Praise for independent bookshops as Infinite Monkey Cage's Robin Ince wows Hungerford
It was a night of laughter, reflection, and inspiration as comedian and presenter of BBC Radio 4s The Infinite Monkey Cage, Robin Ince, took to the Croft Hall stage last Friday in an event organised by Hungerford Bookshop. It was the final stop on his tour of over 100 independent bookshops to celebrate the release of his book The Importance of Being Interested: Adventures in Scientific Curiosity. Ince started the evening by expressing his love for independent bookshops, remarking on the beauty of them all being different and the joy of serendipitous finds.
The performer was in great form, relaxed due to not having to catch a train towards his next destination. The audience revelled in his linguistic detours on the subject of science, funny experiences in his career - including a fantastic impression of the actor Brian Blessed - his relationship with co-presenter Brian Cox, and some very moving stories that touched on grief and spirituality.
Robin Ince quickly abandoned science at school, bored by a fog of dull lessons and intimidated by the barrage of equations. But, 20 years later, he fell in love with the subject. Filled with interviews featuring astronauts, comedians, teachers, quantum physicists, neuroscientists and more - as well as charting Robin's own journey with science - The Importance of Being Interested explores why many wrongly think of the discipline as distant and difficult. On stage Ince said 'give yourself time. If something seems difficult to comprehend, stare out the window for a bit and let it settle'. He cited students who were frustrated when seeming to understand a concept in the lecture hall, then walk out only to find they have forgotten it. As he enacted a pupil trying to find the 'lost idea' on their seat, he said the thing was to celebrate how wonderful it was that, for that hour, your brain learnt something wonderful and new.
He ended the evening by performing three of his very moving poems. "We went through a rollercaster ride of emotions. It’s not often an author overuns by 30 minutes but people are shouting out 'carry on!'.
Signed copies of The Importance of Being Interested: Adventures in Scientific Curiosity are now available from Hungerford Bookshop.