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32
3.2 out of 5 stars
Stephen Fry in His Own Words
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Well, at least I didn't have to pay for this, and I would advise anyone who is thinking of that to think twice. It is always a pleasure to listen to Stephen Fry, and he is as urbane, charming and articulate as ever here. However is this the BBC's idea of an anthology? Of the six interviews from which we hear extracts, five are from the period 1987-99, only the Front Row snippet is at all recent, and even that dates from 2010. Some of the information is mildly interesting, to be sure. I had no idea that Stephen had been a kleptomaniac in his schooldays still less that he had done porridge for it, and I thought that his self-assessment as a half-hearted rebel was candid and honest with himself.

However I would have expected that much from Fry. What gets little if any proper treatment is his polymath knowledge, which is sometimes little short of astounding. The official blurb tells us that he is frank about his sexuality, but don't get your hopes up - he doesn't like sex and doesn't do it, or at least he used not to. Almost everything he says here about his time at Cambridge relates to his acquaintance with Emma Thompson and Hugh Lawrie, leading thespians in their time and maybe still to this day, but an odd subject to be given so much prominence as it is here. I mean, is it not worth the trouble of telling us what Stephen so much as studied at Cambridge?

I don't feel like prolonging such a catalogue of complaints, except to say that I'm not sure whether the short playing time (45 minutes or so) of the disc is a bad thing or a good thing under the circumstances. I could not bring myself to give less than three stars to anything featuring Stephen Fry, but, honestly, pants to the BBC for this effort.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 March 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A disc of six interviews with Stephen Fry. The recordings are from:

4/11/87
1/1/88
27/11/88
1/5/89
15/1/99
15/9/10

What is here is perfectly decent and interesting. It's just that there isn't a lot of it. It's only 44 minutes long and by its nature it doesn't go into any detail, instead it just skims the surface. If you want to know about him you are much better buying his memoir Moab Is My Washpot.

Three stars for the content, but I'm docking a point as I don't think there's enough here to justify spending any money on it. I do struggle to imagine who would buy this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I am completely mystified by this CD compilation. Given the many hours' worth of recordings of interviews with or introspective musings by Stephen Fry that the BBC must have in its archive, just why it should assemble this meagre and motley bunch of recordings for release is quite beyond me! The editing, especially of the early recordings, is really very poor too, with almost all of each interviewer's questions taken out, leaving Stephen Fry's answers as isolated bleeding chunks of conversation without a context or a framework, leaving the listener wondering just what he was asked in each case. There is also considerable repetition of material across the six disparate radio and TV appearances plundered for these recordings, making the disc a moderately irritating listen if tackled in one go.

Overall, the disc is salvaged from being relegated to the very bottom drawer solely by virtue of the fact that Stephen Fry is always a pleasure to listen to, with something fascinating or humorous to say, even when indulging in the most swingeing of self-defamation. All in all, though, there is little about this release to recommend it for purchase. Come on, AudioGo; you can do better than this!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 27 March 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This AudioGo issue features Stephen Fry in radio and television interviews from 1987 up to 2010. While enjoying the content immensely my big gripe is that the CD only runs for 45 minutes. Surely enough recorded material could have been found to fill the disc to a more respectable 60 minutes or longer. I know the price reflects the short running time but it really does feel like the producers wanted to see how little they could get away with.
Enjoyed the content but feel a little robbed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
My this disc is short.
At just 44 minutes it really and literally sells the buyer short.
Containing six sets of interviews this is Stephen Fry Lite in all senses.

I enjoyed the listen -brief though it was but it seemed to me to have the texture of candy floss.
All too brief and not enough to satisfy the listener.
We all want and deserve more from this disc. 44 minutes is just not enough.

There are better Stephen Fry CDs out there Moab is my Washtub for one.

My advice?
Wait until you see it in Oxfam at 49p then it will be worth the price.
Audio Go have missed a really good chance of selling a much more satisfying and worthwhile 3 disc set here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This Audio CD from AudioGo is a collection of interviews that Stephen has given over the years, from 1987 to 2010.

Much of this is available in Stephen Fry's biographical books but it's fascinating to hear his take on it in the more immediate format of an interview rather than through the written word (giving time as it does to review and refine your words). He's charming, funny and a pleasure to listen to.

I'd probably treat this as a companion piece to his books as it's short and a somewhat piecemeal collection of his thoughts and recollections.

