Looking back, they were both
pretty ordinary guys trying to fit in:
Paul was a year behind me,
son of a famous politician,
fitting in pretty well on the football
field, gangly as the rest of us;
Barry was a zany misfit,
son of a famous writer,
practising debauchery better than most.
Only in the past decade has
either come into my field of view:
Paul as a rising politician,
self-made shipping magnate-
millionaire, then amazing politician
then flameout Prime Minister
who dithered away all our hopes for him.
Barry was meanwhile, like many
geniuses, simmering, growing
phenomenally: writer, broadcaster,
publisher, scholar, front-line liver of life,
still a debauched bullshitter, mellowing
in the best way, prodigious in his
daring, in his zest for life, in his
talent, his scholarship, his accomplishments.
Both men have now overreached their fathers,
one disappointingly so, the other
prodigiously, reverentially, with the
respect and confidence of genius.