In the second part of our conversation with Simon Barnes, Chair of 2020's Keats-Shelley Prizes, we begin with a short reading from Simon's own blog - in which he describes the intense focus required by bird-watching, and the almost poetic empathy that can be created between human and, in this instance, gannet.
From here, Simon discusses the 'repertory singers' that are the skylark and nightingale, ponders the impossible multi-tasking of Keats' all-singing-all-flying nightingale, explores what sport and birding might (or might not) have in common, and finally considers the threat of extinction looming over birds, humankind and the planet as a whole.
'Arguing about [Brexit] is like arguing about whether to squeeze the toothpaste tube in the middle while the house is on fire. The house is on fire. Why don't we do somethig about putting out the fire rather than arguing about toothpaste?'
The music on the podcast is Androids Always Escape by Chris Zabriskie.
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