I Give Up

What ho, world. Blessay or blissertation number three coming up in a moment. It has taken me a little longer than I had hoped to furnish the site with its third upload. There are reasons and I shall go through them quickly.

Why So Late? My first blog entry, Devices and Desires (see below) went some way towards expressing my extreme passion for things digital. It resulted in a very charming enquiry from the Guardian newspaper in London. Would I be interested in providing a weekly column on the subject of the gadget, the electronic doo-dad and the world of the gismoidal? I thought about this longish and hardish.

I wrote newspaper columns through much of the eighties and nineties, and enjoyed it greatly. But for all kinds of reasons I was more than happy to retire. Feeling stale, tiring of the deadlines, hating myself for manufacturing cheap, easy rants – the line of least resistance when you rack your brains for weekly copy is to think of something you hate. That way lies the death of the soul IM(not so)HO. All those feature columns with titles like J’Accuse, Bile, Spleen and so on. Nasty. Won’t Do. It all came to a head when an editor called me up and asked if I could do a “1200 word hate piece on Christmas”. Not a blush, not a murmur of apology. Time to reach for my hat and streak for the horizon, I felt. Plus, by this time I was pretty deeply into … ah, but wait, that’s for the main body of the blessay.

Anyway, the upshot of my longish and hardish thinking the other day was to reply with a ‘yes’. Five hundred or so words a week for the Saturday Guardian on the subject of geeky dorky toys, digital advances, lordly overviews of the online scene – just my bag. The ‘lead times’ for these magazines are bizarrely long, so I’ve had to provide a longer introductory article and the first two columns proper in advance. The writing of them has kept me from my blog table.

At the same time I have finished shooting the second series of Kingdom and now find myself in the United States of America on Day One of a great adventure: filming in every state of the union for a BBC documentary. My mode of transport of choice is a black London cab.

American Sunrise I was possibly the first person in America to see the sun this morning.

There’s a proud boast. I was standing on the harbour wall at Eastport, Maine staring out across the bay at a beautiful, beautiful sunrise. Eastport, Maine styles itself the easternmost city in America. The Lowestoft of the USA, if you will. There didn’t seem to be anyone else around so I allowed myself to believe that I was indeed the first to see the sun rise in America that day.

I took a picture to commemorate the event.

firstsunrise.gif

The land you see on the horizon there is actually Canada, where she twists round the topmost corner of Maine at Passamaquoddy Bay, so the picture is taken from as far east as you can go in the USA. Actually, that’s a moot point. Part of Alaskan territory (now water rather than ice) actually crosses the dateline or Antimeridian so in theory Alaska can be called the easternmost and westernmost state in America which is rather naughty of it, but there you are.

Meanwhile, back in Maine on the first day of my documentary filming, the Motel East, where the crew and I are staying, may be out of range of cellular phones but, mirabile dictu, it has wi-fi, so I am able to send this to my site. We start the actual filming this afternoon. I shall be hauling in lobster pots and looking stylish in a sou’wester. That’s the idea anyway. Probably heaving my guts up over the taff-rail, if they have such a thing.

I really enjoy making documentaries. Fearsome hard work, but deeply satisfying. After Manic Depression, HIV/AIDS and the life and work of Gutenberg (yet to be shown on BBC4 some time later in the year I think) a jaunt around every state of America may seem rather trivial or self-indulgent, but I hope that won’t be how it comes across. America is important. We have seen perhaps a little too much of British people going over to sneer at rednecks, laugh at freaks and wring their hands at nutters. The America I’ve visited (and I’ve crossed it before in traditional fashion; shiny red Mustang convertible, diner to diner, motel to motel. Very Bruce Dern) have always seemed to me to be more than ordinarily kind, friendly, hospitable, polite, thoughtful and honourable. Well, I’m visiting with an open mind but that has been my experience thus far. Maine for four nights, then New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York… you get the idea.

