Patrick Moore must be heard

On 19 June, 2015, Ideacity opened its annual conference with a talk by Patrick Moore.

Anyone who has read any of Moore’s books, heard any of his speeches, or follows him on Twitter (I qualify on all three) knows what to expect. Those who haven’t heard of him get introduced by Moses Znaimer before the speech, and Moore himself fills in the gaps in his opening.

Nevertheless I have issues with that opening…

Znaimer’s introduction is very fine, containing personal reminiscence and just enough biographical material of Moore to tantalise us into wanting to hear the talk. It conveys respect, even affection, is shot from the hip, and short.

Moore’s opening bristles with unmistakeable nerve symptoms. I’m not surprised that he is nervous: every speaker experiences a Hump. But I expected someone of his experience to have developed better techniques to disguise it. It looks as if he has made an attempt by reciting the first couple of minutes by rote. The trouble is that he is uttering the rote like an automaton, and that’s one of the nerve symptoms. I rush to rescue: here’s some advice…

He kicks off with autobiographical ethos. Ethos is good, autobiography is good, automaton aside he does it pretty well, but contrary to widespread opinion there is no divine edict that says it has to be at the beginning. In fact there is a strong case to avoid autobiographical material at the very beginning.

Nerves are a form of vanity because you are concerned with what the audience thinks of you. A very good defence against nerves is to force yourself to think not of yourself but to focus on your message and the audience, and how they are bonding. How do you possibly not think of yourself when you’re talking about yourself? Enter the James Bond Film Opening, because it makes you hold up the autobiographical ethos for a minute or two till the Hump has receded. It’s much easier to talk about yourself after the nerves have been tamed and put in their place.

How about something like this? “It was wet and cold, and all things considered a bad time to be bobbing about in the middle of the ocean in an inflatable boat, trying to face down a Russian harpoon gun…” Continue in this vein for around a minute (avoiding the word “I”), then, “Let’s go back to the beginning of the story.” Swing into the existing opening.

I can come up with many more suggestions. These things are easily fixed, and every speaker should be at the top of his game from the starting gun.

Moore approaches the top of his game about two thirds through his opening, and the talk comes into its own at 5:00. It lifts still higher with the onset of passion, and never looks back.

The planet’s environment is hugely important, but all sensible and informed scientific study has been hijacked and swamped. The warmist establishment has such a political stranglehold on mainstream media that people never hear the dissenting science. Society suffers, particularly the poorest, and by a cruel irony so does the environment.

This is why voices like Patrick Moore’s must be heard.

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