Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Good to talk...

I was asked to do a nice piece for Radio Cambridge today on the Antonia Brickell Show. Apparently writer and philosopher Theodore Zeldin, coming up to his 74th birthday, has decided to celebrate not by asking to a party all his friends but... a group of strangers.

His point, apparently, is that in today's world we get isolated... never talk at any deep level... let friendships lapse (indeed, lose friends at the rate of just over one a year)... and that we need to redress the balance. Talking to strangers, he reckons, is a way to do this, to break down our differences, and get us Connected.

I'm all for it. I totally agree that we should widen our social contacts - if only because we as a society are so wary of strangers, so paranoid that we fear simply chatting to someone we don't know will put us in danger of being mugged, literally or emotionally.

My own personal celebration of Professor Zeldin's birthday will, therefore, be to talk to at least one stranger in the next few days - at a bus-stop, on a rail station, in a shop.... I'll let you know how I get on.

And, if Professor Zeldin reads this and hasn't yet had his birthday party... can I have an invitation please?

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