We must ask ourselves what we are trying to achieve by educating in the arts. Are we growing recital-bots, who store Western culture's greatest hits on some internal Dictaphone, to be replayed on request at interviews and after-dinner appearances? Probably. But no culture swot is complete without a Fellini to his Flaubert. He just doesn't know it yet.
I am working on a new novel, set in France, and have realised, not for the first time, how difficult it is to convey everyday gestures and physical expressions in print without appearing ridiculous.