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This blog was posted in Blessays

292 comments on “I Give Up”

  1. cheekbones7 says:

    Chocolate… that was my main source of nutrition since infancy, till I quit it all at once – sugar, sex, dope, cigarettes, antidepressants. It’s been 2 years without any of those, and I’m just starting to shake out the boredom and really enjoy the clarity. Probably a bit radical, but that was my rebellion.
    It’s startling how cigarettes and writing are so intertwined. For me, more with academic work. I actually resorted to cashew nuts just to get things done. A whole new addiction to get rid of.

    Your insights are inspiring, as always, and have been my antidepressants for years now. A real source of strength and comfort, and frequently my rewarding “surging waves of bliss”.
    Thank you Stephen.

  2. funkster says:

    Very pleased to ead you’re giving up smoking. Hopefully this’ll mean we’ll have you on this mortal land for longer

  3. oboogie says:

    Hiya, Stephen, I think it is most excellent that you are traveling around the 50 states in your black cab. I live in the Land of Bill Clinton, also known as Arkansas.

    I am quite confident that my husband is the only person in the state from Norfolk, so it only seem right that you stop in our fair city of Fayetteville. And since you just stopped smoking, he promises not to offer you a loight, boy. Best, Jen xxx

  4. Susan says:

    Hmmmmm, chocolate! I can go without anything else. Whatever size box they’ll be gone in a day. They call to me… Softly melting, mouth tingling, orally orgasmic chocolate.

    Thanks for another great blessay. And to the question in the first paragragh “Am I simply weak?” What follows it disproves that idea. No weakness or whinging, but a lot of strength!

    In awe again :-)

  5. Looking forward to the new documentary, alongsied Michael Palin’s your’s are the only ones I make time to watch.
    Good to see you’re being healthy =] perhaps I should give it a go myself….on the other hand I may just develop a parsnip related addiction
    Much love xx

  6. Ash says:

    What a great blog. Surely this will become one of the most visited in the world?!

    I look forward to future your future entries – ;D

    As for addictions – yes, life really is dull without them – and I think that balance is key to them. But creative, indulgent personalities are unable to gauge balance correctly. The tap is either on or off. It can’t just trickle. Especially when there’s availability. Sir Bill Hicks put it well:

    Does anyone remember this, when Yul Bryner died, and came out with that commercial after he was dead?

    “I’m Yul Bryner and I’m dead now.”

    What the fuck’s this guy selling? I’m all ears. I’m Yul Bryner and I’m dead now, because I smoked cigarettes. Okay, pretty scary. But they coulda done that with anyone. They coulda done it with that Jim Fixx guy, too, remember that guy, that health nut who died while jogging? I don’t remember seeing his commercial!

    I’m Jim Fixx and I’m dead now. And I don’t know what the fuck happened. I jogged every day, ate nothing but tofu, swam five hundred laps every morning, and I’m dead. Yul Bryner drank, smoke, and got laid every night of his life. He’s dead. Shit! Yul Bryner’s smokin’, drinkin’, girls are sitting on his cueball noggin, every night of his life! I’m running around a dewy track at dawn. And we’re both fucking dead. Yul used to pass me on his way home in the morning, big long limousine, two girls blowing him, cigarette in one hand, drink in the other. “One day that life is going to get to you, Yul.”

    They’re both dead. Yeah, but what a healthy looking corpse you were, Jim. Look at the hamstrings on that corpse! Look at the sloppy grin on Yul’s corpse! Yul Bryner lived his life. Sure, he died a 78-pound stick figure, okay. There are certain drawbacks.

  7. robertas says:

    The latest installment of Stephen Fry Appreciation Monday :) Do pop by and where is the latest blessay? Guardian columns do not count as a blessay Mr. Fry… :)

    http://www.couchslobs.com/2007/11/stephen-fry-appreciation-monday-kingdom.html

  8. Typo says:

    If you’ve never been to Alaska before, research the weather a bit before going, especially if you intend to drive up. I’ve never driven the Alcan myself, but I’ve heard it can be harrowing in winter (which can extend well into May).

