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Settling in for his book signing event

Yesterday, Sir David Attenborough spent about 3 hours with us at a book signing event in our Central Hall, much to the delight of 100s of fans.

 

You had to buy one of his books or a DVD from our Museum Shop to become the lucky owner of a ticket to the signing. This was mainly because his last signing event - where no tickets were issued - was so popular, poor Sir David ended up staying on many hours more than planned, to satisfy the 1000s who turned up on the day.

 

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Queuing up in Central Hall to get our books signed

I joined the queue with some work colleagues to get my newly-purchased copy of his book signed, and to shake the hand of one of the most respected people on the planet. When we arrived at the Central Hall just before 13.00 at the scheduled time for kick-off, it was packed. Visitors had been queuing since 11am in the morning, I heard. Patiently, we wound our way round our famous Central Hall Diplodocus skeleton, in what was to be a 2-hour wait to greet the great man.

 

It seemed Sir David, clad in a warm-looking maroon jumper (which I envied as it was a little draughty where we were queuing), was saying ‘hello’ to everyone and asking each ‘how are you?’ Snacking throughout on nuts - apparently he asked for nothing more - he must have signed over 600 books and DVDs.

 

After each person got their book/s signed, they turned and smiled happily.

 

'It was wonderful to see how much everyone looks up to him as a hero. He took away a large bag full of cards, poems and gifts brought for him by members of the public,' said Jeremy Ensor, the Museum's Head of Retail, who attended the event.

 

The event was one of five book signings Sir David Attenborough is doing in the UK to promote his new book, Life Stories, published last month. Yesterday alone, 100s of copies of Life Stories were sold.

 

While we queued, I leafed through my copy of Life Stories. It’s got a quirky personal style and follows Attenborough’s original radio series where he gave us his own insights into the natural world. He talks about his first pet, a salamander, and the creatures that first inspired him like flying dinosaurs and sloths.

 

I got drawn in to a chapter on ‘Collecting’ where Sir David discusses the maleness of collecting. Actually I’m not so sure about this, women may not get into stamps or fossils as much as men, but then wasn't the greatest fossil hunter a 19th-century woman? Mary Anning. And what about seashells, butterflies, china ornaments, plush toys, dolls, shoes… the things women are traditionally known to hoard. These days I'm sure there are many more women who collect things from nature too. It got me thinking and took my mind off the wait.


Ah well, back to life as they say. And the new series, Life, is currently showing on BBC, so catch it if you can