Sunday, 14 December 2008

Mr. Stephen Fry's Buttocks: A Cautionary Tale of Tweed and Excess

‘My dear Richard, it was so very unseemly of you to make such a public display of my buttocks yesterday.’

So said the voice in the orifice shell-like. This was late last night and the fact that the voice was coming through from an iPhone in New York should give you an idea of the man on the other end. I had no doubt that he was fully extended to six feet eight and that at least five of those feet were wrapped in a purple velvet cape with concealed compartments for a wifi enabled swordstick and Bluetoothed brass knuckle.

‘A momentary lapse,’ I answered. ‘I couldn’t resist replying to the twitter in which you commented upon the complexion of your cheeks.’

‘Tut and pish, Richard. Tut and pish. As you very well know, I was making reference to my upper cheeks, those silken mounds of pearly hue.’ He huffed himself to a silence and for a moment I thought he’d hung up on me. ‘On no account was I referring to my buttocks, perfect, pert and dimpled though they may be.’

‘But not so silken?’ I replied with a playful snort which poor Stephen took the wrong way. He took it as a sniff of derision.

‘My buttocks are not to sniffed at, Richard,’ replied the Great Man. ‘Had you lived as many years in tweed as I, then your buttocks would have also taken on a damask finish. But, needless to say, I’d prefer it if that information remains between the two of us.’

‘So your buttocks are not for public consumption?’ I asked.

‘Au contraire, Richard! They are Fry buttocks and all things to do with me are consumed most eagerly by my adoring public.’

I shrugged. ‘I bet they would,’ I said, knowing the dedication of Stephen’s followers.

Contempt was the prime feature of Stephen’s next remark. ‘Honestly. My poor boy. You do have a terrible need to attract attention. I’ve noticed it in the nature of your twittering. Always talking about red onions... Heavens!’

‘I happen to like the red onion. I consider it to be...’

‘Yes, yes, I know,’ soothed Stephen. ‘Everybody knows that you consider it the king of all onions.’

‘And it would go rather well with rump,’ I added but I don’t think Stephen caught my sly allusion to his toasted flanks. He was too busy continuing his transatlantic telling off.

‘But enough of this idle chatter, Richard. Call my aunt my uncle if you wish but do not be surprised when the very next words out of my mouth are those of a good scolding. For I have rang you from New York to ask you, nay implore you, to stop ruining twittering for the rest of us. No sooner had I launched my hugely successful Oscar Wilde Day on Twitter than you appeared talking nonsense about Manchester and onions. Shudder. Shudder. Shudder, Richard. And I say that not so lightly as to be heard only by moles. Bless their muddy little ears. Bless.’

‘I can’t help but be me,’ I replied. ‘Not all of us can be televisual Gods. Some of us are mere Holy Spirits.’

Flattery always works well on Stephen.

‘Oh,’ he chortled, ‘were I a less humble man, I would acknowledge that even my smallest flatus has the air of heavenly ambrosia. However, being the Fry of the genus Stephen, I need not make out that I am some kind of God. A lesser deity, perhaps...’

‘Flatus?’ I asked, not knowing the word.

Again Stephen sighed but this time it was one of those slightly condescending sighs which indicate his surprise that there are men in the world who haven’t had another book published in the past twenty four hours.

‘You don’t know your Latin declension, Richard!’ he scolded. ‘Repeat after me: flatus, flatati, flatatum, flaterati, flateratus, flateranimus...’

I confess that I’m paraphrasing here because my Latin is not up to his. I don’t know my arsari from my elbowarium. I’m sure you get the picture, if not the heavy odour of learning in the room. In fact, not long after, Stephen started schooling me in the Ancient Greek for wind breaking and I decided that it was time to make my excuses.

‘So sorry, Stephen,’ I said. ‘The old mobile’s battery is on the fritz. I better be hanging up.’

‘This is what happens when you buy Nokia,’ said the Patron Saint of Sim Cards, who promptly launched into a review of the newest mobile phones. Since it was verbatim to the review that I’d recently read in his Dork Talk column form ‘The Guardian’, I just hit the big red button and disconnected Stephen’s private communications satellite somewhere over New York.

Yet I was satisfied with our conversation. It had been instructive in more than Greek fartari and Latin flatus. It had taught me that in the future when I twitter, I must be more considerate to those people reading me. Previously, I have been tempted to post every detail from my daily life. Every thought has gone there and every wayward dream. But no longer will I twitter without aim. If you decide to follow me on Twitter, you will find me a much changed twitterer, with much less of the wit and more of the twit. And never once again will I send Stephen Fry a comment about his buttocks. Even if they do have a tweed hue and a russeted charm. Stephen’s buttocks are his own concern and from now I will leave them alone. And I advise you to do the same.


Nige said...

Aah a joy - and what a fine crop of Labels...

James Higham said...

Richard, this unhealthy fixation with buttocks afflicted a fellow blogfriend of ours too and look what happened.

Dick Madeley said...

Nige, can't beat labels on a Sunday morning.

James. Very true. I've not heard from him in a while. I wonder if he's still working the oil rigs in Russia.

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