    The contiguous states almost seem to have something in common that Alaska and Hawaii lack; it’s like a coating, or maybe it’s some cultural aspect, but whatever it is, you can tell they’re the same country (I can’t speak for the South, but the rest of it certainly). You can tell just as readily that Alaska isn’t the same country. To illustrate, an ex of mine grew up in California, lived several years in New York, then spent two months wandering around Eastern and Mediterranean Europe speaking not a lick of anything but English, and immediately came from there to visit me in Alaska – he said it was “the most foreign fucking country [he'd] ever seen”. I don’t know if it’s ineffable or if you’ll even see what I’m talking about, but if there is something to it, I’m sure you’ll be able to put it into better words.

    In my lifetime, Anchorage has metamorphosed into an American city, and there’s a few-acre chunk of America that’s been deposited in a field on the outskirts of Fairbanks. People call Fairbanks a “military town” now, which is as inexcusable as it is factual. It’s hard to have sympathy for people complaining about America being colonized by Mexicans; if you can still have Manifest Destiny, why can’t they?

  9. Typo says:

    Also, congratulations on the health thing. I noticed you looked well on QI.

  10. MikeS says:

    “In 2006 Americans consumed an average of 25.5 pounds of candy; a two pound increase from 2001.”

    Some people just love graphing things. (Not me, particularly). However, this link is topical…and I stumbled on it just after reading your blessay. (Per capita consumption (lbs and $) of confectionery products, 2001-2006
    http://www.swivel.com/graphs/show/24179113)

    I’d say it’s a sign. a divine sign. A warning, perhaps. Actually that reminds me, I have some Revels that I must open now. I only wish the bars grew by 10% a year instead of shrinking like the Curly Wurly or classic Chomp.
    Or did I just grow bigger?

  11. not_the_famous_amanda_barrie says:

    Looking forward to the new series. One of my good friends has recently moved to Salem in Oregan. Not the famous Salem. My knowledge of American geography is sadly lacking, in part due to my jumping on the ‘we hate America’ bandwaggon as a student. However, I have done some research and apparently Portland, nearest city to Salem, is currently being tipped as the next Seattle of the music industry, ready to unleash the next big scruffy looking, drug-crazed, don’t-wanna-be-famous rock band out into the world.

    It may be cliche to say so, but these bands do leave many thinking that fags, booze and drugs are really quite cool; it does work, believe me! Don’t get me wrong, I reckon everyone needs a bit of rock in their life, and I’ve enjoyed many nights on all kinds of dance floors. But I hadn’t touched a drop or taken a drag before I heard ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’ by Oasis back in the mid-nineties, and I you can be assured that I have indulged in plenty of it (and more) since…

    I do admire people who kick the habits. Over the years I have done away with many vices, but I’m left with smoking and sweet things (cakes and cold desserts of various kinds mostly). I hadn’t ever considered what you mentioned about ‘daily highs and lows’ – that could be something for me to think about…

    More please Mr Fry sir, I enjoyed that immensely!

  12. Carrie Uff says:

    Portland (which is about an hour and a half north of Salem) does indeed have an excellent music scene. Not only can you find live music every night, there are a whole host of music festivals each year, including Musicfest Northwest and the Waterfront Blues Festival, one of the most famous Blues festivals in the U.S.

    One of my favorite Portland bands is The Decemberists. While not drug-crazed, they are a bit scruffy, in that nerdy-thick-framed-glasses-Portland-literati sort of way. I highly recommend anyone who takes the time to read this posting to check them out. Any band who can use the words fecundity and laudanum (and use them well) in a song are worth a listen.

    And since I doubt anyone is reading this… I am going to confess that I’m thirty years old and still hide that fact that I smoke from my parents. How pathetic is that?

  13. kimpertinent says:

    So if you’ve quit cigarettes and are cutting down sugar, does this mean you’ll be addicted to the zyban for the foreseeable future? Or will you replace it with the parsnips?!
    Am loving the column (I now have the gorgeous dilemma of which bit of the guardian to go to first – will it be living with teenagers?charlie’s rants about telly?or techie fry? ah choices, choices!) and to discover blessays at the end of a very long selfpitying insomniac night is truly a joy – especially when I’m persuading myself NOT to smoke (weed is addictive if you’re an insomniac who loves to sleep!)
    cheers

  14. Andy T says:

    @Ash – November 5th.

