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i Editor's Letter: What's the big deal about people on their own?


Arrigo Brovidani is my hero of the week. He is the “merchant” who turned up as an away fan for Udinese’s football match at Sampdoria in Italy’s Serie A, only to find himself entirely alone in the section – normally Udinese bring a magnificent 50 or so. At first he was booed by home fans. This soon became applause and – it being Italy – an invitation for a meal, despite Udinese winning 2-0.

It’s curious how society frequently looks askance at those on their own, despite evidence (in the 2011 Census) that there are more single people than before. The other night in Chinatown there was a man on the next table who was alone, and – rightly or wrongly – I found myself wary of him, and then hated myself for it. Next, he proved my initial suspicions correct, interrupting each of the three tables around him, including ours, and grabbing a minor celebrity who happened to have walked in.

But, what was the big deal? So what that the guy tried to chat? We all so hate people bursting that little bubble we put around ourselves, my defence being I so rarely get to create said bubble that I am very protective of it. Is it different in other parts of the country? Perhaps this is why London was voted the second-least friendly city in Europe (after Moscow)?

You might, but I’m not one to go to the cinema alone, (so I’ve missed a few Woody Allen movies). Ditto, the theatre or gigs. Restaurants? Perhaps a seat at a coffee bar or for sushi, but no, not for a “proper” meal. The only thing I can think of is going to Elland Road or Craven Cottage, where whatever the jokes that statement invites, I will never find myself as alone as brave Arrigo Brovidani.