Lost in London

A look at London and life in general through the eyes of someone who sometimes can't bear to watch.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I'm sorry I haven't a clue

Last night I watched a documentary on BBC4 about Stephen Fry to celebrate his 50th birthday. Well, it wasn’t really a documentary, more a load of talking heads queuing up to say how fantastic he was, held together by an endless montages of clips showing us how funny he can be.

I don’t mind Stephen Fry at all. He can be amusing enough and has had a varied and impressive career of which he should be very proud, but one thing about this celebrity love-in irked me. The production team had lined up an admirable array of familiar faces to endorse the wit of Mr. Fry, from Harry Potter one trick pony JK Rowling to slobbering chat show host Jonathan Ross, but one thing that stuck out far more than the A-list fan club was the fact that 99% of them had the same thing to say: that Stephen Fry is very intelligent.

Seriously, not one star, including, in fact, the Prince of Wales, whose HRH credentials we were constantly reminded of thanks to intrusive titles every time he came on screen, could not get through their eulogy without informing us just how brainy, how clever, how learned and just downright remarkable Stephen Fry is. After a while, I began to feel uncomfortable about this. I know he’s written countless books and, you know, talks posh and uses long words, but after 25 years in the business, is the best thing his admirers can tell us that he knows lots of stuff? And is that a good enough reason to celebrate him?

I’m hardly a brainbox, but I’m not stupid, and I don’t wear my assumed intelligence like a badge. Stephen’s star-studded inner circle seemed to be in awe of this man who knows a few poems and- gasp!- knows a lot about certain things. Someone (I can’t remember who) even said that it was an achievement for Stephen to even get on TV these days, because it was now the domain of thick people. Watching this crowing, fawning bunch of moneyed arse lickers passing round their singular brain cell to exalt someone who has read a lot of dusty old books, I was inclined to agree; they really will let anyone on TV.

Stephen is a prolific author, actor, comedian and director, but if the best thing any of his mates can say is that they’ve never met someone so clever, what’s the point?

I can’t remember who it was (it might have been the acidic TV critic Charlie Brooker), but someone a few years ago said that Stephen Fry was what an idiot would deem a clever person. I suppose it’s easy to look like a genius if you surround yourself with vapid, compliment-spewing imbeciles, right? I should try it myself.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Girls allowed

This weekend I’m going to a ‘lesbian wedding’, whatever that is. Well, I know what it is: it’s a civil partnership between two women. This is the first ‘gay wedding’ I’ve ever been to and I feel a sense of trepidation and, of course, excitement. From what I’ve heard from the participants (is it wrong to say bride and bride?), it will be much like any other wedding: vows will be made; drinks will be drunk; food will be eaten and everyone will feel ill in the morning.

I’m not altogether sure, then, why, whenever I tell someone I’m going to this wedding, I get an odd reaction, akin to that of someone being told that full alien contact has been made and Martians are dishing out canapés in the Houses of Parliament. Here’s just an example:

Person: “What are you doing this weekend?”
Lost Boy: “Oh I’m going to a wedding.”
Person: “Oh, whose is it?”
Lost Boy: “Just some friends. It’s two women actually.”
Person: “REALLY?” or “Ooh how weird.” or “Will they both be wearing dresses?” or “Ugh lesbians!”
Lost Boy: [goes on to explain that no, they won’t be wearing dungarees down the aisle and, no, they don’t have cats who can be bridesmaids]

Much the same happened as I visited my hairdresser last night. Once I had casually announced I was going to a wedding where two girls were to be the ones taking the vows, he recoiled; as if lesbian were a dirty word.

I’m not ashamed of going to a civil partnership, but I don’t like talking about it because it’s obvious that nobody really seems to take them that seriously. It’s just the stupid gays getting in on the act and wanting to be like everybody else, right? Try as I might, I can’t imagine many people travelling the length and breadth of the country to attend my civil partnership, if my partner and I decided to ever have one.

Jokes abound of having drag queens for bridesmaids (Why would there be bridesmaids? Whither the bride?), having matching suits, big pink wedding cakes and Scissor Sisters being the wedding band. Of course, if you do want all the above for your ceremony, that’s entirely up to you. Bring lesbians into the equation and the conversations surrounding civil partnerships become even more ludicrous and hateful.

Why do some gay men have such an innate loathing for girls who don’t like girls? They don’t want to fuck women themselves, so why should they care? So let's raise a glass to the happy couple, and leave the haters out in the rain where they belong.