    Well said Ash, but let’s not forget that the sill missed Sir Bill Hicks himself died of Cancer.

  15. jamest says:

    For what it’s worth, addiction is, in my view, genetic. I’ve just created my first Dynamic DNS and God was it exciting… and now I want to create a thousand more. Instead I’ll sip my beer and reflect on the fate of my alcoholic great-grandfather and the legacy he’s left me. I hate to diss, but you’re column, while wonderful, is a painful reminder of all the gadgetry I can’t afford. Any chance of a cheapo, eBay, secondhand gems of technology thingy?

  16. amyl_nitrate says:

    Another wonderful blessay. It was a joy to read. I totally empathise with your description of sweets being a manifestation of the divine. I feel the same about desserts, chocolate, biscuits (the most addictive substance of all I can go through a whole packet and still not feel satisfied, as a child you couldn’t leave me alone with a box of Fingers or Kit Kats or they’d be gone in the blink of an eye), ice cream, buns, muffins, hell food in general it doesn’t have to be sweet. It really is an addiction. The cravings, the rush, the shame and guilt afterwards when you realise you gave into your cravings and you could’ve said no and ignored it. But it rarely ever get’s ignored. The worst is when you crave something so much and you finally get it and it disappoints. It’s funny when that happens. Something that can usually taste so good taste like shit for no particular reason at all. It’s like a disgusting waste in your mouth and you feel really bad for eating it as well. Breaking away is so tough. I was managing so well a few years ago, keeping control of my eating habits but this year it’s all gone to hell. Keep going with your break away from your addictions and don’t look back. You should be proud of quitting smoking and the rest. I look forward to your next blessay.

  17. charlie buzzhead says:

    Bloody ‘ell. I’m glad I stumbled across this page.

    I’m strapped to the metaphorical Catherine Wheel at the moment – my head is buzzing so much. I stopped smoking three and a half weeks ago, and gave up coke 7 and a half months ago. I haven’t had any cravings for cigarettes but I can’t stop bloody crying.

    I know that I have trained myself over many years to expect instantaneous rewards. Nose powder, gob sticks, liquorice, liquor on ice, anything that gives me what I demand – right now!

    So, I suppose the tears I’m having are coming from the spoilt little brat inside me who is screaming out for a reward. This is the first time in 15 years I haven’t indulged in any addictive substances. And my body, at the moment, does not know whether to believe it or not.

    Thanks so much to everyone for their comments – it’s slowed down the washing-machine head for a very welcome interlude.

  18. west_haven says:

    Congratulations on quiting smoking! What a massive change in one’s life & daily habits that must be! And for starting to get sugar out of your diet too.

    I’ve found that wheat and other starchy white grains are triggers for sugar cravings for me. When I eliminate the grains, the need for sugar goes away. I don’t know how universal this connection is, but one could try eliminating wheat etc. & seeing what happens . . .

    Thank you, Mr. Fry, for these blessays and your other writing & interviews as well – not only is your writing always a joy to read, but your willingness to publicly analyze your own innards & workings is a help & support to those of us puttering along in the haze.

    Have you considered posting the itinerary of your America trip here? That way, if you’re coming to a particular area (say, Northern Coastal California – redwoods, Headwaters Forest, Pacific Ocean, Roosevelt elk, environmental issues galore . . . how could you resist?!), we can all be on the lookout, cameras at the ready, for your taxi!

  19. NAGA says:

    Being a fellow baby boomer, I’d just like to say – it is the likes of you and I and our diligent intake of sugar, that made the British Dentist what he or she is today. Rich.

    Which reminds me. I let one of them pull out a tooth that was giving me grief only to find, when I looked at it in the Dentist’s hand, it was white and the picture of tooth health. I subsequently worked out it was simply, a damn malingerer.

