A few weeks ago I travelled down to Bath from Newcastle. Sitting in the sushi bar in Bristol Temple Meads train station (yes, how times have changed, eh?!) having breakfast, a middle-aged backpacker struck up conversation with me. I evidently have a “ask me about sushi, I’ll explain” aura about me – every time we go NEAR the Yo Sushi! in Newcastle I end up explaining what the food is and how the conveyor belt system works to every 50+ in Fenwicks – but I digress.

Having had me explain that sushi is really rather nice, Mike (the backpacker) started telling me about his life. He’d given up his house, his work and (I presume, though he shied away from the subject) his family a few years before and started travelling around the UK, camping as he went. That day he was on his way down to Weston Super Mare to see a friend. He talked about long evenings spent alone in his tent and how he was thinking about getting a dog, perhaps a Jack Russell, to keep him company.

Then I noticed his t-shirt, yellow with “Better to burn out than it is to rust” emblazoned across the chest in bright red letters. For those of you who perhaps didn’t have the same 70s protest song upbringing as me, that particular line is from Neil Young’s iconic song Hey Hey, My My. An enthusiastic conversation about the great man followed, right down to naming our favourite song. We both picked Powderfinger, which was spooky to start with. The fact that we both had the same reason — a belief that “And my face splashed in the sky” is one of the most beautifully disturbing and visually evocative lines of poetry ever written — was downright weird.

Sitting there, mid business trip, about to go back to my old university to represent the multinational corporation I work for at a Careers Fair, I realised what an odd pair we must look sat there in the station. You’d never guess that our commonality ran so deep.