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This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Love of Words - Wry Fry

I spent a wet Saturday afternoon happily watching England’s most beloved and best performer/writer in action – namely Stephen Fry. The 50 Not Out video gives an excellent sense of Fry’s various roles over the past 4 decades – and why the British public (with very few exceptions) love him so much. I certainly do.
I would be interested to know how well his dry wit carries across cultural divides. I will never forget the incomprehending reaction of an Italian friend to a short clip I showed of the wild Scots comic – Billy Connelly. And it wasn’t so much a question of the West of Scotland accent as the subject matter, perspective and delivery!
Fry’s acclaimed role as the butler Jeeves in the televised series of the PG Wodehouse novels about the relationship between a butler and a “toff” in the 1920s might, similarly, seem a bit restricted in its appeal – delightful as it certainly is to a British audience.
His solo performance for more than hour at Sydney Royal Opera House is simply stunning – his intelligence and goodness come across so strongly even in front of such a large audience.
His Amsterdam talk to a more typical small group  is even more touching. Anyone who encourages reading and a love of words - let alone self-deprecation - is a hero in my terms.
He has been a prolific writer of essays from an early age – and has been very frank about aspects of his life which most people would rather hide. It took some time for his “manic-depressive” condition to be properly recognised – and his TV documentary on the secret life of a manic depressive must have helped a lot of people who suffer from this condition. He has even written a book about the writing of poetry.   

Talking of good and fair writing, the extended New Yorker editorial of Obama is a good exemplar.

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