  20. Bob says:

    That taxi is awesome and totally random.Well done with the smoking!!!
    I sort of understand the sugar stuff, I was anorexic before bipolar (well I’ve been told by someone that I’m probably bipolar, but have to wait for ages to see someone who can actually diagnose anything) so I didn’t eat anything at all sugary for a couple of years. Now I eat literally nothing but sugary stuff (and crisps). Which I know, is totally unhealthy, but… Anyway…
    Thanks for keeping a *** .
    I Love QI, Blackadder and the HP tapes.

  21. Kim Grayson says:

    I hope you enjoy exploring each state in the union. I apologize in advance for Alabama. There are actually a lot of perfectly nice, intelligent, interesting people here. It’s just that they’re not easy to find. Mostly because they’re outnumbered and so have gone into hiding, I think.

    I relate closely to what you’ve said here about addictions. I’m only 27, but I’ve smoked since I was fourteen and I’ve struggled with overeating for what seems like forever. I also developed a fondness for Darvoset and other painkillers in my late teens, and I flirted with a drinking problem a few years ago.

    Interestingly enough, I think I found out WHY by watching your documentary on manic depression. (Thanks, by the way.) Richard Dreyfuss, during your interview with him, was talking about how his medication made him feel. He said something about feeling as if he’d been letterboxed…as if the very top and very bottom had been taken out, and someone had told him he could live in the middle.

    Now, I don’t think I’m manic-depressive, but I do spend the vast majority of my time ricocheting between soul-numbing boredom and extreme irritation. I’m great in a crisis, but the day-to-day stuff? I either get so incredibly bored with it that I stop making an effort, or I get so incredibly irritated by it that no one can tolerate being around me. I only have two gears: sullen or snappish.

    The cigarettes and the food give me a way to kill time. The pills and the alcohol take the edge off the irritation. I don’t know for certain, of course, but I think that I may form addictions in a misguided attempt to find what Mr. Dreyfuss did with his meds. A way to live in the middle.

    I’ve stopped drinking and taking the pills, and I’ve started eating sensibly. I still smoke, but I’m working on it. I’m also working on finding some other, less destructive, ways to stay in the middle. I do feel better these days, but that in itself is hard to adjust to. It’s like I’m having to relearn how to navigate the world. I do have some days where I wonder if all this change means that I’m not really ME anymore.

    Then I trip over absolutely nothing or bite the inside of my cheek. Yep…still me.

  22. nearly dunne says:

    dear stephen

    i enjoy your cerebral interjections and intelligent yet somewhat engaging naivety. i am myself a bluff northerner, son of an itinerant irishman, blagging my way through life as a professional. i admire your candor and forthright approach and hope that you do not lose your verve for life and its strange irrelevancies

  23. Ellie says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! You are right to suppose that others will have experienced the same as you. I have always been addicted to sweeties and still am at age 41. Sweets have changed since the 70s but I still devour sweet cigarettes (now candy sticks), only now in multipacks. I used to love chocolate flavour cheroots (like long, brown candy sticks) but can’t find them anywhere these days.

    My addiction stemmed from a combination of comfort and bribery. Youngest of four, my siblings would bribe me with sweets to keep me quiet when they had hurt me during boisterous play, which occurred almost daily. I was a tiny stick-figure of a girl. Later, I knew I had a problem when I got almost hysterically angry on the way home from school when my sister refused to buy me a can of coke, even though she had the money. If I’d have been bigger, I think I would have mugged her for the fix money.

    Anyway, I smoked form teenage until 3 weeks ago when I decided to stop. The first week was relatively easy, but I have gradually found that I am no longer capable of engaging in my work (self-employed) or anything else for that matter. Tears of frustration and mild hysterics led me (and my partner) to wonder if giving up is a good idea at this moment in time. I have a recent history (2 years) of anxiety and this was messing me up more than I could imagine. I have replaced cigarettes with sweet food and have polished off no less than 36 bags of Iced Gems in the last 72 hours.

