My Dinner With No One

Timing is everything. At least when it is, it is. I say that because in a few days my colleague is going to be in a place with several of our contributors and/or fans and supporters. People I have had energetic email correspondences with, people I admire, people who have a high opinion of B&W which they have conveyed to me with enthusiasm. I would love to be there. These are people I would really love a chance to talk to, to discuss ideas and events relevant to B&W with. In fact I would give a couple of limbs to talk to them. Meera Nanda, for instance, whom I have quoted here so often and who has written several brilliant articles for us. Alan Sokal, whose title we helped ourselves to and whose hoax is a permanent inspiration to us. Latha Menon, who told me about Romila Thapar and then wrote that wonderful article for us. Kenan Malik, who wrote an excellent review of Meera’s book as well as an article for us (roundly disagreeing with my colleague, who is therefore confidently expecting they will engage in fisticuffs). A.C. Grayling, who is the only one I don’t have an email acquaintance with but who is against FN and N generally, so a sort of ally all the same (otherwise he wouldn’t be there). And of course good old Julian Baggini, who writes Bad Moves for B&W and does one or two other things on the side.

And the final refinement of the torture is that if this confluence of people were taking place a mere three weeks later…I might be able to go. Though I might not, because, er, I haven’t been invited. But I could perhaps loiter around in the street and be able to chat with people as they left. Or I could perhaps just pitch a loud fit until someone invited me – I don’t know. It doesn’t matter, because it’s not taking place three weeks later. Timing is everything. In three weeks (near enough) I’ll be there, but for now I’m here, and that’s that. So let that be a lesson to you. Always be in the right place at the right time.

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