I don't think I'd really enjoy one of those fantasy dinner parties when you invite famous characters for a sparkling conversational evening. Much as I'd love to meet Samuel Pepys, I doubt whether he'd really want to meet me. And he'd probably be far more interested in seeing what was on television than expanding on whatever he got up to on page 1098 of his diary. (Sorry, Sam, no BBC2 as I have yet to face up to last week's digital changeover.)
But as I was reading Martin Gayford's lovely book, I kept thinking that I'd love to go for a walk with David Hockney.
Even better, to have gone on one of his musical road trips in the late 1980s ...
I suppose my musical drives around Los Angeles were a kind of performance art ... I'd just got a little house in Malibu at the time, and I was driving around to explore, playing Wagner a bit loud to test the speakers. Then I suddenly thought, 'My God! The music matches these mountains.' So slowly, I choreographed a drive starting from the house. I finished up with two: one about thirty-five minutes long; the other an hour and a half. I could time them with the sunset. I'd tell people that they had to come at a certain time and they couldn't be late because nature is doing the lighting. There'd be, for example, the great crescendo in Siegfried's funeral music, and you'd come round a corner and as the music rose you'd see the setting sun suddenly revealed. It was like a movie... I did it in an open car so you could look around in every direction. I knew what speed to go at, when to press my buttons to change the music ... It was like conducting the music really.
Wish you were there?