Sunday, March 16, 2008


To my astonishment, my mother found a large box of my material in storage, books, letters, and even a manuscript from the years 1969-70. It includes school essays, letters from my friends, an entire book of handwritten poems which I had completely forgotten about, and even a bank statement which shows that at one point I possessed the princely sum of one pound four shillings and tuppence. There are all these letters from my school friends, and even an invitation card to the first party I ever got drunk at.

Further to my astonishment, I was chatting with my nephew Guy, who goes to my old school, and he told me that four 14-year-old Etonians are in trouble for roughing up and sexually assaulting a young girl in the playing fields (yes, the same fields on which the battle of Waterloo was supposedly won.) The gang of Etonians called themselves "The Posse".

This piece of news, coupled with these ancient pieces of correspondence from Etonians in 1970, prompted me to seriously wonder what the world is coming to.

I mean, back in those mediaeval times, one would have thought a group of 14 year old Etonians would be too busy sexually assaulting each other to inflict themselves on anyone else ... although I suppose there was a time it when it was positively de rigeur for the upper classes to go around randomly raping the local peasantry. Still, by the 1960s, all that was definitely frowned upon, what. And "the posse", indeed. I'd like to see them last five minutes in the hood.

Meanwhile, back to my personal correspondence from those dark times, it amazes me that Etonians of the late 1960s habitually used classical allusions, pretentious archaisms, and elaborately thought-out metaphors in their letters to each other (well, to me, at least). Was it a kindler, gentler time?

My old poems are another matter as well. I find them exquisitely embarrassing. I think I will put off burning them for a few days, however. Perhaps I'll even print one in this blog.

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