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Anonymous


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Posted Wed Apr 9th, 2008 3:08pm Post subject: #3..is there a text version?
there is a new podcast...does anyone know where the text version is kept?
my computer is slow and with storms coming in i don't know if i can get it downloaded.

i posted this on the blog and now feel a little stupid cause i don't want to trouble anyone...it's probably right there and i just can't find it. can y'all help?

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Fryphile


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Posted Wed Apr 9th, 2008 3:09pm Post subject: #3..is there a text version?
It appears this one was untyped by Stephen. Don't worry though. I'm working on it

I think of myself as someone who is filled with love, whose only purpose in life was to achieve love. - Stephen Fry

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Wed Apr 9th, 2008 3:19pm Post subject: #3..is there a text version?
It appears this one was untyped by Stephen. Don't worry though. I'm working on it

thanks Fryphile!!

he UNTYPED it? that sounds really magical. "and with a wave of my fingers...i have untyped it."

he might not feel like typing much at all these days.

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Fryphile


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Posted Wed Apr 9th, 2008 3:25pm Post subject: #3..is there a text version?
Apparently, every odd numbered Podgram that Stephen does will be of the improvised variety like the first in re: his broken arm, and every even numbered Podgram will be a Blessay that is simply read out.

I think of myself as someone who is filled with love, whose only purpose in life was to achieve love. - Stephen Fry

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Panja


Member

Posted Wed Apr 9th, 2008 3:48pm Post subject: #3..is there a text version?
oh my gosh, there's a new podgram?!?! I didn't notice! I shall have to watch it tonight! :D

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amyl_nitrate


Member

Posted Wed Apr 9th, 2008 4:26pm Post subject: #3..is there a text version?
Apparently, every odd numbered Podgram that Stephen does will be of the improvised variety like the first in re: his broken arm, and every even numbered Podgram will be a Blessay that is simply read out.

That's what he said he's going to do in the new pdgram. I'm glad he's gone for that route. Best of both worlds.

Assuming direct control...

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AxmxZ


Moderator

Posted Wed Apr 9th, 2008 4:41pm Post subject: #3..is there a text version?
Hey Fryphile, how far along are you? I can take some of the last minutes and type those if you want.

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Wed Apr 9th, 2008 4:46pm Post subject: #3..is there a text version?
i know y'all aren't doing that just for me,
i have to say it's very very sweet of you.
thank you so much.

i tried to just download the software for getting a podcast, and it doesn't work out. this computer is 10 years old.

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Fryphile


Member *

Posted Wed Apr 9th, 2008 5:02pm Post subject: #3..is there a text version?
Hey Fryphile, how far along are you? I can take some of the last minutes and type those if you want.

I'm officially 13 minutes in. (Doing it at work so one ear is trained on approaching footsteps.) I'm planning to post it here in this thread when finished. Should I go to the 20 minute mark and you take what's left?

I think of myself as someone who is filled with love, whose only purpose in life was to achieve love. - Stephen Fry

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AxmxZ


Moderator

Posted Wed Apr 9th, 2008 5:08pm Post subject: #3..is there a text version?
Sure, I'll take 20+. Gotta make sure you fingers don't fall off...

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Fryphile


Member *

Posted Wed Apr 9th, 2008 7:11pm Post subject: #3..is there a text version?
Thanks to AxmxZ for Chapter Four's transcription. I bracketed certain words with question marks when I wasn't sure if I got it right. I hope someone will be able to decipher them. And, of course, let me know if I misheard anything.

**Corrected the ones I know.....Atari**

Wallpaper

This is Stephen Fry, and you’re listening to Stephen Fry’s Podgrams.

Well, hello one and hello all. (14 minutes of guttural throat-clearing). Oh, God! I’m not going to start a Podgram with a frog in my throat, am I? I hope not. (More frog in a blender in the throat hacking.) Anyway, welcome. *cough* Excuse me. GAAARRRRRRR. What an attractive way with which to open a Podgram. Please accept my apologies.

