Back in the late 1990s, I worked with a fellow who came from a small town in the midlands. One evening, we were supping pints after another high-stakes day spent slaving away at the coalface of international journalism.
At one point, he was telling me something or other about his hometown. Out of curiosity, I asked him what the population of the place was.
“Six and a half thousand,” he replied. Then he added, almost...
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