Bolton School in Stephen Fry's Autobiography!
Wednesday, 03 November 2010
Bolton School has gained a mention in Stephen Fry's latest memoir 'The Fry Chronicles'!
In the book Stephen talks fondly of his University friend Kim Harris who is an Old Boy of the school. The extracts can be read below:
Extracts from 'The Fry Chronicles', by Stephen Fry
(Penguin/Michael Joseph, 2010)
At each of the first -week decanal sherry parties I found myself falling into conversation with a first-year called Kim Harris. He was handsome in a way that reminded me of a young Richard Burton and radiated a powerful mixture of severity, secrecy, relish and surprise that I could not but find intriguing. Like me he was separated from other freshers by appearing on the one hand more mature and adult while on the other exhibiting an unembarrassedly high doctrine of what Cambridge ought to be. He was educated, I soon discovered, at Bolton School, an independent day school that a generation or two earlier had thrown Ian McKellen at Cambridge and a grateful world. Kim had come to Queens' to read Classics. He dressed rather like me but in Church's full brogues and V-necks of the purest and priciest cashmere. He was even capable of wearing a bow-tie without looking absurd, which is a very great human skill indeed. We became instant friends in a way that only the young can. We did not consider going to any party or event except in each other's company. "Are you gay?" I asked him quite early on. "Let's just say that I know what I like," was his prim and opaque reply.
Aside from his proficiency at Latin and Greek Kim had another skill and at a level of brilliance that seemed to me to be quite superhuman. He was a chess Master. At Bolton he had played with, and to some extent mentored, Nigel Short, who was already becoming known as the greatest prodigy England had ever produced. At the age of ten Short had beaten the great Viktor Korchnoi and now at fourteen was on the verge of becoming the youngest International Master in history. Kim was 'just' a Master, but that meant he was skilful enough to play blindfold, a trick I never tired of urging him to perform. Without any sight of the board he would demolish all comers.
He and I and a friend of his from Bolton called Peter Speak, who was reading Philosophy, would sit around discovering late nineteenth-century masterpieces over which to go into ecstasies. Strauss, Schoenberg, Brahms, Mahler and Bruckner were our gods.