Stephen Fry and fame

Stephen FryIn my small quest to make the "greatest living Englishman"* ever so slightly more famous I ask you all to both say, "Stephen Fry" and thus prove his point and then visit his blog posting, Let Fame, to find out what just happened.

Be warned, it is a blessay ("blog essay") of epic proportions and will use all the ink in your computer screen to display - I have yet to find the bottom if it all.

Key quotes (for me at least) so far - expect updates as I continue reading:
Fame has this unusual property. It exists only in the mind of others. It is not an intrinsic characteristic, feature or achievement. Fame is wholly an exterior construct and yet, for all that it is defined by other people’s knowledge of a given person, they cannot dismantle or deactivate the fame that their knowledge engenders. What an ugly sentence. I mean this. We cannot, however much we may want to, make someone unfamous.

I can’t blame Jade Goody for the fact that I know her name. Many famous people may well be guilty of being ambitious for fame, for ‘hunting after it all their lives’ as in the quotation above, but while I could be guilty of wanting everyone in Britain to send me ten pounds such an ambition is useless unless others are foolish enough to realise it for me. It is our curiosity, admiration, idolatry, envy, rage, resentment or obsession that privileges the famous with their fame and the only way we can take it away from them is by forgetting.

Or, as student journalists always ask, what’s it like? ‘What’s it like working with Natalie Portman, what’s it like doing QI, what’s it like being famous?’ ... I used to try getting surreal when asked the question and say things like ‘being famous is like wearing blue pyjamas at the opera. It’s like kissing Neil Young, but only on Wednesdays. It’s like a silver disc gummed to the ear of a wolverine. It’s like licking crumbs from the belly of a waitress called Eileen. It’s like lemon polenta cake but slightly wider. It’s like moonrise on the planet Posker.’ I mean honestly. What’s it like?? Stop it at once.


‘I’d put up with any amount of shit if I was paid that much.’ Would you indeed, how noble of you. I’ve seen enough of the very famous close up, film stars, sportsmen and musicians, to know it’s a pretty miserable fate. Happy superstars are a rare sight. Not many seem to want to believe that, but it’s true.


* other's have included Spike Milligan (go with the phrase not the actual nationality, please), Willie Rushton and Michael Eavis


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