I always cringe at those scenes in TV sitcom Peep Show where David Mitchell’s character Mark reveals his love of history – cringe because I recognise that same tendency in myself. Mark likes to wax nerdy about military history, which isn’t one of my fields of interest, but I share his wider love of the subject and his tendency to bang on about it, and I can never understand the disdain people show for it or their scepticism regarding its importance. That two of these people share my home and a fair chunk of my DNA makes it even harder to comprehend.

As an evangelist of sorts for the study of history it pains me that my high school age kids aren’t interested. Boring, dusty, old fashioned, they say. They prefer Modern Studies, where topics include democracy, crime, inequality and trade unions. Fair enough, those are all important and valid and I would have loved to have been offered Modern Studies when I was at school. It’s a fabulous subject. And it’s true that in the first few years at high school it is taught alongside history as part of a wider portfolio which also includes geography and religious, moral and philosophical studies. But if history is subsequently dropped as a subject then it seems to me that a pupil’s understanding of any given topic – democracy, inequality, whatever – becomes untethered from one of that topic's most crucial components: its historical context.

Example: pupils can do a module on North Korea, but to understand why that’s a worthy subject you need to know what was happening in the Korean peninsula in the 20th century, which inevitably rolls you into the First Sino-Japanese War, which brings you eye to eye with the Qing Dynasty, founded in 1636. Oh look, history. See what I did there?

I wheeled out a version of this argument round the dinner table the other night, to absolutely no effect. I tried a less academic version of the same thing instead. You like Billie Eilish, right? Well she was influenced by Amy Winehouse, who loved Donny Hathaway, and by Lana del Rey, whose song Bartender references Crosby, Stills and Nash as well as Joni Mitchell’s Ladies Of The Canyon album. Go away and listen to all those artists – God bless you, Spotify – and see if it throws any new light on Bad Guy. If it doesn’t, well at least you’ve heard Big Yellow Taxi. If it does, perhaps you’re part way to learning the value of history.

I await the results with interest.