But this is an abstraction less forgivable than the more mundane blocking of all events as 'the news'. These railwaymen and farmers did not need to be told that distant events could end in their own bodies. Some of them, including my father, still carried in their flesh the wounds of the wanton metal that had attended the last demonstration of relationships and consequences. It was not, then as now, the gravity of generalised attention that was lacking. Instead, now as then, the news was received, accurately if too simply, as alien: not just because it was coming from places and peoples of which there was no direct knowledge, beyond these isolated reports, but also because its mode of communication was not that of people talking, questioning, moving across to talk or listen to others, as in everyday practice and knowledge, but was this authoritative transmission – an authority without rivals and beyond effective challenge, imposing itself professionally, in every signal, accent and tone, upon the near and the far.