What have I done to deserve this?


Some things never change. Adore adore adore Pet Shop Boys.

This was released in 1987. This is a year that resonates for me as it was the year I was sent off to boarding school, aged 11.

I remember the symmetry of the dormitory – 10 beds, military style, 5 on one side and 5 on the other – each bed pointing to the one on its opposite. The school hadn’t been updated since the 60-70s (it was all refurbished the following year) but that year it was still very antiquated and old-fashioned.

1987 was the year of the Great Storm – the worst storm to hit England in 300 years. As a guide to just how serious the storm was (it had hurricane-force winds) – 15 million trees came down in England that night. We were very badly hit, as one might expect on the top of a hill in the middle of Kent – the worst hit part of the UK. A tree fell against the dormitory and most of the windows on one side were simultaneously smashed. We were terrified.

We stumbled over glass as we were evacuated to the ‘san’ (sanatorium) and made to sleep 2 to a bed. I’ll never forget that night. It’s the only ‘natural disaster’ that I’ve lived through. I won’t ever forget how ferociously loud the wind was that night – how incredibly destructive it was, and the incredible tinge of the sky the following day. We weren’t allowed outside the next day (the school was quite badly damaged with a vast number of slates having come off the roof and windows smashed) but I won’t ever forget looking up and noticing the ultra-cyan shade of the sky, a strange cloud formation and an eerie, deafening stillness.

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