    So, thank you for enlightening me with your own experiences. It explained a lot for me – especially having just procrastinated and lit up a cigarette. I already feel more lucid than I have of late and my Iced Gem consumption has dropped to within “normal” parameters this evening. I am armed with more knowledge for next time.

  24. Petula Pemphole says:

    There is nothing to apologies for, really. I am very deeply and immensely grateful for your sharing the addictions story. Nothing in common with dreadful self-pitying whine, Mr.Fry.

    The funny thing to add is the my maniacally addictive searching for methods to quit addiction. Gum, pills, patches, cold turkey, systematic schedule to reduce smoking till the logical end, hypno, patches again, cold turkey, etc. Guess what? I am still smoking. I am tired to smoke and tired to quit. Well, that is the dreadful self-pitying whine, Mr.Fry :)

    Maybe Addiction is just the the state of mind? And all one can do is to find a relevant (not health-abuse) target to apply addiction?

    Have a good time in US!
    Looking forward to your new documentary.

    Very best wishes

  25. dionblaster says:

    Dear Mr Fry

    Thank you for this fascinating insight into your particular relationship with addictive substances and behaviour. Congratulations especially, on kicking the three narcotics that you mentioned. However you did mention a fourth vice. So after finding that you no longer have a need for self-medicating, do you still find yourself self-loving like a viagra fuelled chimp?

    yours

    D Blaster

  26. crayester says:

    Mr. Fry, I like your mode of transportation to get around the states. I did read about your broken arm and hope it heals quickly so you can travel soon.

    USA

  27. JSKanga84 says:

    Eschewing my suspicions that you probably haven’t looked at all of these comments, I’m compelled to add my own 2 cents’ worth. As admirable as your victories over smoking and cocaine, I’m personally struck by your triumph over sugar.
    I’m a lifelong lover of anything and everything sweet. I can finish an entire batch of cookies in a matter of minutes, a whole pan of brownies in a day; I once polished off an entire half gallon of coffee ice cream all in one sitting. This is no exaggeration, and still something I struggle with daily, I’m sad to say. Simply staying away from sweets is not an option for me, since I’m a baker.
    Eh, such is life.
    In your travels across America, I recommend a visit to Austin and College Station, TX.

  28. Crusader says:

    Nice read. Thank you Mr. Fry!

    I’ve been wondering wheter I have some sort of anti-tobacco-addiction gene in me that prevents me from getting addicted to tobacco.
    I’ve been a passive smoker for as long as I can remember, my father being the smoker in the house – still is and I still get very cross about it to him – oh the hypocrisy. But it used to be real and entitled anger. I didn’t want to get those kind of lugns my teacher used to show us in biology classes nor did I ever want my father to die because of it.

    Anyway, at some point I somehow adopted this habit. I carry it with me but it doesn’t matter how many I smoke or how frequently per day, I can just the same stop and not smoke or think about the taste and the smell and the momentary flow it gives.

    But then again there’s candy. The start of all good and evil. Whole different cup of tea for me.

  29. Susan P. says:

    How I empathise however, I fear the publication of my truths and would find it appallingly dishonest to simply change nicks and post my ‘truth’ in disguise (so to speak). Suffice to say that as I sit and keyboard away (funny how the word ‘typing’ seems so at odds now) I also experience the deep hidden motif of “I could accomplish this if I have.. ” because then my nervous, aware self tends to fade and the stronger, creative self seems to come better to the fore. I have pushed most of my addictions away but I feel almost angry like a child that I cannot have! How embarrassing it is to cry and wail and feel I am a lost hopeless human being who cannot complete a task…simply because something so….(insert word here)… is out of reach.

  30. Ame says:

    I was so delighted to hear about your documentary on the whole US. Most do not even bother with my state(Alaska). Or even think its a part of the US. I wonder what you will be doing in Alaska? Well, I hope you make a quick visit to my University at least if you fly into Anchorage, Or are you driving through from the lower 48? I’m really hope to see you black cab around town. I fear you will have a problem driving it all through Alaska, as there are certain areas where you need to fly in. But I very much doubt you will have time to discover all of what Alaska has to offer, seeing as it is such a large landmass. I think I will be then only one in Alaska who knows who you are.(That was a little egotistical of me ,but probably true.) So I really hope to run into you sometime.Although, I’m afraid that I will sound like a stuttering idiot.You must forgive me if that happens.

