Eric Hobsbawm has died at the age of 95. I only ever met him on one occasion, but my memory of it is the single personal thing I can contribute to today's reactions to his death, so I will. Hobsbawm had come to deliver a lecture in Manchester - this would be either 1968 or 1969 - and was standing in Peter Worsley's office in the Sociology Department. Peter was Professor of Sociology at the time, and I'd gone up to the second floor in the Dover Street building to see him. He introduced me as someone who was doing research on Marxism. 'Big subject,' said Hobsbawm. So it was and is - and germane both to his work as a historian and his political record, the two main topics of discussion that news of his death has set off.