As I beheld the crowds surging out of the cinema, I did so long to engage them in conversation. You see, I loved teaching Lesbian poetry; I did it in the Lancing Lower Sixth, if a set was able enough to cope with the exceedingly strange Lesbian dialect. And I have never lost my interest. It would have been so fascinating to ask the viewers whether the film throws any new light on the relationship between Alcaius' mythical exempla and his politics. And what the film-makers' line was on the big new Sappho fragment published in Zeitschrift fur Papyrologie und Epigrafik. (I will be frank: I do have my doubts about some of the conjectural supplements offered by the Editio princeps.)
But No. I knew how it would be if I tried. That familiar look of cagey astonishment which I have seen so often in the past when I have tried to engage tous pollous in such every-day small-talk; a look suggesting that they feel they have just been cornered by a nutter. I have never quite got the hang of how to talk to common ordinary folk (COFs, as Senior Granddaughter neatly calls them).
It has been the one slight blemish on an otherwise brilliantly successful pastoral ministry.