I still think about Dominic Corbett.
I first met Dominic twenty years ago. He was a lanky eleven-year-old boy with wire-rimmed glasses. His face was ghost white except for his cheeks, which were slightly flushed. He was always quick to smile and laugh. I picture him with his hands in his pockets and an amused smile on his face, eager to listen to my crap jokes.
I was eleven when I met him. We went to the same school, Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School in Birmingham.
Dominic didn’t fit in with the other boys. I suppose this was because he came across as a geek. But he and I got on together well. I liked his enthusiasm and sense of humour.
Dominic had catchphrases – actual catchphrases – that included “Em, no” and “Skanky manky”. He was also Jewish. I can’t think of any other Jews I’ve known in my life.
Another unusual thing about him was that he came from an upper-class family. He called his nan “Nana” and he wrote an article for his school magazine that contained the sentence “A gentle perusal of the museum and some light refreshment at the coffee-bar ensued”.
For a while, he ran a tuck shop out of his school locker. We called it ‘Dominic’s shop’. He would buy crisps and drinks from the newsagents and sell them at a higher price to his fellow classmates. But one day, his classmates rushed him and his makeshift shop and stole all his merchandise. That was the end of Dominic’s shop.
We drew comics where we made fun of each other. He drew a series called “The Adventures of Pietrzak” and I drew a series called “The Adventures of Dominic.”
On a school trip to Snowdon, we noticed he had bruises on his body. It became a popular joke that his mom beat him up. I drew comics about it:
Where in the world is Dominic Corbett?
I only knew Dominic for two or three years. Then he changed schools and I never heard from him again.
Sometimes I wonder what happened to him. Is he rich? Is he dead? Does he wear a kippah on his head? Even in today’s information age, Dominic’s life is an enigma.
If he has a Linkedin page, then I can’t find it. I do however have his Facebook page. Plus I’m Facebook friends with him. But he doesn’t use his account anymore – he last posted in 2008. It seems he went to King Edward’s school (a private school in Birmingham that costs £4,245 per term). After this, he went to Oxford University, which is no surprise to me as he was always getting A’s in his schoolwork.
There’s only one photo of him on Facebook. Elusive as ever, he’s wearing a mask:
He’s also uploaded a video to YouTube. The video is of him and his upper-class friends on a rowing boat. Dominic is the one filming so he’s out of shot. But if you listen carefully then you can hear him shouting Jewish phrases.