100 Weeks of Scotland: Leith Academy prom

WHEN I Ieft school there was no such thing as a School Prom. Then, we just drifted off slowly, unheralded and unnoticed, into the unwelcoming bosom of Thatcher’s Britain.

Two school leavers at the Leith Academy School Prom. Picture: Alan McCredie

Week Thirty Four

Some school friends were kept, some lost, some thankfully never seen again. Now though, where every single one of life’s landmarks, no matter how small or insignificant must be celebrated, the School Prom is big business. Hotels, clothes shops, DJ’s all queue up to milk the proceeds from this latest of cash cows.

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And yet, despite all this cynicism from me, and hard-nosed profit from everyone else, there remains something hopeful and touching about these events. The past is celebrated but it is the future that is important now, waiting shining and tempting in the wings. For the school-leavers themselves it is a massive event – dresses, suits, hairstyles are all chosen, discarded and then chosen again in the run up to the event. Everything is planned with military-grade precision and nothing, and I mean nothing, is left to chance.

Picture: Alan McCredie

It was a pleasure to see these young people, teetering on high heels and the edge of adulthood, say their goodbyes to not just their fellow schoolfriends but also to the life they have known to this point. They get such a bad press from the Daily Mail school of journalism where teenagers are seen as little more than rioting feral beasts. Yet looking at these kids I have a sneaking suspicion that they will be alright. And furthermore they won’t make such a bloody mess of the world as we have.

Alan McCredie began the ‘one hundred weeks of scotland’ website in October last year, and it will conclude in Autumn 2014. McCredie’s goal is to chronicle two years of Scottish life in the run-up to the independence referendum.

McCredie says ‘one hundred weeks...’ is intended to show all sides of the country over the next two years. On the site, he says: “Whatever the result of the vote Scotland will be a different country afterward. These images will show a snapshot of the country in the run up to the referendum.

“The photos will be of all aspects of Scottish culture - politics, art, social issues, sport and anything else that catches the eye.”

You can follow the project at www.100weeksofscotland.com. You can also follow Alan on Twitter.

• All pictures (c) Alan McCredie/ 100 weeks of Scotland