Quentin: fame at last

Fame is a funny thing. Some years ago I was walking through the centre of Cambridge and ran into George Steiner. He was looking blissfully happy. “What’s up, George?” I asked. “I have finally made it”, he replied, beaming. “You’ve won the Nobel Prize for literature?”. “No, better than that”, he replied, “I’ve been invited to go on Desert island Disks!”

Now, George is good at hyperbole, but anyone who lives in England will appreciate why he was so chuffed. An invitation onto DID is indeed a sign that one has finally made it. But there is one other sign of universal acceptance — a reference on The Archers, the venerable BBC soap opera about life in a fictional rural village. When he was a student, my friend Quentin Stafford-Fraser co-invented the Webcam. To his delight (and mine), his original webcam was mentioned in The Archers. The only remaining accolade available to him is now a MacArthur Genius Award! I’m working on the citation now.