Anyway. Welcome, as I say. It’s delightful to be back for a third Podgram. And firstly let me get out of the way some small matters of housekeeping. I want to express my genuine pleasure at the number of people who have downloaded the original Podgrams. And I am deeply flustered and touched by your responses. Many of those responses, however, do show me that I’m not nearly as clever as I think I am. There is almost no subject on which one can expatiate on which others don’t know a great deal more than one does oneself. And it is very humbling, or at least it ought to be, if I wasn’t so sunk and lost in self-regard, very humiliating, very sobering to realize that one doesn’t know nearly as much as one thinks one does. Every time I make a claim, you out there tested against your reason, your experience, and your knowledge. And if it’s found wanting you say so. And that’s extremely useful. There are many who believe that the world is entirely grown stupid. I am not one such. I’m always impressed by how much others know and how they think. How clearly they see. And part of the pleasure of the internet and part of the pleasure of doing this kind of broadcast is the knowledge that there is feedback. So do keep your feedback coming. The address is on the screen, as they say.

Now, how am I? I’m jolly well. You may remember my first Podgram was all about, all about my arm. It’s a lot better. A lot better. Thank you for asking me. *cough* You can probably hear that I’ve got one of those strange colds at the moment. I don’t know where they come from. They’re all over America-ha-ha-ha. Rather like a late winter. There’s this bizarre feeling that it’s never going to end. The groundhog’s never going to see its shadow.

Anyway, I have nothing to moan about. I’m in Colorado. What could be nicer than that? Near the town of Aspen actually, which is a very Swiss skiing resort. I don’t ski. I tried once and found it absolutely foul. I know it’s one of the most popular things in the world, so my saying it’s foul will endear me to very few of you. It’s my own incompetence. I’m a very, very, very uncoordinated kind of person, and I’m afraid that I’m just absolutely hopeless. I’ve got about three goes at raising my own body weight before I fall back exhausted like a blubbery whale. Rocking and splashing like a bin liner full of yogurt. It’s all very unfortunate. I don’t have the kind of body that responds well to any command to be coordinated and agile and swift and neat and nimble and balanced. But, I like Alpine resorts. And Aspen is certainly one of the most gorgeous I’ve ever seen. So I enjoy getting a ski pass, going to the top a mountain to the highest café and drinking hot chocolate with a tot of rum in it and reading a book and writing postcards or whatever. Very enjoyable. The air is good. And others can tumble down the mountain side and do their snow plows and very, very elegant and marvelous they are at it, but I don’t really envy them.

Chapter One – Odd and Even Podgrams

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been doing. Not that I’ve been sitting around in cafes because we’ve been filming part of this ongoing documentary that I’m doing. I shan’t bore you anymore about that. But being in Colorado can’t but put me in mind of Oscar Wilde. Oh, no! Stephen’s on his hobby horse again. He’s so obsessed just because he played him once in a film, he thinks he’s a bloody expert. Well, I understand your feelings and I’ll try not to be too . . . hmm, too . . . I’ll try not to be too . . . too, too, too about Oscar. But I am deeply fond of him and occasionally he is brought to mind. We’ll come to why in Colorado in a moment, but first I have to tell you that I am impaled on something of the horns of a young dilemma. It’s . . . well, not really dilemma. Put it this way: My first Podgram was like this. It was a loosely unstructured, twittering, improvised blahhing into a microphone. In that case, talking about my broken arm. For which, incidentally, many thanks to you for all your kind suggestions as to how I should get better quicker, and your comparisons with your own broken limbs. And your general sympathy and condolences. I am very grateful. It is getting better. I’ve had some physiotherapy when I was in England between two bouts of American filming, and I’m supposed to be doing exercises every day. Of course I’m hopeless at that, so it’s a bit unfortunate I’m going to have to go back to England and be thrown around the room by New Zealand women again. Which they’re excellent at, I have to say. Throwing men around rooms. Much as they are excellent at rugby, I suppose. Something about the New Zealand spirit, maybe it’s hatred of the English or males in general, but they seem to go into their work with vim and alacrity. Anyway, I’m sort of nesting in to somewhat unfortunate sub clauses of my own argument here. So, where were we? Let’s try to extract ourselves from the deepest nest outside of the arm back into my young dilemma. Yes, my first Podgram if you’ll recall was improvised and some people thought that was a mess, and demanded something better and more structured. So my second one was a Blessay that was read out. It was a more considered piece, if you like, or reflective. However, some of you didn’t like that and said what’s wrong with the first style. If I can call it a style. We preferred that. It’s just you naked, raw, and trembling if you like. *cough* And I’m sure no one would like. But I have come to a decision though. Therefore, the odd numbered, the ODD numbered Podgrams will be like this: improvised and twittery, and the even numbers will be more considered. I think that’s a reasonable compromise.

