“Ten years ago I would have found a call like this unbearable,” Eliot Higgins tells me. It’s not the most promising basis for a relaxed lunch.

When Higgins was young, he felt everyone was watching him. He was too nervous to speak up, too self-conscious to go to the pub. Even now, aged 42, he struggles to stress how extreme his anxiety was: “really terrible”, “really severe”, “tremendous”...

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