David here. Coming up, a Meet Your Guide extravaganza. It’s actually Part I – the first 25 years or so of Robert’s life. I did a long interview with Robert a couple of days ago. And realised even before it was over that the Tolstoyan riches of this guy’s past defy being crammed into one podcast. Even a long podcast. I mean we’re talking about a life – a real life – that’s part Boys’ Own stuff, part Comic Book, part English Huckleberry Finn, part Sundance Kid.
Not to put too fine a point on it, Robert’s busied every moment of his existence with grabbing all the gusto he can. And he’s a great storyteller. So that combination – the material he’s got to work with and the skill set he’s got as a storyteller – well, it’s a winner.
And I thought, yeah, I’m going to turn this one into a three- or four-parter.
So, yes, this first episode is Robert’s childhood, Robert’s Oxford education and the record-setting Grand National – the pounding down the straight, the cornering, the jumps – of the first few years of Robert’s adult life.
We learn about taking swords into Oxford exams and lots of athletic prowess and castrating bulls and international banking and the great Pennine linguistic differentiator and milking goats and spinning wool on Scottish television and pony trapping across Sicily and one-arm violin playing and life on the snake squad and taking big exciting theatre to a tiny frightened person and running away to the circus.
Well, you get the idea.
Oh, and for the record, Robert’s the Founding Director of the Brunel Museum. He’s had a distinguished career. He’s a Freeman of the City of London. Rejoices in the rare privilege of driving sheep across London Bridge. Bulls were polled, whether they’d like to join the procession. When they found out who the head honcho was they all, every last man of them, said, no thanks, we’ll sit this one out.
Anyway, here’s the interview. And remember, this is just Part I. There’s more where this came from.