The Fry Chronicles: An Autobiography
As a fan of British comedies and of the 1980’s, it would be hard to pass on this delightful memoir by Stephen Fry. Fry starts where his previous memoir “Moab Is My Washpot” leaves off. He’s fresh out of jail and headed for Queen’s College in Cambridge. His experiences in College couldn’t be more different than mine. It seems he did little but put on plays and have fun. I’m quite jealous. He tells wonderful stories without coming off as a braggart, in fact if the book has a fault it is the writer’s self-doubts. Fry takes some joy in sharing his addictions. In this book they are harmless. I can’t complain about the time spent in British theater for the details that bog down those sections make the sections on British television sing. I found the book a pleasure to read.
Excerpts From My Kindle
There are young men and women up and down the land who happily (or unhappily) tell anyone who will listen that they don’t have an academic turn of mind, or that they aren’t lucky enough to have been blessed with a good memory, and yet can recite hundreds of pop lyrics and reel off any amount of information about footballers, cars and celebrities. Why? Because they are interested in those things. They are curious. If you are hungry for food you are prepared to hunt high and low for it. If you are hungry for information it is the same. Information is all around us, now more than ever before in human history. You barely have to stir or incommode yourself to find things out. The only reason people do not know much is because they do not care to know. They are incurious. Incuriosity is the oddest and most foolish failing there is. – location
When people complain that they don’t know any literature because it was badly taught at school, or that they missed out on history because on the timetable it was either that or biology, or some such ludicrous excuse, it is hard not to react in the same way. ‘But it’s all around you!’ I want to scream. ‘All you have to do it bend down and pick it up!’ What on earth people think their lack of knowledge of the Hundred Years War, or Socrates, or the colonization of Batavia has to do with school I have no idea. As one who was expelled from any number of educational establishments and never did any work at any of them, I know perfectly well that the fault lay not in the staff but in my self that I was ignorant. – location
‘I’m really sorry, Dr Holland, but I’m still trying to engage with the eschatology of Paradise Lost. I think I’ll take another week to come to terms with it.’ It is shameful and lowering to confess how I would mine dictionaries of literary and philosophical terms for words like eschatology, syncresis and syntagmatic. ‘Fine, fine. Take your time.’ – location
Wine can be a wiser teacher than ink, and banter is often better than books. – location
Hugh, Emma, Tony, Paul, Penny and I arrived at the BBC for the televising of The Cellar Tapes at exactly the time Ben Elton, Lise Mayer and Rik Mayall were putting the finishing touches to the Young Ones scripts and Peter Richardson, Ade Edmondson, Rik, Dawn French, Jenny Saunders and Robbie Coltrane were preparing to shoot the Comic Strip film Five Go Mad in Dorset. It is hardly surprising that we felt a little like the New Seekers sharing the bill with the Sex Pistols. – location