I suppose almost everyone has one or more heroes, people they look up to and want to emulate. I have two such people. One is my father, whose strength, generosity, and gentle wisdom I sincerely hope are hereditary traits that will one day begin to manifest in me. The other is Christopher Hitchens.

The Hitch, as he is colloquially known, is my superhero. Some people dream about having superpowers – superstrength, the ability to fly, immortality, that sort of thing. I dreamt about having Hitchens’ power: a vast intellect combined with ferociously eloquent wit.

The Hitch died yesterday after a brief but fierce battle with cancer. As he passed away in a hospital in Texas, I was in a pub in Belfast drinking scotch whiskey, surrounded by a group of highly interesting and intelligent people. I can think of no more fitting tribute.