The news of the writer Christopher Hitchens’s death fills my mind with contradictory images and feelings.
I remember the young Christopher. He was a couple of years ahead of me at the same Oxford college in the late 1960s. He was then the best known activist of the International Socialists (IS, now the Socialist Workers Party) at Oxford.
Chain-smoking, elegant even in the donkey jacket that was standard issue on the revolutionary left, he was a brilliant orator. It was from him that I first learned, often with the force of revelation, many of the main ideas of the Marxist tradition.