However, *cough* we’re back in Colorado. Oh, God it must be miserable to listen to my wheezing coughing. I do apologize. I’m just going to stop and take a sip of water. Do you mind?

Chapter Two – On Oscar

Ughh, alright. Hmmm. That’s better. He was an extraordinary man, Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde, as I’m sure many of you are aware. But not necessarily extraodinary for the reasons many people think he was extraodinary. I don’t want to say that he was misunderstood; he obviously was in his lifetime to some extent misunderstood. At least, perhaps, it would be fairer to say that he was understood. And the threat he represented to the established order of thinking, the threat he represented to codes of morality, to religion, was real. Inasmuch as if you take him seriously, by which I don’t mean earnestly. A good Wildeian word, I just mean, if you like, at face value. If you regard his paradoxes as the truth, than you do see that he turned upside down just about everything that Victorians, and even we today, think.

When he was sent from Dublin by his great teacher Mahaffy to Oxford as the best classist that Trinity College Dublin had ever sent to England for further study, he arrived with a great reputation and this he rapidly built on. He became a famous undergraduate. Internationally famous. It’s an extraordinary idea, isn’t it? Even in the days of Web 2.0 and Youtube and Myspace and Sitonmyfacebook and all these social networking organisms, I don’t think there are any famous students in the world today. There are those who’ve done weird things up their noses or on musical instruments and created Youtube films that’ve been a kind of succès fou as the French would say. But I don’t think famous. I don’t think there’d been cartoons of undergraduates or skits or lampooning essays in Punch as there were of Wilde. He enraged a lot of people by saying that his ambition at Oxford was to live up to his collection of blue and white China. And that kind of thing was like a red rag to a very Victorian slavering bull. When he arrived at Oxford actually, he had to do pretty soon one of his exams which was a viva, which is like a live exam. Viva voce, a live voice exam, rather than a written one. Put it that way. So you’d appear in front of a panel of dons and you’d have to impress them with your knowledge and they question you tersely. And in his case, he had to prove not only his knowledge of classical attic Greek, but of New Testament Greek. The Greek of the New Testament in the Bible. And so he was handed a Greek New Testament and opened it, it was opened more or less at random, and he had to translate. And it was the Passion, the crucifixion of Christ, so he started to translate as fluently as anyone could, because his Greek really was excellent. He won many prizes for it. And his New Testament Greek was no worse than his classical Greek. And they were very impressed and said, “Thank you, Mr. Wilde.” But he carried on translating. And they said, “Mr. Wilde, you can stop there.” But still he went on. “Mr. Wilde, stop!” And he replied, “Oh, please let me go on, I’m dying to know how it all turns out.” Now that sort of attitude didn’t endear him to many of the people who ran Oxford who were in holy orders. And they found him pretentious. And that’s an English response to people like Wilde that continues to this day. If we don’t understand or we feel threatened or we feel our values of athleticism and healthiness in particular, our sporting values, our traditional values, are undermined by smart, clever people in dazzling raiment then we will naturally call them pretentious because it’s a lot easier than believing them. And maybe some of them are pretentious. Anyway, the point is this: Wilde was well known even before he’d written anything of value. He wrote some poems which won him prizes, but generally speaking, it was the way he spoke, the way he dressed in velvet and silk, the things he admired, the things he believed in. It was a breath of extraordinary fresh air in the black, morally certain world of the Victorian England. To have this man with the lilt of the Irish without the brogue, if you like. Just, as it were, rubbing the varnish on the world, seeing things anew. Of course, as I say, not every Englishman liked it. And those healthy, traditional, bourgeoise Englishmen Gilbert and Sullivan, the official satirists of the suburban classes, they wrote on opera called Patience, which was largely an attack, or at least a friendly attack on the nature of this asthetic movement led by Wilde. And there was a character called Bunthorne who was quite clearly based on Oscar Wilde, and I think it was a great success. Again that shows I think some of Wilde’s extraordinary achievements as a famous young man, that he should have an operetta written about him. And everyone was very pleased, particularly Richard D’Oyly Carte of course who ran the Savoy Opera group which put on the works of Gilbert and Sullivan. However, it was traditional for them to take the work and put it on in Broadway on Broadway in New York, and in New York and in America no one had heard of Oscar Wilde. They didn’t have the faintest idea who he was. So Richard D’Oyly Carte concieved the notion that he should pay Oscar Wilde a fabulous sum of money to go around America lecturing and being aesthetic, being all, you know, silk-bloused and velvet-trousered so that people would know who he was and then go see things like Patience and Richard D’Oyly Carte would make money in New York. It seemed a very good scheme, and Wilde was delighted with it, he loved the idea of going to visit America. America was a remarkable new country. It had got through its Civil War and was beginning a pace to be quite staggering prosperous. No coincidence that the Civil War and its provential outcome allowed such prosperity. So he was thrilled to go. Dickens had gone before him and it was generally considered a marvelous tour for a sophisticated European to go to America, to impress the Americans and be impressed by America, and he intended both to happen. He arrived on the S.S. Arizona in I think it was January ‘81, sometime around then, and stepped off onto the dock, famously remarking that he had nothing to declare to customs except his genius. He professed himself disappointed with the Atlantic. He thought it was going to be wetter. And then of course there were newspaper reports about him. He was asked his opinion of everything. He was asked his opinion of New York before he’d even stepped into the streets of Manhattan. And he was generally something of a success. There were many newspapers that attacked him. Americans didn’t want to be thought of as a soft touch, and some of them were very virulent in their enmity towards him. Thought he was an imbecile and pretensious and all the rest of it. And they drew nastier cartoons.

