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Brian died on the 15th October which seems difficult to believe when you listen to him here. Yes, there are signs of the lung cancer that eventually killed him but otherwise he is alert, keen, articulate, thoughtful. All very Brian.

But, but… please don’t be encouraged or discouraged on that account. For Brian it was the ideas that mattered. We allude to that in this very podcast. I am sure he would far prefer people to listen to this because of the ideas expressed than for sentimental reasons.

In the preliminary discussion to this Brian suggested that rather than determining a title for these talks in advance we should have the chat and then decide what the title should be. This chat was going to be the first try out of this idea. Unfortunately, we got disconnected in our prime (hence the rather abrupt ending). Also, it’s still difficult to tell what we actually ended up talking about. Yes, we start off talking about the Middle Ages but we very quickly start talking about the Industrial Revolution and how lucky we are to live in the age we do. Let's see if I can make something of that. Along the way we talk about the Common Law, Europe’s revolutions and plenty of other things. 

The beginning is plagued by connectivity issues which I’ve kept in partly because I am too lazy to take them out and partly to demonstrate what we were up against but, believe me, it does get better.

We recorded one more conversation after this which I will publish as soon as I get round to it. 


  1. That King John podcast? Might be this one.
  2. James II did indeed get a nose bleed at a bad time.
  3. The Kink
  4. The Great Stink was in 1858.
  5. Semmelweiss.
  6. The Industrial Revolution podcast we refer to is here.
  7. I, of course, mean the Taiping Rebellion.
  8. The podcast about German Second World War code-breaking is here
  9. It was Rob Thompson (not Geoff) I was referring to and here is a talk of his on First World War logistics. 
  10. Finlay Dunachie’s How Britain got Lucky.
  11. The famous fort designer was Vauban.


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