Tuesday, February 21, 2012

1984: A man in my shoes

I received an out of the blue postcard from my old school yesterday, asking me for both mine and my parents' email addresses.

I've not heard a peep from them in nearly 30 years. I don't think I was one of their favourite students, being a bit troublesome and everything, but I was made welcome when a friend and I went back to visit in '87. I'd put on a bit of weight by then, and on arrival we ran into two old teachers who were shocked at my appearance. Gone was the skinny kid, and here was this blimp. We caught up, said our goodbyes and as they turned the corner they both burst into laughter. I've not felt so humiliated since someone on a train asked me if I was Lady Sarah Armstrong Jones.

So why now, I wonder. Chances are they'll be after donations. Now, I loved that school, had a wonderful time, made some really good friends, have about a millions songs that remind me of every single day and have nothing but fond memories. But I'm not going to donate to their theatre project or anything, though I would go to a reunion.

Hearing this song, however, takes me back to more or less my last day there. I've always found it rather sad for some reason - and I was certainly sad to be leaving the school. The Ghost In You is one of many songs I find strangely moving that leave others cold, like Sister Christian by Night Ranger or Spirit Of Radio by Rush. Must be to with the key their in.

Tough this song was never a hit and merely grazed the lower reaches of the Top 75, I loved the Furs and bought everything they did at the time. I still love this now. But hearing it then it made me think of how far I'd come in a few short years. From a semi-shy and rather awkward teenager I was a totally changed man. I'd almost reinvented myself and now the work was complete. I was ready to face the future with confidence and knowledge. I knew I wouldn't be lost.

In retrospect I have a lot to thank that school for. It totally changed my life. I'm not sure I knew how lucky I was. I do now. I shudder to think where I'd be today if my life hadn't taken this path. I might be working out insurance quotes or in the back office at Iceland. Or under a bus.

Where did I put my wallet?


  1. It's like the line in XTC's Playground. 'You may leave school, but it never leaves you..'

    Have you checked out The Horrors Primary Colours album? Very Furs

  2. Great song, but doesn't move me in the same way as 'Love my Way' which, I think, pre-dated my move there, think it was on a compilation tape I brought with me. How come I didn't get a postcard?! I don't think they really need the money.

  3. I'm always thrilled to hear The Psychedelic Furs - I've been listening to them a lot again in the last year, and I fancy that I can hear so much I missed back in the day. There's a whole level of melancholy there that I never tapped into before. Or maybe I've just become morose in middle age?

  4. No idea how they tracked me down, Hels. Obviously I'm not too hard to find.