here I’d already been bullied at school for being camp; though, I always fought back. I was regularly called into the headmaster’s office for punching lads who had called me gay or faggot or ‘la poof’ – which was a favourite phrase of one particular boy.

He wasn’t French, by the way, just desperate to make his insult even more fabulous. In sex education, when we were reminded how a man and a woman procreate, someone shouted ‘close your ears John, this doesn’t apply to you!’.

In PE a lad ran past me and in a mockingly soft voice cried, ‘Chase me John. Chase me through the forest.’. What were probably little moments of humour for these boys – and sometimes girls – were incessant tidal waves that crashed over and eroded me.