We haven’t really changed, have we, curriculum B, English with Drama, sitting round this table, back in the snug at the Dog and Partridge, crisps, nuts, life-stories, laughter, silences, downing our adult pints, half here, half back there. Twenty years down the river, and now we have kids, jobs, tidy houses, strings of various careers. Tom, in business, eyes still twinkling, now with jowl, Liz, stage management, jeans and scarf gone, suit on, Alice, 3 kids we’re getting to know quite fast, we strut life-lessons, big selves, the City (no longer talking fivers, Liz, here’s a million), swap open and private disappointments, glance quickly into the bottom of our beers. Fuller, sharper, sadder, each of us grown further into selves we were already growing, organiser, clown, raconteur, worrier etcetera. No longer studying Swift, Beckett, Pinter, these are now real lives as we talk drink problems, loving our kids, bust-ups (yes, Tim, we all saw that coming, even then), and I don’t want to but I sit here and think (there’s Steve, his nervous tic still twitching flickers of energy submerged in grown-up coping) these are real hearts that beat inside actors and ghosts.