Kermit Love is dead, and I’m not talking about amphibian affairs. I’m remembering the life of Kermit Love, creator of Sesame Street’s Big Bird, who has died, aged 91. The Times obituary calls him a costume designer and puppeteer, whilst the Guardian gives him the rather more marvellous moniker of ‘designer of entertainments’. Well, as you may remember, Big Bird was over eight feet tall and was 6 years old forever, which must have made him stand out terribly in those sensitive early years at primary school (“Isn’t he tall?” “Yes but he’s six, so he’s a bit older than your Ben” “Oh, I see”). Once, he flew to Beijing, where he was given his own seat, and charged half price as he was only six (keep up). One can only hope that he wasn’t sat next to a Brit, who would quite possibly have ‘tutted’ throughout the journey, introducing themselves just as the plane was coming in to land.
Roman Carel is an extremely charming and likeable French entrepreneur. Therefore he did not have to wait until the cabin lights were dimmed, to introduce himself to the equally charming Pamela Hartigan. They found themselves sitting next to each other several years ago, which is a stroke of luck as it ensured that last week, I meet the woman who for 8 years ran the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. Before our dinner at Home House, (where fellow guests included Image Source’s Duncan Grossart and Firefly Tonic’s Marcus Waley-Cohen) I read a recent speech of Pamela’s. In it she quotes David Green, founder of The Hearing Company and one of her favourite ‘unreasonable people’. Asked what motivated him, David had replied;
“My reasons are purely selfish. I figure I have been put on this earth for a very short period of time. I could apply my talents to making piles of money, but where would I be at the end of my lifetime? I would much rather be remembered for having made a significant contribution to improving the world into which I came than for having made millions.”
Big Bird would have LOVED this kind of thing.
Unreasonable people will be thick on the ground at the Intelligence Squared Festival on Climate change, co-directed by the excellent Edie Lush, and taking place on the 27th and 28th of September here in London. The line-up is looking good, with session titles including ‘How Long Have We Got?’, ‘Green is the New Black’ and a debate led by secondary school children. I met Nick Pisani this week, who has recently joined the team at IQ2 (clever, see?). The former editor of Question Time has the political rolodex needed to trigger a connected and controversial conversation, so pencil those dates in your diary for two days of (increasingly) heated debate. After all, it’s not easy being green.