Stephen Fry on Language
While assembling the accounts and inventories of the past year that the IRS wants for some reason or other, I have spent an excessive amount of that time with a TV on. I have gone through an incredible number of season box sets and the like. After finishing Season Two of House M.D. I thought it would be interesting to break things up with A Bit of Fry and Laurie. It was somewhere in season one that the above gem appears. Watch it twice. It’s brilliant. I’ll wait.
When Stephen Fry got to the part about language being his whore and his mistress, I suddenly remembered a similar (and more scholarly, and not) speech he gave as a ‘podgram‘ a little over a year ago. It’s a bit longer, perhaps not as funny, and is essential listening if you are a nutter like me who likes to read Kenneth Grahame or Evelyn Waugh aloud because the words are just put together so damn good. He even references this sketch with Hugh Laurie in it.
Here’s the super-awesome bit written down for you:
Language is my mother, my father, my husband, my brother, my sister, my whore, my mistress, my check-out girl… language is a complimentary moist lemon-scented cleansing square or handy freshen-up wipette. Language is the breath of God. Language is the dew on a fresh apple, it’s the soft rain of dust that falls into a shaft of morning light as you pluck from a old bookshelf a half-forgotten book of erotic memoirs. Language is the creak on a stair, it’s a spluttering match held to a frosted pane, it’s a half-remembered childhood birthday party, it’s the warm, wet, trusting touch of a leaking nappy, the hulk of a charred Panzer, the underside of a granite boulder, the first downy growth on the upper lip of a Mediterranean girl. It’s cobwebs long since overrun by an old Wellington boot.
Here is the full transcript.
You can get the whole episode on iTunes (Series One, Episode two)