He arrived eventually in Colorado where I am, and not far from where I am. He was in the town of Leadville. Now Leadville was a silvermine despite it’s name. I suppose once it had been a leadmine. And one of Oscar Wilde’s lectures was on Benvenuto Cellini, the renaissance goldsmith and silversmith. Metal worker, if you like. Painter and sculptor and everything. An adventurer. And he gave a great lecture on that subject. His other topic was the House Beautiful, which was probably the first time anyone had really talked authoritively about interior decoration as a subject in its own right, given it’s own weight and value. And indeed Wilde was a real expert, a very early expert on interior decoration. The way he had a white room in his house in Tite Street later. The furniture, the collection of paintings, the way he assembed them, the way he presented a room was again something very, very new. The idea that you should think about it was evolutionary. But that’s a whole other subject.

Chapter Three - Wallpaper

Ahh, that’s better. I hope you can’t hear the lavatory system filling up in the background because that would reveal that I’ve had a little pause and that I go to the lavatory and I won’t have you thinking me human. So, around this time, Oscar was asked a question. A very intelligent question actually. He was asked why he thought America was so violent. Seems an odd question at first blush, but it was an America that had just emerged from the most attritional, the bloodiest Civil War in the history of Western humanity so far as we know. It was a struggle for the heart and soul of America, for the future of America, and I think they were still dazed by the violence that had erupted in their own country. Such a nobel experiment. Founded with such hope and such high ideals, yet it descended into this terrible bloodbath. Not only that, but the west which was being developed - ha, developed - that had caused violence, too. Violence of course to the indigenous population, the Native Americans, the indian tribes. But violence of all other kids. The gunsligners were becoming very famous. Gang warfare was erupting in Chicago and New York. This was all very puzzling to people of intelligence, people of intellectual curiosity. Why should a country that was established on principles of peace and tolerance, wisdom. All the glories of the Enlightenment have descended into internecine strife. Of course the usual answer to why people get violent is they depart from family values. Ha-ha-ha don’t get me started on that argument. Afterall, most murders take place within families. Most violence takes place within families. Even organized crime is structured according to families. It’s a ghastly parody of a family, but the idea that family values are responsible for stopping people being violent seems to me to be so insane as hardly to worth repeat. I hope you take my point. That’s it, isn’t it? Family values and violence that seems to be no more relation between them than a skunk and a rattlesnake. Both nasty but they’re not connected. Except in the great scheme of life, the colors of the wind and the circle of how do you do. But Wilde gave a different explanation, and it’s on that on the surface seems very trivial.

