I spent a lot of time at the dentists as a child in pre-fluoride days. My boiled-sweet habit led to the replacement of enamel with amalgam. Then a car accident in 1970 doubled the number of my already considerable visits.
My only solace at those grim times was a huge, Victorian lounge converted into a waiting room and back copies of the magazine Punch in piles. As a child I leafed through the magazines looking at the cartoons alone but eventually I stumbled across Alan Coren's column and I was hooked.
Finding him pitching up on the News Quiz encouraged me that it was possible to be simultaneously a witty writer and fine speaker.
The Guardian's obituary reminded me of this wonderful, spontaneously-delived crack on the news that the American secret services were looking at ways to extend the working lives of their agents; 'Bond tensed himself in the dark and reached for his teeth.'
This bookends elegantly Alan Coren's involvement in my life. I'll miss him. Although his broadcasting offspring Victoria and Giles are marvellous value too.