OTBC: An open letter to all who despise sport and most especially football

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An open letter to all who despise sport and most especially football

My love of all kinds of sport surprises nobody more than myself. I do not think there has ever been a schoolboy with such overmastering contempt, fear, dread, loathing, and hatred for “games” – for sport, exercise, gymnastics and physical exertions of all or any kinds. Every day I would wake up with a sick jolt wondering just how I might get out of that day’s compulsory rugby, cricket, hockey, swimming or whatever foul healthy horror was due to be posted on the notice-board that morning. The catalogue of multiple lies, evasions, self-imposed asthma attacks and other examples at what Edwardian school fiction characterised as “lead-swinging”, malingering and “cutting”. All the acts of a cad, a swine, a rotter, an outsider and a beast.


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Showgirl Fry

After a gap of twenty years I have rediscovered my love of stage musicals.

I owe a lot to the form. It was the almost unbelievably fortunate circumstance of being asked while still in my 20s to update the book of Me and My Girl that gave me financial independence. “Book”, incidentally, is the jargon term for the written bits of a show that aren’t music or lyrics: the story and dialogue, in other words.

There are plenty who seem to feel that musicals are a low art form, something for the ignorant masses not to be uttered in the same breath as legitimate theatre, opera or ballet. Nor indeed, the same people would have us believe, are songs from the shows comparable in quality, authenticity or artistry to rock and roll, jazz, blues, hip hop and other popular modes. The songbooks of Porter, Berlin, Gershwin, Kern and early Richard Rodgers might be excluded from this anathema because their connection to staged musical comedy is all but forgotten and their songs can be accorded the status of swing and jazz standards.


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Two Million Reasons To Be Cheerful

Tweet, Drink and Be Merry

An open letter to @mobijack

Dear @mobijack

“Eat shit, a hundred billion flies can’t be wrong,” the old graffito used to say. “Follow Stephen, two million tweeters can’t be wrong,” I say.

Now, it so falls out that you are the two millionth person to follow me on Twitter. I do not know, cannot guess and have no business asking your reasons for doing so. It may be that you know who I am as a writer, broadcaster, actor and so on, it may be you have followed me on someone else’s recommendation or indeed it could simply be because you wanted to be the two millionth and timed it perfectly. I know that your name is Jonathan, that you live in Dundee (a city I love and of which I retain the fondest possible memories after six happy years of occupying the Rector’s chair at the University) and that you like BI, whatever that might be. Business Informatics, Wikipedia suggests.


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The whole silly stick…

I suppose the keenest disappointment I feel about the past week and the almost incredible weirdnesses it has brought in its train is the idea that there are people out there who actually swallow the notion that I am so stupid as to believe that women don’t enjoy sex. That I not only believe it but that I am dense, dotty and suicidally deluded enough to make a public declaration of such a crazed belief.


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Raaa for the RA!


Blogging down one’s thoughts can sometimes end in bogging them down. Political events, ideological disagreements, rants, apologies, defensive screeds and coverage of techno launches, political scandals and general media excitements have often been the meat, drink, potatoes, peanuts and popcorn of my blogging space, which is fine and well and high and dandy and adorable in its own way (one hopes) but it leaves little time for dilating on the subjects which really move and enliven me. So here is the first of a series of blogulosities in which I try and share a personal delight.


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The Dongle of Donald Trefusis

Dongle of Donald Trefusis

The new audio series of Professor Donald Trefusis.