“Why, Mr. Wilde, do you think America is such a violent country?”

“I can tell you why,” he said. “It’s susceptible readily of an explanation. America is such a violent country because your wallpaper is so ugly.”

Now that seems, you might snort with laughter at first and say, “Well, how amusing.” Part you you may say, “Well this is just a typical peacocking primped camp remark from a shallow and trivial man who thinks it’s amusing to say things like that.”

But actually, to understand what the Aesthetic Movement is all about, one has to take that quite seriously. Instead of judging things as being good or bad, things are judged by whether they are beautiful or ugly. And we may say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but actually it’s a lot easier to judge when things are beautiful than it is when things are bad or good. We spend our time puzzling dreadfully over whether we can interpret something as being wicked or whether it’s virtuous. However, beauty, beauty, beauty acts on us in a very real way, and what Wilde was partly saying was, if we look out of the window into our world, we see things that are universally and entirely beautiful from nature. Whether they be palm trees swaying in an island, whether they be the arctic wastes, whether they be deserts, tundra steps. It doesn’t matter where you look in the world, we see nothing but beauty. Unconditional, remarkable beauty.

Except where man has intervened.

And what Wilde is saying is, imagine belonging to a species where all you believe that all you can do to the world is to uglify it. To make it worse. To despoil it. Which is what we do. We know that now in real and profound and terrible ways that Wilde couldn’t have known about because the science hadn’t yet discovered quite how harmful we are as a species to our planet. But he could see that we were harmful to our planet in terms of its aesthetics. That we were making the earth uglier. Uglier with bad architecture, uglier with badly designed factories, uglier with badly stamped out tin trays and cheap ornaments, ugly with appalling wallpaper. And if you’re someone who grows up in such an environment, who is surrounded by badly made ugly things, then you think ugly thoughts of yourself and world. You think ugly thoughts of your whole species. There is nothing for you to do but to, to, to crap in your own nest. It’s what we do when we don’t believe in ourselves. And so although it seems a cheap response to a question about violence, the aesthetic point if view is actually I think a very valuable one, a very profound one, a very extraordinary one. And it makes people think beyond the knee-jerk reflexes of conventional morality, of revealed texts, whether they be the Bible, the Koran or the Communist Manifesto. It doesn’t matter. You’ve got to think harder than that, Wilde was arguing.

Chapter Four – 20th Century Heros

And when I now go around universities and things, which I do from time to time, I'm asked to speak or whatever I find, looking at students' rooms – now, I don't want you to think I spend too much time in students' rooms, certainly not as much time as I'd like, but occasionally one looks in for a cup of tea and a chocolate HobNob, and they kindly show you around – I've noticed a big change. When I was a student, way back when, in the late 70s and early 80s, it was very common for students to have two particular posters on their wall, or variants thereof. They would be Karl Marx or possibly Che Guevara, in famous poses – huge beard of Karl Marx and the famous beret of Che Guevara – and there might well be a poster or two of Bob Dylan or John Lennon, or something similar figure – Jimi Hendrix, perhaps, maybe even James Dean. Those kinds of figures: haunted, lost youths. There was a sense that the world would be saved by teenaged rebellion, by pop music, rock music, call it what you will, or by revolutionary politics. These were the ideals we clung to; these were the heroes we had: Marx, Lenin, Lennon… In fact, you could say it was Lenin or Lennon who were going to save the world. Now, when I pop by into a fluffy student dorm, into a little room, I tend to see posters, well, very often of Oscar or of Albert Einstein. And they reveal, I suppose, a truth: that with the collapse of the Berlin wall, the exposure of Communism for what it was, - which people frankly should have been open to much, much earlier, but perhaps giving them their best possible excuse, their desire to improve the world was such that they were blinded to the evils of Communism - Soviet Communism, certainly, and Maoism… And rock music, I don't know what happened. Maybe it was the death of Lennon, maybe it was something else, but the music died, didn't it? Somehow one didn't believe anymore, post punk, that music was going to save the world. It was all too commercial; it was all too much of a sell-out. So who could we admire anymore? Well, we went back to people like Wilde and Einstein; those are the posters now. Because somehow we believe in the power of the mind again, and I think that's a fantastic thing. In the case of Einstein, it's, unless you're a scientist, it's a case of inexplicable power of the mind: he has the face of a lined, worn, benevolent internationalist, and we can admire that. We know he stood for peace, we know he stood for no-nonsense, but we don’t really understand his science. In the case of Oscar, well, Oscar is the Prince of Bohemia, isn't he? He's the, he's the student prince; he's the man who represents the refusal ever to leave that permanent state of studentship, which questions things, which delights in sensations, which delights openly in love and other emotions, which questions the values that are imposed from above by our seniors. That's a noble thing, a truly noble thing, and Wilde is right to stand there.

