1. Roald Dahl, me and corporal punishment
On my thirteenth birthday I was given a terrible thrashing by my school headmaster, the Hon. Richard Temple Fisher. My crime was giving to a friend a handful of cheese sandwiches smuggled out of a school match tea. Those who went to a school like mine in the 1970s and 80s will recognise the typically brutal one-size-fits-all punishment. This caning had several long-term consequences, one of which was that it brewed up in my head an anti-establishment streak that is still very strong, insanely strong in fact, even today. Throughout my life I have had really serious problems with authority and authority figures.
Interestingly, my headmaster`s father was Godfrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1945 to 1961 and the man who, as head of the Anglican Church, crowned Queen Elizabeth. In his book Boy: Tales of Childhood (1984), Roald Dahl recounts that being sadistically flogged by Fisher senior, then headmaster of Repton, caused him to doubt the existence of God.
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