This afternoon my wife and I sipped a beer or two in the garden which of course is mainly what gardens are for. Very pleasant it was too.
Inevitably we began to chat about this and that and for some reason we began discussing famous people we’d most like to meet for a conversation, including people from the past. Surprisingly perhaps, we couldn’t name many - well a grand total of two actually.
Times have changed. We no longer look up to people in the way folk seemed to in times gone by. We no longer assume that famous people must have something momentous to tell if only they would stoop to our level. Now the social perspective is much more horizontal, we are much more inclined to see weakness behind a facade of strength, skewed narratives behind an image of competence, blind luck behind apparent talent.
If the Prime Minister had joined us in the garden for a beer it would have been a considerable surprise but not an occasion for grovelling wonder. We'd have offered him a beer but we have no forelock to touch these days.
The one mutually interesting person we managed to come up with by the second beer was the Queen. Her uniquely informed indifference may be a facade, but what she could tell if she would must surely be fascinating. Yet we shall not see her like again. One day her irreplaceable perspective will be just that, irreplaceable.