karohemd: (Photo)
Sir David Attenborough
signing books at the Royal Geographic Society after a talk with Richard Fortey on the naming of animals. Thursday, 16/12/10
Taken with the G10 so a bit noisy.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Chamaeleon)
A few months ago [livejournal.com profile] ginasketch alerted me to a talk by Sir David Attenborough (no link necessary) and Richard Fortey on the naming of animals. Having missed various book signings (always during the day and too short notice) I thought this would be an excellent opportuity to finally see the man live whose natural history programmes I've been watching on TV since I can remember. They were usually better or at least more personal than the ones produced in Germany and I don't think I missed a single episode of "Life on Earth". There was nothing more important than Attenborough on Saturday evenings at 7 during the run of the series.
The talk was split between Fortey and Attenborough taking turns, Fortey talking more about the technical side and nomenclature of the naming of species, Attenborough more generally about his experiences. Both are excellent, unscripted speakers and them talking about something potentially so boring was not only interesting but also entertaining and in some cases, moving. It was very clear that these two men are utterly passionate about and devoted to their work.
The quote of the evening went to Attenborough who said "If you lose your wonder for nature as you grow up, you have lost a wonderful thing."

After the talk, the book queue was very long so we decided to head to the bar (picking up [livejournal.com profile] davegodfrey on the way) and had a drink. In the bar room were apart from various portraits of important members of the Royal Geographic Society an enormous and fascinating Chinese map of the world from the early 1600s.

I then decided to brave the book queue and bought Attenborough's Life in Cold Blood and Fortey's Life: An Unauthorised Biography. A Natural History of the First Four Billion Years of Life on Earth. I think I babbled something inane at Sir David thanking him for all his programmes and he looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and thanked me back and it felt completely genuine. He must meet hundreds of people every week and is still this gracious, modest man. I don't think there are any people more deserving their title than Sir David Attenborough.
Fortey was equally gracious when I told him about the trilobite fossil I found when I was 12 (which was the most obvious thing to do because I didn't really know (of) him). Incidentally, I need to try and find that when I'm at my parents over the holidays. It's not a complete one, about the size of my thumbnail but it's the most interesting thing I've found.

Anyway, I really need to go to bed now, it was a wonderful evening.

April 2016

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