There is a small part of me, sitting far to close to my ego, which is convinced I could write something brilliant/hilarious/moving for TV or Radio. It’s wrong, should you think you may expect something from me in the next few years. Every time I come into contact with the geniuses (genii?) I admire a spark ignites once more and I become delirious with ‘creativity’. Then hours pass, I read a book and become reticent. Realistically I’m a reader not a writer, all imagination and no action.
Stephen Fry is one of those individuals that takes me from self-revolted 28-year-old to narcissistic bright young thing.
More Fool Me is Fry’s third memoir. Every time I prepare myself to buy a new one I become irrationally annoyed. Why am I only getting to read a segment of his life, rather than beginning to present day? Then I remember I’m getting annoyed about not knowing the personal details of a person’s life and mentally slap myself. Then I feel weird about reading the personal details of someone’s life while secretly enjoying the process of understanding someone I admire. Memoirs and Autobiographies are more stressful to read than you would imagine – that or I am slightly ridiculous. I imagine it is the latter. Essentially I feel a portion of guilt every time I read about someone else. Having to acknowledge that a perverse part of me is incredibly nosy and likes to know more than I am willing to give back.
But, enough about me. The Fry Chronicles, Fry’s second memoir, was the first book I ‘reviewed’ back in 2012. It’s not my best ‘review’, I think all I did was moan that he wasn’t sharing the elements of his life I wanted to know. The selfish bastard.
Fry is writes beautifully in More Fool Me and drew me in in a way that he hadn’t in The Fry Chronicles. I laughed, I cringed, I ‘ooo-ed’ and I ‘ahh-ed’. It is a terribly good memoir, half reflection half diary entries (from the early 90s beginning just as Fry turns 36). I read various bits aloud to my sister that I knew she would recognise: Fry rescuing the manuscript of Sense and Sensibility from Emma Thompson’s dying Mac computer. And his lamenting that she hadn’t a role in mind for him.
It was a reminder that Fry lives a life far removed my my own, though he neither acts as if he is deserved nor apologies for his success. If anything, much as his previous memoir did, More Fool Me reminds me that if I am to succeed I must take action, fortune will rarely land in your lap.
I forget how much I like Fry until I have the opportunity to read him. A reminder that just because someone is in the public eye, it doesn’t mean you know them, or have a right to them or their time.
As the papers have relished talking about, Stephen was in the possession of a particularly nasty cocaine addiction during this period. The places he has snorted charlie made me giggle, and (luckily) in no way tempted me into an expensive habit. Mental health has yet to be touched on, but considering his diagnosis occurred post 1993 I suspect this period of his life was the lead up to the storm.
Do read More Fool Me, Fry is rather marvellous.