Looking for something to read that had nothing to do with animal rights or the plight of elephants I turned recently to reading David Dimbleby’s memoir Keep Talking: A Broadcasting Life. Although I’ve never met him I’ve always liked him and appreciated him whenever I watched him on the telly or listened to him on the radio. David Dimbley always comes across as thoughtful, intelligent, serious, insightful, and funny. He’s someone who I admire and would love to spend an evening in his company. Even if the feelings were reversed and David didn’t want to spend time with me but was forced to do so he would be polite and let me come away believing he was equally interested in me.
But, one lesson I learnt from being involved with animal rights is not to let people whom I know become heroes I admire. Please don’t get me wrong: there are many, many people involved with animals in all different ways who I admire. But the bitter lesson to learn is to never put a living person on a pedestal as either a hero or heroine. I once did this with a prominent activist. Then lived to regret it after their treatment of me was unprofessional and vindictive. Now, some may feel this is how I treated them. In this case, I’m truly sorry. I hope I’ve learnt the lesson from my bitter experience that this is not the way to treat people.
Anyway, what’s all this got to do with David Dimbleby and his book?
I confess it’s a diversion of mine but it is relevant. This is an interesting and enjoyable read to read; however, I came away disappointed. The subtitle is ‘A Broadcasting Life’ and it’s his career as a journalist that is at the forefront of the book. It’s also about growing up in a family whose father, Richard Dimbleby, was a prominent and beloved broadcaster. He writes about his father and the relationship he had with him as well as his family life and education and so on. Mostly, the book is about his extensive and long career in broadcast journalism. This is all interesting and what I expected. However, I didn’t take away from reading his book a healthy serving of his personality, humour, and insight. I can’t help but think David held back and the really interesting bits, the personal anecdotes, the personal takes, the amusing incidents, well, they’re not there or not enough to satisfy my, perhaps gossipy needs.
I’m not saying don’t read this book. Do read it. I’m glad I did. But if I ever have the opportunity to hear David Dimbleby talk freely about his life, well, that would be interesting. That would be close enough for me to satisfy my prurient needs but also keep him safely at a distance on his pedestal.