  31. jana says:

    Loved this article so much I decided to join in.

    Damn you! for mentioning sugar coated coconut tobacco, which comes in wax paper and makes your mouth water at the mere thought.Is it still available or will I have to go online and order a whole batch?Fry you are incorrigible and I hate you!

    Seriously,good luck, your article is so readable and gives such an insight to those who crave anything,yes including sweets! Now where the hell is my last tunnocks snowball?

  32. Val says:

    There is a theory open to criticism which no absolute doubt, it will meet soon, that alcoholics don’t like sweet things.
    Therefore, maybe one takes a choice at some stage as to which addiction to espouse.
    For one must have an addiction and sweets, or cigarettes, are going to cause less trouble to everyone else, than one’s alcohol fix.
    It’s not often that someone who has eaten several bars of Fruit and Nut or smoked several cigarettes, is going to stagger through the door with his underpants on his head and bread sticks in his ears…..
    Sweets are not a bad addiction for onlookers to suffer through.

  33. friend4vr says:

    Stephen,

    Believe I can relate to your previous addiction to sweets. I am chocoholic on a grand scale. I can’t go a minute without thinking about chocolates. Sometimes I would spend my last penny on a choclate bar or cake. I admire your determination and sucess of kicking the sweets and cigarettes, and especially coke habit. I have always admired your work and love all of the comedy shows you have done with Hugh (Laurie). As far as I am concerned you two are the best comedy duo ever.

    Keep up the good work.

    Jacqueline

    P.S. My mom loved from the moment she saw on Jeeves and Wooster. You remind her of her old boyfriend.

  34. Helena S says:

    Belated thanks for that Bi-Polar documentary: it aired 2 weeks after my own diagnosis of the same. I’d known it for years, of course, but it takes longer for those with prescription pads to spot it. Now on Duloxetine with a dash of trifluoperazine to stop me going too high….

    Aahhh… ciggies…. yes. I got stuck on the nicotene gum for longer than I had actually smoked. Still struggling to kick the choccie biccie habit though… never connected that with mood… must seriously abandon them and see what difference it makes.

    Hope the arm is recovering well.

    :^)

  35. Anick14 says:

    Welcome to the states, though you’re probably gone by now. I really hope you had a decent time while here in Wisconsin, though that may have been impossible if you were here in the winter (schools were closed because it was too cold, roughly -35!).

    I can’t wait for this documentary to come out. I highly doubt I will ever get the chance to travel the country like you have, but your films have always had a real feel to them so watching this one will be a great substitute.

  36. groovyaardvark says:

    Stephen, I saw your frigin’ cab in Philadelphia! but have only just relized it was yours. My girlfriend and I, both Australians who now live in the US, were walking along (south street i think?) and we were like whoa! left hand drive London style cab! Who would have the balls to drive that here?! I imagine the steering wheel staying on the left would complicate matters even more when driving on the opposite side of the road. If I had only known it was you! I certainly would have taken a photo and sent it in. My girlfriend (your biggest fan) is absolutely kicking herself now, as to am I.

    We cannot wait for the next session of QI, and all your other awesome-ness…

    Cheers,

    Leigh

  37. nonoyesyes says:

