A few days later and I’m knocking on Patrick Moore’s door, his housekeeper lets me in and takes me to mission control, Patrick’s famous study, a few minutes later there’s a thud on the door and Patrick enters sporting a zimmer frame, pale blue kaftan and his signature monocle, yes a kaftan, no bow tie, the monocle is a given the kaftan unexpected but cool, some tea was brought through and we discussed various subjects, astronomy, telescopes and some of my previous photo assignments, Patrick was very interested in this particular project, it’s very sobering to be in the company of a man that has achieved so much, writer, broadcaster, musician, OBE, CBE, and BAFTA winner, and the fact that he had the time of day to discuss what I was doing, it was great.
Patrick like many other dedicated intellectuals is not a small talker, so I know that he had a genuine interest in what I was proposing, so having tea, conversing with and photographing the kaftan wearing Patrick Moore a legend in his own right was pretty universally far out, I had read during my research for the project of Patricks chance meeting with Albert Einstein in 1940, Einstein an accomplished violinist needed an accompanist so Patrick played piano, to Einstein playing Saint-Saens, the Swan, reading it is great but hearing it however briefly is wonderful, he also met one of the early flying pioneering Wright brothers, Orville Wright and American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to name but a few, It was Aldrin that presented Patrick with his BAFTA in 2001.
When discussing Astronomy I slipped in that my son was keen on the workings of the universe, Patrick called through to his housekeeper to bring a few copies of some books he had written for secondary school children, he signed them with a note to my son, not only that, Patrick gave me and Isaac an open invite to pop over when it was convenient and clears sky's permitting and a good friend of his would assist us with an evenings star gazing through Patrick's garden based observatory, finally I set up the shot, and although Patrick was slowed by a broken leg, he manouvered his way around his study un-aided and posed with that indefinable face that we know and love, sadly Patrick died in 2012, so at the end of every month, when I look up at the full moon illuminating the night sky, it’s hard not to think of that great man, Patrick Moore, broadcaster, writer, and astronomer extraordinaire…
Sir Patrick Alfred Caldwell-Moore
4 March 1923 – 9 December 2012
It wasn’t a chance meeting as you can probably see from the image below, I'd sent proposal letters to some twenty prospective candidates that I hoped would be willing to participate in a project I was working on, the following day my home phone rang, I answered, and was greeted with "it’s Patrick Moore here”, now if you don’t know much about late Patrick Moore, just say the name and then say it three times faster, we briefly chatted about the project and organised a time for me to visit his home, I say brief due to the incredible velocity and intensity that Patrick delivers his oration, it was probably only a five minute conversation, but like Einstein’s theory of special relativity it all depends on where you are viewing the event.