November 9th, 2010

Peter Flowerbuck

A film of The Liar by Stephen Fry is allegedly being made (though obviously when films are in development one never knows, and most of the references to it are 2009).
See here
Now, I see from that synopsis they are going for cottaging rather than tarty teenage public school boys, presumably more socially acceptable but...
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More Fry

Whilst on holiday I read (by the medium of the Kindle app for my iPod) volume two of Stephen Fry's memoires (basically running from when he started at Cambridge to when he started on the Coke). It is interesting to note how unfictional much of The Liar. Obviously we knew this to some extent from Moab Is My Washpot, but it is notable that Adrian's girlfriend in The Liar is called Bridget Arden and two of the women in his circle at Cambridge are Bridget something and something Arden. Also, the punk guy who he shares a set of rooms with is very clearly someone else real.
Clearly Fry is in the Too Famous To Edit category, as the maundering about how insecure he was / is and how terrible it is that people thought he and the gang were brash and confident when they were full of self-doubt etc. could have done with some serious trimming back. I think we are in the territory of the old thing told to freshers etc. 'everyone is just as nervous as you'. To which I can only say hmm.

Nonetheless, it is interesting because of lots of incidental details. I didn't know / had forgotten / hadn't absorbed that the play that Fry famously did a bunk from was written by Simon Raven. Also, of course, it is amusing to be reminded that Hugh Laurie was in the Cambridge crew in the Boat Race. I had known this but I think it is the sort of fact that is too wacky to keep in ones mind for long.

It is weird that I don't at all remember Alfresco, their first TV show, on ITV. Maybe I was having too much of a life to be watching TV at the time, but I don't think I knew about it at all.

The Cambridge described seems a world away from the Oxford of what would only be 6 years later, certainly the description of the sets of rooms seemed much more opulent than anything I ever came across in Oxford, even in the richer colleges. Obviously there may be a degree of hyperbole but his description of Cambridge in the 70s sounds more like descriptions of Oxford in the 50s. To some extent I guess that the big sea-change was the colleges on the whole going mixed, and he was one side of that and I was the other.

In other news...

Looks like 2 votes for jQuery and none for Dojo. Looking on the web, I think maybe Dojo is a bit 2008 (and I realise this is just the sort of thing that gets drive by comments, to which I can only preemptively say 'yar boo').

Also read on the iPod via the Kindle app, The Girl With The Tatooed Badger and The Girl Who Played With Badgers (am now reading The Girl Who Poked The Badger's Nest, though it is rather turgid compared to the other two). They seemed much as detective novels usually are, there seems to have been a bit of a backlash against them, which I don't quite understand, though I can imagine lots of people thinking ah a best selling detective novel and not expecting the rape scenes etc. The prose seems rather flat but maybe that's the translation.

Bought and started but haven't finished The Finckler Question. Some people have objected to it being called the first comic novel to win the Booker on the grounds that other comic novels have won it previously, my objection is more on the lines of that even if there hadn't been any comic novels before that won it, it still wouldn't be the first. It is possible I haven't got to the funny bits yet, but I kind of infer from the tone of the prose that it is supposed to be funny. I did like Coming From Behind, Jacobson's first novel, a campus novel set in what is obviously Wolverhampton Poly, but none of his other books which I have tried have really worked for me.

Player One by Douglas Coupland. Hmm. A bunch of people stuck in an airport bar come the global melt-down, we are rather in the territory of Girlfriend In A Coma here. Not only are a few of his novels quite similar, but now he is actually reusing jokes. I assume that he actually did this as a dramatised reading on CBC as it is this year's Massey Lecture. Maybe there will be a CD of it.