It's always a treat to listen to Stephen but the recordings are quite short and the overall collection is too short to be great value for money. Worth a listen but be aware that it's only 45 minutes of Fry goodness.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This short (45 minutes) CD spans some interviews that Stephen Fry has given over the 1988-2010 period. They cover programmes such as Desert Island discs and the Parkinson show. In several of the interviews Fry mentions that he was tall and gangly at school although now he is "wide screen" and gangly. He hated sports lessons and expended more energy trying to avoid them than taking part. On the morning of a sports lesson, he would wake with fear and dread at the very thought of a games lesson. When he played cricket and he was fielding on the boundary he would say, "wait a minute girls whilst I finish reading this book". Or his reaction to be bullied -"please don't hit me or I am liable to get an erection!"
He loves music and knows loads of tunes in his head -but if asked to hum the theme to the TV series "The Champions" he would sing some mindless drivel.
He said at school he was very bright(!) and could pass exams with ease. He had no respect of teachers. If he passed a teacher who said, "late Fry?" he would reply, "yes so am I sir". To wit the teacher would say, "don't be clever Fry" -so "just how stupid do you want me to be sir?"
He was expelled from school for a term and realised how helpful his dad was teaching him maths -something he had not respected in his dad beforehand.
Fry was also a kleptomaniac and stole spanners and screw drivers for no good reason. He hit a high (low!) when he stole a wallet and then went on a credit card binge which was left unchecked for a period. Until a lady in Swindon wondered why this young lad had so many cards. The result was time at her majesty's pleasure. He said prison was a breeze when you are used to being at public school. Most of the inmates were Welsh or from the West Country -not his stereotypical bad guys -unlike people from London!
He had time to take stock whilst in the slammer and got his act together culminating in a scholarship to Cambridge. He thought there was a mistake and they would ask -"so you are not the Mr S Bry we were expecting?" -Methinks his modesty does not become him
He mentions the same thing himself -but neither does he want to be ignored when he is out and about.
Sometimes he wishes he was just a brain without the impediments of a body like a Futurama film. He mentions being celibate and that sometimes he did not want to risk friendships by sullying them with a physical relationship.
He would like a family -but with the convenience of a Victorian marriage -where he as the father sees the kids etc. at his convenience.
He talks about his time at Cambridge with Hugh Laurie where they won an acting prize -with little difficulty, and meeting Emma Thompson
He talks about his need to get a buzz from cigarettes and latterly, with cocaine.
He admits to being competitive for the public to like him -even if he was never competitive in the sphere of sport.
Just when you are enjoying all of these insights -bam - the CD is over! It probably needs a double CD offering to give you more insights!
It is a very enjoyable listen and well worth checking out. The jail spell and the kleptomaniac stuff were news to me.
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on 8 June 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a nice little disc about Stephen Fry, running at just 45 minutes. Fans of his will enjoy this, giving a nice insight into the comedian, with mentions of his childhood, time at Cambridge (where he met Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson) and going on to feature a Front Row interview in 2010 about the writing process for his memoir. The disc spans just over two decades, beginning with a recording from 1987 and finishing at 2010. The interviews are not massively spaced out over this time though, with the first 4 spanning over 3 successive years, before we jump to the late 90s.

The content is interesting and, without knowing too much about Fry beforehand, I did learn some new things about him. However, the same content crops up several times over the interviews, talking about his rebellious youth and some issues he had within this time. With Fry, you will always get interesting content, but I did feel that there was bound to be a wider variety out there that could have been included within this disc. A lot of the interviews have been edited to cut out the interviewer/host too, which gives it an odd effect, with just chunks of Stephen talking.

This is a nice CD and an interesting listen, but doesn't have a great deal of depth or variety to it. People wanting a real insight into the man himself should perhaps turn to his memoir instead.

A good concept for a disc, but not quite pulled off as it could be, when featuring such an interesting and likeable man.
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VINE VOICEon 2 June 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm afraid I must repeat what has already been said in previous reviews: this is a very short compilation, running to just 45 minutes on one CD. Stephen Fry is such a fascinating and intelligent chap to listen to that I would have happily sat through the entirety of the shows that we only hear excerpts from here, including his appearances on "Desert Island Discs" (1988) and "Parkinson" (1999). I know this is the format of the BBC's "In Their Own Words" range, but some of these titles (such as the Paul McCartney and Margaret Thatcher releases) have run to two discs. Fry should have been afforded the same treatment.

It's also a strangely unbalanced selection of clips in terms of time frame. Four of the six programmes sampled here are from the late 1980s, around the time that Fry was appearing in "Blackadder" and "A Bit of Fry & Laurie". We then jump forward to 1999 for the "Parkinson" material and 2010 for "Front Row". Did Fry simply not do interviews for the BBC in the intervening years?

Perhaps not surprisingly, there is some repetition of the same old topics, such as Fry's childhood ill-discipline, his efforts to avoid PE, his time in prison and his celibacy. After all, an interviewee cannot be expected to be asked about radically different things every time he is interviewed. However, this does aid the sense of how his outlook on life has developed over the years - he seems happier and more confident in the later material.

Though the brevity of this CD is disappointing, hearing Stephen Fry in his own words is always quite interesting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Stephen Fry is a mixture of the world's most annoying man, a genius, and both at the same time. This CD is a short (45 minute) collation of interviews, more than half being from the late 80's, and it baffles me as to who will buy this, as you can easily find hundreds of podcasts on the same subject by the Mr Fry anyway. In short, there is not enough of this, and by nature, being 45 minutes, it barely touches the sides of his life, with a naturally limited exposure and discussion of anything that happened in his life after 1989. A disappointment, truth be told.
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