through horrific possibilities – you’ll have a panic attack, start crying, or wet yourself like that girl did in a test when you were 11. She was still known as ‘Pissy Susan’ when she was 28.

Actually doing the exam 

A couple of questions are fine but the rest look worryingly unfamiliar. You struggle on for three hours writing increasingly sketchy nonsense. When the ordeal finally ends there’s no sense of relief, just a feeling that you’ve f**ked up. Unless you did wet yourself, in which case you’ve got more to worry about right now than A-level chemistry.

Getting your results

Great if you want to bump into joyful bastards who’ve got their med school or Oxbridge places in the bag. If you’ve not got what you needed you’re still in a stressful limbo, fuelling your suspicion that the people who invented A-levels were Jigsaw-type sadists. 

Speaking to the university

If you get a ‘no’ from a tippy-top university you can look forward to pathetically saying ‘Actually Reading’s a lot of fun’ for many years to come. Or you’ll get into your first-choice uni despite dropping a couple of grades, in which case you’ve been put through this psychological torture that you’ll remember until death for no good reason. Thanks a lot, bastards.

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Right Said Fred, and other one-hit-wonders whose politics you couldn't give a shit about

WHEN Morrissey went UKIP many were hurt. When Right Said Fred went right-wing Twitter conspiracists nobody gave a shit. Nor would they if these flipped: 

Right Said Fred

They convinced nobody they were actually too sexy back then, and riding the anti-vax train all the way to Bigot Town via regular segments on GB News hasn’t added force to their argument. Has it ruined their one song for everyone? How would you f**king tell?

Ace of Base

Bassist Ulf Ekberg recorded Nazi songs before worldwide hit All That She Wants. However there is nothing whatsoever Nazi about All That She Wants, not even the bassline, and their homeland Sweden remains a liberal paradise so its influence appears minimal.

Chesney Hawkes

Aryan-locked Chesney is a defining one-hit wonder and provincial pantomime royalty. Were he to announce he was a flat-earther and all conventional science a lie, how many of the hundreds of thousands who bought his single would follow him? He hasn’t. But if The One and Only was no longer played, would you notice?


Now we’ve got Sam Ryder we can afford to lose a couple of shite Eurovision entries to the flag-shaggers. First in line should be Scooch, as their fleeting classic Flying the Flag could make a new Britain First theme.

David Zowie

If the House Every Weekend hitmaker announced definitive proof that 9/11 were an inside job, naming members of the Illuminati in a YouTube slideshow, it would be unlikely to sway popular opinion. Plus mainly he DJs, and conspiracy theories are difficult to convey in other people’s pop-house records.


It would be such a shame if the act behind Baby Shark were exposed as a far-right cult plotting a global coup, and the song could never be heard again. Such a blow to the world.