Class 1989 – 30 Year Reunion
Thirty years was a long time to wait for the Class of 89’s first official school reunion. Those three decades weighed heavily on my mind in the run up the event, held in the bbar in London early in May this year. Despite the prevalence of social media in all our lives, there were people I hadn’t seen or spoken to for the entirety of that time.
That was anxiety-inducing, and not just for me. On the night of the event, Tiffany White (B3) and I were not surprised to find two of our cohort, Barton Hill residents Zoe and Sophie, propping up the bar in the pub opposite the venue, similarly hoping a quick sharpener would calm their nerves.
Those fears ranged from the prosaic – are we going to recognise everyone? – to the more profound – what have we really achieved in past 30 years? The answer to the first question was a simple no – with a lack of badges, we had to match some rather changed faces to a list of names, but at least that removed the need to stare impolitely at everyone’s chests.
As for those achievements – well, you quickly realise they don’t matter. A reunion like this is about survival – simply to be there was a cause for celebration, especially given that some of our number had sadly not made it that far. After the initial awkwardness of the first greetings, that was very much the vibe of the evening.
Conversation flowed, aided by liberal quantities of Prosecco. The “girls” swapped notes about our time there, which we decided, in the true tradition of public school education, had been character-building. We reminisced about life at Marlborough – the merits of the Lamb over the Crown, the football matches played on “Wembley”, just outside Fieldhouse; the boozy nights in house bars drinking the vilest homebrew imaginable and the boys’ rule-breaking midnight runs to the Chinese in town to provide us starving females with sweet and sour prawn balls.
I doubt these activities would be tolerated today but they were all part of 80s Marlborough life. We learned how to be wild, creative, sporty, and inventive with the English language. Loining, oating, smoking tabs, getting nutmegged – if there was an illicit activity, we had a word for it.
But our time at the school was not all about trying to sneak down the pub without getting busted. We were all lucky to be taught by some inspiring beaks, from Colin Fraser to Robin Childs. As my fellow housemate Alex Wildman (C2 1984-89) remarked at the reunion, what Marlborough produced was a varied and interesting bunch of people, who have ended up following a wide variety of careers.
The school certainly wasn’t a hothouse for bankers – at the party, I chatted to fellow journalists, TV and radio producers, entrepreneurs, teachers, and of course, our very own Dan Hannan (BH 1984-89) proud Brexiteer and MEP.
The evening would not have been possible without the splendid organisation of husband and wife team, Will (C2 1984-89) and Miranda Wells (B3 1987-89), formerly of Fieldhouse, who managed to persuade at least half of the Class of 89 to show their faces on the night.
The next mooted date for a meet up is 2024 – and who knows, maybe we’ll persuade the other half to join us then!