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Posted Sun Jan 20th, 2013 12:08pm Post subject: A literary celebration of Fryness

Hello all,

For some time it has occurred to me that I must find a way of letting Stephen Fry know how grateful I am for his inspiration. I've been writing a novel on literary characters, and every time I conjure up Samuel Johnson, it's Stephen Fry I see. The same devotion to the English language and genial kindness (with patches of black dog), and he even hosts a salon.

So. How pleased I was to stumble across this nest of Frypers and realise that here was my opportunity.

Thank you, Stephen! Here is the evil you've inspired. Due to length, only the first paragraphs are given here - more is contained in the link. Subsequent chapters will follow. Sorry.


‘Most people would agree upon Master Shakespeare.’
‘So they would, Johnson, although one might – if one didn’t mind one’s head being eaten – say that Shakespeare is rather the greatest adapter in the English language. But what writer isn’t a shameless magpie?’

‘If we rank solely by money generated, the laurels must surely go to you, Milne. Quite half the children on the planet must have an ill-bred ass or a fatuous yellow bear – ’

‘I think you mean whimsical.’

‘Pardon – whimsically fatuous yellow bear leering at them from their bookshelf. Not to mention the film and television adaptations.’

Boswell stabbed a finger at the man opposite him to emphasise his point.

‘If they had had a Disney in your day, Master Shakespeare, your Romeo would not only have lived happily ever after with his Juliet, he would have sung a duet about it with a talking tom.’

‘O God, James, do not say it! It might happen yet.’

Shakespeare slouched back in his chair, staring with a frown into the cold fireplace.

‘Whoever said death was a release was a damnable fool!’

The vast man at the head of the table grunted, scratching his nose to cover a twitch.

‘Not so much foolish, perhaps, as blessedly ignorant. Dying is like biting Eve’s apple – one may possess all knowledge, and never escape the horror of it. What was it they added to the dictionary recently, Bozzy?’

‘Sexting,’ said Boswell promptly.

‘Sexting! Indeed. I know not how I contrived to omit it from the first edition. Everyone should know the joy of sending one another lewd messages by telephone. It gives one’s society such a polish.’

‘It really is getting worse, isn’t it?’ Milne said, shaking his head. ‘England.’

‘We say it every week,’ Boswell replied.

‘And every week it’s even more true.’

‘We should all be described as curmudgeons,’ Johnson said with a wry twist to his mouth. ‘If anyone alive knew the art of spelling it.’

‘Never!’ cried a new, female voice. ‘For that makes me one too, and I cannot have that.’

Johnson’s frown turned into a beam of pleasure, and he rose from his seat. A dark-haired lady of about twenty in appearance had just stepped in the door, smiling at them.

‘Ah, Miss Austen, do come in, do come in! There is a chair by Master Shakespeare. And here are the Misses Bronte and Mrs Nicholls. Who’s for a dish of tea?’

Johnson’s wife Tetty suddenly appeared with a tray of cups, and the next few minutes were a fuss of pouring and offering and passing cakes. Eating wasn’t a necessity, of course, not when the guests had all given over the habit of breathing. But it was a pleasure, and that was not to be sneered at. Johnson could not bear the sight of an empty plate; it made him feel a failure as a host. It was just another of those little involuntary habits that endeared him to his friends and made him an object of ridicule with his enemies.

Seeing that everyone was armed with enough food to last them the week, he leaned forward, rubbing his hands and making a sort of satisfied tutting. Tetty vanished as quickly as she had come, with a smile and a waft of lavender.

‘Well, most of us are here, so we might as well begin.’

'Let the great catalogue of misfortunes be wheeled in!'

‘Contain yourself, Milne. You grow dangerously like your ass. Do we all have a drink?’

There was a chorus of ‘Ays’.

‘Doyle sends his apologies; some séance he is attending. Has anyone seen Geoffrey?’

Everyone looked at the empty chair, to Shakespeare’s right. Its cushioned seat was almost worn threadbare.

‘I am certain he will come,’ Jane Austen replied. ‘He never misses.’

‘Ay,’ said Johnson, frowning. ‘Well, make an apology, James - you can always scratch it out later.’

He rapped a wooden gavel once on the tabletop.

‘I hereby proclaim the British Literary Injustice Society in session. Who goes first today?’

Boswell consulted the agenda.

‘We are back to the start of the alphabet. That’s you, Miss Austen.’

Jane Austen sighed, setting down her tea.

‘Oh dear, where does one begin? Or rather, how does one undo what has begun? If he were not already among us, I would consider it an act of great charity to murder Mr Bram Stoker and thrust a very blunt stake through his heart.’

Shakespeare groaned theatrically.

‘O! S’blood, yes! If any more of my plays are larded with bum-sucking vampires I shall dig up his bones and piss on them!’

‘Master your tongue, sir,’ said Johnson mildly, with a sideways glance at the trio at the foot of the table.
Charlotte and Anne’s faces reflected their disapproval, although Emily was gazing fixedly out the window, and appeared not to have noticed.

For more, please click:

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Posted Sun Jan 27th, 2013 10:24am Post subject: A literary celebration of Fryness

And now, as my first posting was such a runaway success (btw, did anyone actually read it?), here is chapter two. While there is no Samuel Johnson/Stephen Fry character in this bit, all will become clear in chapter three. And if you haven't read chapter one yet, now's your chance. We are always open.

AFTERWORD (Chapter 2)

When Sara slunk back to the changing room, she noticed the puddle. Something was dripping from the bottom of her bag. There was also the scent of something a little stronger than the usual gagging stench of adolescent sweat, old socks and older fruit.
Unable to fully believe it, she lifted the bag down from its hook.
‘Eww, did you pee on the floor, Sara?’
Behind her, Helen Fraser and her friend Kate Atchison couldn’t believe their good fortune. All through PE they’d been tripping her, chucking balls with extra viciousness at her when she wasn’t looking. All par for the course. A messy puddle on the floor, however, was a gift horse with a full dental record.
‘Hey, Sara’s weed herself!’
Feeling thirty eyes on her, Sara kept her mind focused on what was in her bag, feeling the dread rising. The smell grew stronger as she unzipped it.
When she put her hand inside, her school blazer was sopping wet. She drew it out, recoiling at the moisture on her hands. There was no doubting from the smell.
‘Eww, she did wee herself! That’s fucking disgusting!’
Sara felt herself step outside her body, gawking like just another bystander. Even her own soul didn’t want to be a part of her at times like this.
Nor when they were stabbing her with compasses, or passing around a pair of dirty, greying knickers with her name written on the waistband, or holding her down and burning her with cigarettes then telling the teacher who noticed the burn on her sleeve that she was selling fags at lunchtimes.
Dimly she noticed herself tipping out the rest of the bag’s contents, staring blankly at the tights, blouse and skirt underneath, all of them equally soaked with piss, as well as her schoolbooks, her mobile phone and her lunch.
Helen and Kate nearly soaked their own gym gear in their delight. Everyone was crowding around for a view, exclaiming in distaste.
Sara’s head whirled, like the rest of term flushing down a toilet.

Story continues at:

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