I often compare Oscar Wilde – I wonder if you've ever done this, it's a marvelous thing – I don't know if you know the city of New York, Manhattan, but there's Fifth Avenue, which is a famous street which goes all the way down past Central Park, and it does literally go downtown, it's a one way avenue, and it goes down towards Greenwich Village. And if you get into a cab at the right sort of time of night, when there's not much traffic, the lights are synchronized, the traffic lights are synchronized. Bear with me: it sounds completely irrelevant, but it does have a point. And as you go down, you pass the Empire State building – once, of course, the highest building in the world. And the buildings that are close to it, because you're low down in the car, appear to be taller, because they're closer, so you can't see the top of the Empire State Building, because you're too close to it. It's a sort of parallaxy thing, isn't it? But if you twist your neck around and look out the rear window of your yellow cab, over the parcel shelf, and the lights are all green ahead, and the cabbie is getting a good run down towards Washington Square or Union Square or whatever – you look back, and you see the Empire State building rise up like a Saturn-5 rocket. It literally seems to launch upwards, because as you get further (sic) away, the buildings closer to it are revealed to be pygmies, and they dwarf and diminish, and the Empire State building rises and rises. Now, I think Oscar is like that in history. From 1900, the year he died, to 2008, where we are now, a hundred and eight years later, the further we've got away from him, the more gigantic he is: the more benevolent, the more wise, the more impressive, the more noble, the more right. He was an extraordinary man. And the fact that I'm here, on a cold day, in Colorado, contemplating Oscar, gives me enormous pleasure. And I hope to some extent you've enjoyed this doodle, this taking a line for a walk, as well. So, thanks for listening, thanks for downloading and subscribing. Until the next time, good-bye!

And my profoundest thanks to everybody at The Positive Internet Company for bringing there expertise to bear on this podcast.

You’ve been listening to Stephen Fry. For more Podcasts, Blessays, and Bloggery, visit stephenfry.com/blog.

I think of myself as someone who is filled with love, whose only purpose in life was to achieve love. - Stephen Fry

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Soupy Twist


Member

Posted Wed Apr 9th, 2008 7:41pm Post subject: #3..is there a text version?
Wow, great work, thanks a lot As far as I know, the first name in question marks is supposed to be Mahaffy. I'm not sure about the second one, but the third one looks fine to me (attic Greek as a dialect of ancient Greek).

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Fryphile


Member *

Posted Wed Apr 9th, 2008 8:09pm Post subject: #3..is there a text version?
Thanks, Soupy!

I think of myself as someone who is filled with love, whose only purpose in life was to achieve love. - Stephen Fry

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ClareBear


Moderator

Posted Wed Apr 9th, 2008 8:45pm Post subject: #3..is there a text version?
succès fou = a wild success.

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LilyG


Member

Posted Thu Apr 10th, 2008 12:34am Post subject: #3..is there a text version?
ahhhhh, i love the unscripted, randomly (yet intelligently) rambling stephen.
go the odd numbered podcasts
although it drives me up the wall that i can never see the piccies.
any especially nice ones anyone wants to tell me about?

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