I remember the late cricket writer and broadcaster, John Arlott, being interviewed about the reason why cricket had produced a body of high quality literature when other sports had failed to do so. He replied that the length of time that a cricket match took to complete meant that it was impossible for a player to perform without displaying his character. The writer could then write about the game as something other than a sport, but as an expression of the human psyche. I have often felt the same about blogging. It is one of the more intimate forms of public communication and reading a blog regularly is an odd way of getting to know someone's personality and way of thinking about the world.
As reported elsewhere, I was in London for some serious drink-soaking with fellow bloggers, people I had read, had discussions with, but had never met. The Arlott theory was proved correct, as they were all as intelligent, stimulating, and downright nice as their blogs would have suggested. We were hosted by the splendid Little Atoms people and joined by my documentary maker nephew. It was great fun. Though it was Terry's evening to celebrate his superb book, there was someone missing - the alchemist who had brought us all together and without whom we would not have been in the pub that night - Will.
And as we drank the talk turned to Will; the late night insomniac email conversations, the scope his networking, his intelligence and perceptiveness and, of course, the quality of his tirades - of which we had all sometimes been the target as well as the observer. We never thought to raise a glass to absent friends; we should have. So, despite the weekend's over indulgence, the wine bottle is now open and I might just acknowledge our friend in the North with a wee sip and a nod of the head, and do so as I think back warmly to a comradely evening spent with the people that I had known and liked for some time, but had never before met.