"To be truly radical is to make hope possible, rather than despair convincing." - Raymond Williams

A Circle Closing

by Shaun Chamberlin on November 29th, 2016

A personal post this, on the sixth anniversary of my dear friend David Fleming’s death. A mournful day, but also one of great satisfaction, as his incredible books finally spread their wings and find the audience his genius always deserved.

Ten years on from our first meeting, on the Schumacher College course that utterly reshaped my decade since, and six years on from his death, I carry simply this immense gratitude for all that David was in my life and in our world.

What I wouldn’t give for one more side-splitting, enlightening conversation. And what an absolute honour to have been invited to teach a week’s course on his work at Schumacher College in February, a decade on, with fellow friends like Rob Hopkins, Mark Boyle and Stephan Harding alongside. May its ripples spread as far as its ancestor’s, which also gave birth to the Transition Towns Network.

At the top of this post I release footage of Jonathon Porritt discussing David Fleming’s legacy at Oxford University. And I hope David will forgive me and Schumacher College for having unearthed his below slightly nervous, rather endearing, rather brilliant public talk from the week of that course (immortalised in Rob’s foreword to Surviving the Future). Rest well, dear man.

  1.  Martin says:
    8 March, 2017 at 11:59 am

    I know it’s a bit late to comment on this post but I wanted to say thankyou for linking to that vid of David Fleming – I’m reading lean logic and now I’ve got a voice to link the words to.

    Though when you describe his talking style as “slightly nervous” that’s putting it mildly! He looks the very picture of “nervous public speaker” (some county-standard cufflink fiddling at one point, great rushes of words tumbling out) and yet, somehow, overall, it works.

    The reason it works is that he is fearsomely articulate and his talk is unmistakably driven by a formidably fast-working intelligence.

    The overall result is far more watchable than some of those wretched TED and TEDx talks in which the presenter has been public-speaking-coached to within an inch of their lives, drilled to speak V-e-r-y S-l-o-w-l-y and do all the “effective” hand gestures.

    So, very enjoyable.

  2.  Shaun Chamberlin says:
    8 March, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    My pleasure Martin, and your comment is most welcome, late or no. The obvious fact had not really occurred to me that others would not hear David’s voice ringing out clearly when they read his words as I do. I’m most glad you now will, and that you enjoyed his presentation.

    In case of interest – and if you haven’t found them already – some more recent and relaxed footage of David is available here:
    http://www.darkoptimism.org/2016/10/14/by-popular-demand-david-flemings-interviews/

    (and footage of the rest of us discussing him and his work, from the book tour, here: http://www.darkoptimism.org/2016/09/08/david-flemings-posthumous-book-tour/#Tour )

    All best,
    Shaun

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