So my university had a big flagship event where they invited former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to give a talk and meet some university people. It was connected in some way I don't entirely understand to the BBC docudrama Marvellous
; the subject, Neil Baldwin, knows the former Archbishop somehow. (I haven't dared watch the film, because I am scared it's going to be horrible cringey inspiration porn
, but perhaps I'm too cynical, lots of people have said good things about it.) Anyway, the university decided to issue me a personal invitation to the talk and the dinner afterwards. I think the reason is because they seem to have got it into their heads that I'm the only Jewish faculty member in the whole university, which is patently untrue but anyway, they wanted to showcase their interfaith diversity, so they rolled me out.
The talk was stunning and I'm really glad I went. Although it was flattering to be seen as worthy to meet VIPs, I kind of regret bothering with dinner (bad food and octogenarian retired vicar companions who come from the era when it was considered good manners to make lots of sexist jokes if you found yourself sat next to a woman less than half your age), but anyway. Williams is not the first Archbishop I've shaken hands with; I met the antepenultimate Archbishop of Canterbury
briefly at an interfaith event at Lambeth Palace when I was a teenager. I'm sure there are people who would be more excited to hobnob with Archbishops than me. But Williams as a speaker is really worth listening to; he gave a very thought-provoking talk, flat out one of the best lectures I've heard in several decades of hanging around universities. ( fangirling the fluffy Archbishop )