Last Friday night my wonderful wife Simone had bought me a ticket to go and see one of my all time heroes, the incomparable David Attenborough, talk about his life and work at the Plenary in Melbourne. My first memory of the name was the Life on Earth book on my grandfathers shelf which my precocious self pulled down to look for bird pictures. I waddled over from work and was immediately lured into buying a signed copy of his latest book, Drawn From Paradise... I really could not go wrong. Bumped into Messrs Dolby Snr and Jnr - I'm sorry to say Timbo, he now is taller than you!
Settled into a great seat and I must admit I became rather excited as the light dimmed and the curtains drew and what looked to be a wild Attenborough appeared on stage. I considered using playback to bring him closer but was able to adequately get enough of the key features to identify him - crooked smile, light blue shirt, sparkling eyes but the call was diagnostic.... Tick! What followed was a near 3 hour journey through his professional life - there was nothing new, nothing I had not heard from him before, but it was magical and I hung on every word even though it was hosted by Ray Martin. I should point out that Ray Martin had clearly had his hair set before the show and it was a magnificent, moulded casque that would put a cassowary to shame. Chances are the wild Attenborough will go extinct one day but he will live on in over 100 hours of documentaries which are in some ways part of the soundtrack of my life.
Of interest he did say that his favourite critter is the human child between the age of 12 to 24 months and I have to say I agree with him as I just so happen to have one of the same. Towards the end of the talk, a number of young folk got the opportunity to ask him a question but none of them dared asked the question on everyone's lips - "what is your biggest dip??" .... it would be rather special to be able to grip the master..
An example of David's favourite critter - one who is fascinated by the natural world and one I hope retains the fascination
At the end of the day I was surprised it was a purely acoustic set and he didn't bring out his original band but all in all it is likely to be my second favourite day this year (apparently I did get married already this year)
David showed some of his favourite all time experiences and I was rather pleased on reflection to realise I have experienced more than my fair share. Recently I have had a few workmates and other acquaintances ask when I got into birds and nature... and I ask when did they lose interest? As David said, he has never met a young child who is not fascinated by the natural world around them, unfortunately most of them lose it as they get older. At least Lucas is off to a good start.