I rarely feel strong bonds to people I have never met, especially not those who were dead before I had even heard of them. Yet the other night, I got this lovely image in my head of the late comedian Bill Hicks and the late writer David Foster Wallace sat in a bar together drinking and laughing. I found this a very comforting image. I think they would have been good friends. Both were very funny people in their different ways, both were very spiritual people in their different ways, both were profoundly courageous moral thinkers in their different ways. Slavoj Zizek wrote that film directors Ingmar Bergman and Andrei Tarkovsky had offices in the same building towards the end of Tarkovsky’s life. Yet he writes that: ‘Although the two directors had deep respect and supreme mutual admiration, they never met, but carefully avoided each other, as if their direct encounter would have been too painful and doomed to failure on account of the very proximity of their universes’. My feeling is that Hicks and Wallace would not have engaged in this paradoxical avoidance strategy were they to have crossed paths. They would have got on. They would have got drunk and put the world to rights in between tears of laughter. They really seemed to care about people. From their hearts. This seems to me to be so rare. I remain deeply touched by both of them. I feel something like love for them although strangely enough this is rarely motivated directly by their artistic output, so much as the details that emerge in photos, interviews, biographies. Two tormented souls struggling to find love and compassion in a cynical and inauthentic world. I feel so sad that neither are still with us. Yet the image of the two of them giggling like children over a beer in the corner of a smoky Texan bar fills me with utter joy. And sadness.