The year before was my first one, and this one would be my last, however after last year I was kind of dreading it. Teachers did skits - is there anything worse? - but these weren't just any old skits, they were personal, about pupils and often rather close to the bone. Rumour had it, I was to be mentioned. In one way, good: you'd arrived. In another way, bad: it would haunt you for the rest of your school career.
Being an insecure teenager with plenty of hang-ups, I was beside myself. I had been working on my confidence and I was getting to a place where I was beginning to feel much more comfortable with myself, blah, blah, blah and this would surely undo it all.
I bugged my room mate about it so much he just told me not to bother going as then I wouldn't know, would I? But there was also the case of L, someone I'd been semi-pursuing for the latter half of the term, mainly because she was about the only one available, despite the fact that she wasn't. She was one of those who went home every weekend to see her boyfriend who was older and had a car. She clearly wasn't really that into him and the nearer we got to the Christmas party the closer we got. Could this be the moment at last?
The day dawned. Excitement was in the air. Everyone went back to their rooms to change. The smell of Pagan Man, Kouros and Old Spice was thick in the air. I wore my new dark green OMD shirt with a skinny black tie tucked in and black trousers. I thought I looked great, but in retrospect I was perhaps the Craig Logan figure from a Duran Duran tribute band. At least I was thin, but so thin, with a size 28 inch waist, that I'd lie in bed willing myself to put on weight. Let me just say this: be careful what you wish for. By 1999 I was 17st.
So there was L, on the fringes of the dancefloor. But I was still too nervous to think about anything other than what would the teachers say about me. Time was running out. They were taking the stage.
I needn't have worried. In fact, I don't really recall much about it only that I was rather relieved and it could have been much, much worse. Something about an outbreak of hugging. I was just glad I wasn't half-French danger magnet Anne-Sophie, otherwise known as Sam, and that plump little American bitch Katie, both of whom were singled out as school sluts and who both fled in tears. You make your bed...
So that dispensed with, I whisked L onto the floor. I remember All Night Long, Union Of The Snake, Hold Me Now, Dear Prudence and Love Of The Common People, to which we... almost kissed. She broke away. It wasn't right. She couldn't do it to that bloody boyfriend.
Oh well. Another missed opportunity. But not to worry. There were more exciting fish just around the corner.
(Love Of The Common People remains a favourite of mine, and always reminds me of that disco and L. It's also a fine example of a cover version which is better than the original. I love the backing singers' actions and it's got a very Christmassy feel to it, with those sleigh bells, etc. Cold and dark, but warm at the same time).