Monday, 24 September 2007

Deconstructing Stephen Part 1


A certain luminary has recently been attracting widespread interest with his first foray into the world of blogging. This man is no other than Mr Stephen Fry; actor, TV presenter, author, celebrated celibate, and all-round good egg. Mr Fry has surprised some recently by the revelation that, added to the already impressive list above, he is also a confirmed geek. There is, I am certain, a multitude of bloggers who would give their right arms and eye teeth to have received the attention he did for his post on (ostensibly) the Apple iPhone. Perhaps I am being a little churlish there, but to me there is a suspicion (denied in the specific sense by Stephen. Quote: “I hereby offer a few remarks – to show that I am not in Apple’s fee, and do have a totally independent way of looking at these things.”) of a little puff for the Holy Apple Corporation (who are bigger than elephants, but still seem to be given a leg-up by all and sundry without seeming to need it) in this technology piece.

Here, I feel I need to be as honest as SF in professing my own areas of interest, so as to try and accurately frame my angles and deflect any suggestions of envy or personal enmity on my part. I am - along with what appears to be the vast majority of that most difficult to please audience - the online community, a fan of Stephen’s output (The Liar being perhaps a notable exception. Even this small straying from the path may not be as clear-cut as it seems, as I read the book some time ago. I remember not being bowled over, but will need to re-read it to confirm my feelings. Once done, dear reader, I will offer an update of my opinion, along with some criticism of SF’s other written works, my knowledge of which is sadly lacking. However, even his initials – SF – are the signifier of a deeper love I hold) more or less from its very beginnings. Blackadder was unassailably brilliant, despite the presence of Miranda Richardson. A Bit of Fry and Laurie was quality TV comedy. It fitted nicely into the post Python, NTNO’CN world with its ‘soupy twist’ tagline and musical routines. Whose Line… was required viewing most (if not all) Friday nights, along with Cheers, and Fry played the intellectual – with his deliberately stilted musical pieces most memorable – very well. Jeeves & Wooster left me a little cold (Wodehouse’s humour is somewhat laboured and rather repetitive I feel) but his radio stuff was great (I confess to not listening to Just A Minute, or I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue anywhere near enough) and his panel appearances during the halcyon days of the Angus Deayton hosted HIGNFY were always good. QI = FB. Nuff said.

It is hard to take exception to Stephen’s profession that he was ‘born to play’ Oscar Wilde. There are too many parallels with the great man to be ignored. Wilde was a very good movie indeed, and Fry’s performance was excellent. He was fine as The Book in Disney’s H2G2, but I have such a long history with this work that I am unable to objectively offer a critique beyond that. Subjectivity of the worst sort, but I just prefer Peter Jones (RIP). I can’t help it - yes, I am aware of SF’s long standing friendship with Douglas Adams, and no, the fact that he hails from Shropshire has nothing to do with it – I just do.

I have never subscribed to the old lit. crit. saw that we must separate the author from his/her work if we are to offer a proper criticism of the work. Saussure and Roland Barthes saw to that for me. Call me contrary. And anyway, it’s a lot of fun reading about (or watching) the details of a personal life and seeing how these impact upon, or are impacted by, the art created within that life. So, SF has amused me with his quips on celibacy, has encouraged me with his quiet yet forceful stance on homosexuality, and has inspired with his openness on bipolar disorder. He is, and there really is no other expression which sums it up as well, which I hope goes some way to mitigate using it twice, a good egg. Long may he run.

Now, the other key strand: Apple Macintosh. Though I cannot begin to compete with Stephen’s statement that he owned ‘the second Mac in England’, I am a Mac user at home, and when I started out in office work, Apple was the machine of choice (I often reflect on my good luck in falling into that company for my first real work in London, and not just because they used Macs) I am a fanboy, though having 10 on the go at once seems a little like overkill, and I subscribe to the usual sentiments expressed by my fellow travellers, to wit: Macs are more beautiful, more user friendly, and essentially more human than PCs. They cost more, it is true, but the outlay is worth it, in terms of longevity alone. We are also, even in the face of more and more Jeremiahs, still safer than our Bill Gates oppos. I do get misty-eyed when I remember playing Dark Castle or Glider on an old SE, even as I stare in wonder at the seeming global domination, first of the iPod and now of the iPhone. And therein lies the problem for me. These days, it seems that we are unable to move without bumping into yet another piece about the damned iPhone, or iPod Touch. I admit to following Mac Rumors on Twitter, and have seen 7 tweets in a single day. The phone has been blended, hacked, whacked and wanked over ad infinitum, while Jobs and Co run around with the goalposts in their hand, trying to hoover up the known universe.

4 comments:

EP said...

Oh boy, you are SO wrong about Miranda Richardson.

And anyway what the hell did you do with that hamster you freak?!

Myeral said...

Only the acting, you know. The hamster is indestructible and vicious as hell

ep said...

I had a huge crush on her as that character. I don't know what that says about me and prefer not to speculate.

Myeral said...

Best not.