    OMG! This was such an insight into something that plagued me for years…. the smoke-coffee-chatty-living-working thing.
    I was FORCED to quite having a pair of lungs that were on a big protest, and had decided to shut off the little air sacs so that I felt like I was suffercating from within!
    So you might say I was lucky (in a way that is) that good old mother nature sent me this evil effect early in the piece to force my hand…
    But with the writing thing; now that was a very different story!
    A few years ago, I sat down at a computer, and began to write.
    OMGosh…..WHERE did this come from?! I had never written a word ~ well other than hello, goodbye, and how’s things type of writing (ie. letter writing) so this came as a total shock!
    I’d get up in the morning, and go straight to the computer; with a cup of tea, pens, and a box of tissues (for some reason typing makes me cloggy in the snoot) and off I’d go….
    At around 4pm one afternoon, I stepped back from myself, and realised that I had been typing since 7am that morning!
    Still dressed in PJs, and not a tap of any other thing done that day… This went on for weeks! And after I’d finished my story, I found then I had a peculiar habit of editing my own work; self correcting till I felt I would surely have to tear out my hair…
    Over and over and over ……….. 3 or 4 years on, with the manuscripts shoved cruely into a drawer that was too small….
    I had left it on the shelf ~ for another time, another place.
    But the desire to write came back to haunt me, and I found myself GLUED to the computer once more….
    And then, the MOMENT came when (drum roll) THE COMPUTER WENT DOWN…..
    AHA! I know….(I thought) I will take a pen and a reem of A4 crisp white paper, and WRITE IT OUT BY HAND….
    CLANG!!!!!!
    That was when I made my discovery…. without the computer I was mute…. numb….. totally unable to write a SINGLE WORD!
    OMGosh! What was that about?! But to this day, unless I am on the computer, I cannot for the life of me, write!
    So your addiction ~ the must-have-cigg-to-write is MY must-have-computer-to-write syndrome!
    hahaha! I’m laughing because it’s so WEIRD but it’s true, never the less!
    An excellent blog; one filled to the brim with a snapshot peek into the facinating world of creative art…
    Thank you so much for sharing too… I’ve known ~ or should I say, been very fond of quite a few selebs…. but there is not always the option to get to KNOW those people, to be able to write upon their blog (if indeed they keep a blog) nor does there seem to be many that open their hearts to the general public, and encourage interexchange of ideas thoughts abberations and more besides!
    Above all, thank you for your incredible ability to bring about a great camaraderie, via the internet pages! ((-_-))

  38. nonoyesyes says:

    p.s.
    re: “The land you see on the horizon there is actually Canada, where she twists round the topmost corner of Maine at Passamaquoddy Bay”

    WOW….. BEAUTIFUL photo…
    You could almost imagine what it was like to be there…..
    I felt I was THERE …….
    What is the defininition of serenity?
    Your photo!

  39. 1adirarox says:

    I find eating those little individual applesauce containers while writing to be a tremendous help

  40. ravenna55 says:

    Can’t give up the sugar, coca cola is my drug of choice. I’m putting my dentists kids through college.

  41. KaiPage says:

    You are quite brilliant, Stephen.

    You also have the most remarkable understanding of your own psychology, something that I admire very much in people. Going a bit off topic, I think it’s something more people should take time to get to grips with; it may help the human race in many ways.

    Also; sugar addiction, I sympathise with you there. I have had an eating disorder for many years- not, primarily, in the sense that I want to be thin (though that was a part of it too) and it’s funny because the things I did live on were the sweet things. They were very much an addiction, and as much as I wanted to stop eating all together, I couldn’t resist this indulgence.

    Anyway, I shall shush now!

  42. FryQI says:

    Dear Stephen…….You have to be the one person I can honestly say is the most articulate,grammatically awesome etc etc person I know(not personally of course)
    I joined Twitter hoping to receive a Tweet from your good self.Alas not as yet but I understand the pressure you must be under.I love poetry and find this is ,the majority of the time,how I can express my feelings.You say in your book,” The ode less travelled ” that your poetry is personal and the road you yourself decided not to venture down.I feel the same about mine too,however,for you to glane at one of my poems would be a cataclysmic honour . I appreciate you get so many people begging you for the same.Me….It’s not for recognition,I dont want my thoughts published or anything,just for the person I admire the most to give me an opinion.My site is http://zoe-tis-me.weebly.com/the poem in question is “Praying for time”To me it would be like T.S.Elliot reading it…….Here’s hoping?? Love your new cab by the way….such a cute little smile in the twitter pic!!
    Much love
    Zoe

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