He has, I could say, been a constant presence; the tallest tree in my intellectual garden; the fizziest bubble in my glass of lemonade; the loudest… but no, let us not vulgarise our relationship so. Let us not over-egg the pudding either. I have taken issue with Speyer, after all, over the years. I will not stand by every one of his weird and wonderful ideas. And yet, for all this, I think I can safely say that Johannes Friedrich Speyer has, besides my wife, been the most significant and influential figure in my life.