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VINE VOICEon 20 March 2010
I seem to be going through a 'Fry phase' at the moment, as I've just finished the entire series of Stephen Fry in America, watched many episodes of Jeeves And Wooster & have listened to his excellent Stephen Fry Presents - Short Stories by Anton Chekhov. I've even watched his videos debating alongside Christopher Hitchens & have yet to find him annoying, snobbish or arrogant, but rather the model of a renaissance man.

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...
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on 26 September 2014
VERY ENJOYABLE
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on 27 July 2009
This is the first audio-book which I have purchased and purely an impulse buy but one that I have not been disappointed in.

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.
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on 7 July 2009
For all those interested in the origins of metaphors, what makes a really good quotation and why we use them anyway - this is for you! Full of fascinating historical information as well as a good dose of humour as you would expect from Stephen Fry.
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on 21 July 2009
This truely is an English delight. Exploring the language with a bit of humour thrown in. Stephen Fry is his usual brilliant self. Definitely good for a long car journey. The only thing I would say is that each one ended a little too abruptly for my liking. But definitely worth a listen for anyone who likes the English language or Stephen Fry (and if you like both... well even better!)
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on 9 July 2009
Stephen Fry and language pedantry at its best for anyone who ever wondered about English.
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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on 26 August 2009
If you, as I, adore our English language and enjoy its quirks and foibles, this is the CD for you. Four half-hour radio programs are stuffed full with odd observations about metaphors, quotes and other forms, delivered with the wry wit and tones of the masterful Stephen Fry. English seems never so enjoyable as when delivered in that so correct fashion. Frankly, I hope there are more of these waiting to be put on CD so I can enjoy them some more.
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on 1 July 2009
The CD is exactly that a delight. It's funny, very interesting and witty.
Perfect for the family car journey.
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on 2 July 2009
Stephen Fry is as funny as ever in this collection of English puns etc. I would recommend this cd to all his fans, and anyone else who has not heard it before. Made me laugh out loud.
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on 6 July 2009
In the mould of Olivier, Hardwicke, Burton & Hopkins, listening to Fry's characteristic diction and wry-fry humour is a sheer joy.
0Comment| 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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