We were idling away the evening on the balcony, drinking wine and talking about everything from the Keith Richards book to Medicare cuts. Our neighbors – she a world class blues singer; he an accomplished painter, musician and entertaining raconteur – were just paying a warm, old-American style social call.

But when I happened to mention that many today consider our generation, the Sixties generation, a failure, I set the singer’s eyes ablaze and we took off on a lively historical survey of the last few decades.