Two astronomers. Separated by only 22 degrees, 58 minutes of latitude, 33 degrees, 29 minutes of longitude, yet seemingly worlds apart. Their common goal: figure out the very nature of the Universe and its womenfolk.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Ultimate Dinner Party

Cliche, cliche, I know, I know. Bugger it. So - who would I invite to my ultimate dinner party? I'd love to hear Noam's views on this one too. Anyway, here goes:

1. Gordon Ramsay.


Ramsay's approach to his profession embodies everything that I want to, but alas cannot, bring to my own. He's utterly committed and fantastically skilled - and expects everyone around him to be the same. I'd love to be in that position but lack the drive and talent. I can swear as well as he can, mind. I just hope he wouldn't berate my sausage pie.

2. Richard Farleigh


From BBC2's awesome "Dragon's Den", Farleigh is a businessman with talent like Gordon Ramsay's, a similar ruthlessness in his operation, yet he's also a bloody nice guy. Even when facing utter morons, he politely declines to invest rather than taking Theo Paphitis' approach - rant like a mindless autocrat. I think Richard would win extra brownie points by bringing a fine bottle of port.

3. Terry Wogan


Wogan makes me feel happpy about the world, which is perhaps the most important quality anyone can possess. For years, I merrily faced cold mornings thanks to Tel's cheery banter on Radio2. His wit is scandalously underrated, and he would be the joker at the table, I'm sure. Although if he pulls out a bucket full of change for Children In Need, I'll deny him pudding. There's a time and a place, Tel...

4. Jeremy Paxman


For the serious table chat, Jeremy would be the centre of attention. I love Paxman because, like Ramsay, he's the ultimate professional and doesn't suffer fools gladly. I bet he has some great banter about political scandals. I'd have to be on my toes though - one intellectual error and I'd be toast.

5. Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, KB


Time to bring out my big gun. Nelson, Britain's - nay, the world's - greatest hero, would be honoured with the seat at the head of my table (not that there's much room around it). I'd probably spend most of the night chatting to Nelson about his days in the navy - not that he'd want to discuss tactics: "go straight for 'em". I'd also ensure that the condiments were kept at the other end of the table, so he'd need to "trouble you for the salt". I'd need to discover what's in grog before the party - I wouldn't want a mutiny on my hands.

6. Jane Seymour


Eek, not much gender balancing - I'll try to rectify it. Jane would not doubt provide interesting chat about Roger Moore's ways, and her days on "Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman". Interesting that previous Bond, Sean Connery, played the "Medicine Man" in the film of the same name. Anyway, I fancy Jane so she might be ideal for drawing my attention away from Nelson.

7. Bill Murray


Oh how Bill and I could natter - what was it like to film Ghostbusters, has he seen Scarlett Johansson's bottom, etc, etc? I'd be worried what'd happen if he and Wogan got carried away, but it'd be worth it. If I ate my dinner too quickly, I'm sure he'd say to "chew your food".

8. P.J.E. Peebles


So, I had to have an astronomer in there (although I think he calls himself a theoretical physicist - fair play, he's done it all). Jim Peebles is the nicest guy you might ever wish to meet. Humble as pie, sharp as a razor, I treasure the half-hour chat that Nic Ross and I enjoyed with him in Durham Castle as the highlight of my scientific enlightenment. I think he'd quietly steal the show at the party, guiding everyone's attention to the ultimate question mankind currently faces: "what -is- lambda?" I'd give my right arm to work for him.

So - that's far more people than can fit in my kitchen, so I'd better stop there. I'm eager to know who everyone else would have round for tea, and what people think of my choices. Do tell!

7 Comments:

Blogger jim said...

good choice-- what's the limit on how many we can have?

8:06 AM

 
Blogger jps said...

I would certainly like to be invited to dine with that fine body of men (and Jane's fine body). Not sure about my own list yet, Rob has taken some of the big hitters. Will get back to you.

8:51 AM

 
Blogger Rob said...

Jim - why not match my number. Eight seems good - I hate the imposed brutality of decimal numbers. As a computational cosmologist I prefer to work in powers of 2. So let's stick to 2**3 = 8.

I guess if you really want, John, we can duplicate members if so desired.

9:34 AM

 
Blogger NPR said...

Let us pause...

9:17 PM

 
Anonymous Craig said...

Here is all the evidence I will ever need that Bill Murray is all kinds of awesome:

http://www.cnn.com/2006/SHOWBIZ/Movies/10/16/britain.billmurray.ap/index.html

4:26 PM

 
Blogger I_am_nil said...

My ultimate diner party (do they have to be alive??):

Moa Tse Tung
Lord Horatio Nelson
The pygmy human discovered in Papua
Einstein (cliche, I know)
Mata hari
Geroge Blake
Herman Melville
Groucho Marx

2:39 PM

 
Blogger Rob said...

I would have to add a chair for Theodore Roosevelt.

5:39 AM

 

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