Fry's English Delight (BBC Audio) Audio CD – Audiobook, 8 Sep 2011
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... this four-programme set is an utter delight and quite fascinating -- South Wales Argus --This text refers to an alternate Audio CD edition.
About the Author
Stephen Fry is a celebrated British actor, novelist, journalist, presenter, intellectual and wit. He has produced four novels and two volumes of autobiography, and has written for radio shows and TV. His TV credits include "Jeeves and Wooster" and "Blackadder, " and he hosted the BBC TV series "QI." His readings of the Harry Potter books have won him huge acclaim and several awards.
Top customer reviews
Starting off with a section called 'Current Puns', the English language is dissected in depth by a mixture of academics and amateurs. The comedian who holds the world record for the most jokes told in an hour (Tim Vine, at 499) is asked about how he makes puns & there is also a section on the Pun computer. Fry also analyses different types of puns & ends with one of his favourites (which I'm sorely tempted to tell you, if it weren't for the fact that it would ruin your enjoyment of the CD!)
Section 2 is 'Metaphor'. Many other reviewers have said that Section 1 is the only section worth listening to, but I disagree. This section is arguably the best one, with lots of QI-style insightful gambits. The large quantity of Naval metaphors (e.g. taken aback) are explored in this section, along with 'skeletons of metaphors'. Personally I had no idea that English was so laden with buried metaphors within individual words (e.g. 'sarcastic' meaning 'flesh tearing'). The phrase 'Deep Metaphor' takes on a whole new meaning...
Moving onto CD 2, Section 3 is 'Quotation'. Unlike QI: Advanced Banter, this is not just a long list of quotes but more an exploration of their nature (although it does include some good ones - e.g. 'Pretentious? Moi??' by Miss Piggy). Fry explores the meme-like nature of quotes & their nature, before looking into some users of quotes (such as Politicians & Celebrities). There is also a section on the institution that is Colemanballs - tawdry, cliched & incongruent quotations made by Football commentators.
Section 4 is 'Cliche', which sounds like a dreadful idea for an ending, but is actually interesting. Cliches aren't just cringe-worthy, but are actually a way of using language efficiently. There are interviews with printers (where the term 'cliche' comes from) & also compilers of Dictionaries of Cliche (e.g. The Penguin Dictionary of Cliches). This section also explores Tottenham's history with Parrot cliches as well as many other animal-related cliches that seem to plague but also enrich the English language.
Overall I found this CD lived up to expectations & moves me one stage closer to wanting to explore his books again (which initially put me off his work). As yet, I'm still to find anything from Fry's second-wind that hasn't appealed & educated in equal measure. Here's hoping the sequel is as good...
This is a laugh-out-loud book and one which the whole family can enjoy (although if you are anything like me, you may need a dictionary to hand in order to explain some of the words used).
Stephen does the introductions to several topics and although these cannot really be faulted, I would have preferred to hear a little more from Stephen himself. This is the only reason I have deducted one star as the audio-book itself is interesting, informative and funny.
Find the origin of "freezing the balls off a brass monkey", the answer to why the English laugh at cracker jokes and many, many more tantalising and witty idiomatic conundrums.
Oh, and such a funny title, too.
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