It’s called the passage of time. Missing things not because you value them, but because they have always been there. Friday saw the very last of Alistair Cooke’s Letter from America.
Which leads me to another of my occasional Greater Mancunian series. Cooke was born in Salford, the son of an iron-fitter Methodist lay preacher, although he grew up in Blackpool. He tossed aside his humble beginnings after winning a scholarship to Cambridge, kicking over the traces of his given name Alfred, Alistair being more in keeping with the aesthete image he aspired to.
LfA has been running for 54 years. 2,869 episodes. And what made it so good? Cooke was the bridge between two nations separated by a common language. His views more or less reflected his childhood background, namely the radical liberalism of north west England. He was prone to wild swings to the right, but that is the prerogative of old age.
Now an admission. I hardly ever listened to Letter from America, mainly because it came on Fridays and Fridays are for other things. But if I was a void as a listener, then there is a void now not listened to. LfA was a splendid thing and something to be mourned even if it is lost more in spirit than mortality.