Saturday, March 14, 2020

How many famous people do you know?

Apologies for returning to the recent post about my schooldays, but there is an irony and an important lesson in this passage from it:
When I told Barbara Jacobs (now a successful author) that I was off to the University of York for another interview, she told me that she had met a member of the Philosophy department there at a party while Mark was doing his PhD. He was called Roland Hall and was a very nice man. 
I arrived at York to find that, sure enough, my interview was with Roland Hall. I was filled with a sense of confidence and wellbeing.
The irony is that Barbara, almost the first time I met her, asked me: "How many famous people do you know?"

The answer, of course, was none and she was using this question as a way demonstrating how unequal society is.

And the lesson in the passage is that the fluke of her having met Roland Hall gave me a taste of what it must be like to be upper class.

If you go for an interview at university, you will meet someone your father knows or your headmaster knows. Maybe they were at school or university with them? At any rate, you feel thoroughly at home in their company.

Barbara was a big Labour supporter - I used to meet her from time to time in Leicester and latterly she would tell me off about the Coalition.

These days she is a researcher into autism and has moved back to Merseyside. If you are out there, Barbara, thank you.

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