Stephen fry

Rude jokes about Stephen Hawking are exactly what the Baftas need

Odd though it may seem, I think I’m with Stephen Fry on the issue of the Baftas. The grand old poof – I mean that in an affectionate, rather than a disparaging or a prejudiced sense – has been criticised for his performance as compere at this fatuous awards ceremony. Too many expletives. Off colour jokes at the expense of the likes of Stephen Hawking. He even said ‘Tom Fucking Cruise’, instead of ‘Tom Cruise’. Good for him; the Baftas are a ghastly parade of mewing luvvies and deserve to be undermined by calculated unprofessionalism. I think all awards ceremonies are likewise vile, to be honest; smug and self-congratulatory and hugely

Here’s my rule: If the word ‘he’ will offend, then always use it

Isn’t it about time the English language got itself a gender-neutral pronoun? This was the clarion call from the Guardian last week — and when that particular clarion sounds, we must all stand to attention and cut out the sniggering. I assume the writer of the piece was moved to action having seen photographs of members of Isis pushing gay people from the tops of large buildings — and was deeply worried that each of the victims, tumbling to their deaths, might have been unhappy about being referred to as ‘he’ by wilfully unprogressive western journalists. (Incidentally, with regard to these new acts of Islamist savagery, have you heard any complaints from

Benedict Cumberbatch: Pardon all gay men convicted under same law as Alan Turing

A screening of The Imitation Game hosted by the American ambassador Matthew Barzun saw Alan Turing’s nephew Sir John Dermot Turing and his great-niece Rachel Barnes welcomed to 24 Grosvenor Square. There Barzun spoke of the progress that both America and Britain have made with gay rights since Turing’s day. The wartime code-breaker committed suicide after he was found guilty of gross indecency and given chemical castration treatment as punishment. He was given a pardon for his ‘crime’ by the Queen in 2013. Now, members of the film’s cast have signed an open letter to the British government urging them to to pardon the estimated 49,000 men who were persecuted under the same law that Alan Turing was found guilty of. Mr S suspects

The Grand National doesn’t need Jeremy Kyle

Never mind David Cameron. Are you participating in the Great Debate about an event of national significance that stirs the blood of millions? No, I don’t mean the General Election: racing is in a tizzy about who should lead the television coverage of this year’s Grand National since the sainted Clare Balding (whom God preserve) has opted on the big day to cover instead the predictable procession in the Oxford v. Cambridge Boat Race. Channel Four, in whose hands Aintree coverage rests, has been semi-publicly agitating whether to allow Clare’s fellow racing presenter Nick Luck to replace her in fronting the show or to go outside for a ‘big name’,

Why is Stephen Fry’s decision to get married a major news story for the BBC?

Why, do you reckon, was Stephen Fry’s decision to marry another man an item in a BBC radio news bulletin earlier today, right up there with the row over Jim Murphy and the mansion tax? I mean, we’re obviously interested – personally I was completely riveted by the revelation he’s all of 30 years older than his partner – but not as in national interest? I mean it’s one for the papers, in the light celeb stories slot, but not the news… surely? Even those who accept that gay and heterosexual marriages are on a par – which I don’t – must question whether Mr Fry’s status as Twitter king and Well-Known Gay

Jack Bauer hits, er, West Ealing

Whatever worries Kiefer Sutherland may have had about reprising the role of Jack Bauer in 24: Live Another Day (Sky1, Wednesday), learning his lines for episode one won’t have been one of them. After a four-year break, the show returned with its trusty digital clock standing at 11.00 a.m. — and, as ever, the events took place in real time. Yet it wasn’t until around 11.43 that Jack spoke his first words. Not that, after four years of being hunted by the authorities for saving the world in too maverick a way for those pen-pushers in Washington, he was having an uneventful day. By the time he broke his silence

Sochi Olympics: Why picking on gays has backfired so horribly for Vladimir Putin

After all the fuss, the billions spent, the calls for boycotts and so on, the Sochi Winter Olympics will begin next week. Given the incredibly low expectations, the Russian Games may even be judged a success — as long as the weather stays cold and no terrorist attack takes place. But Vladimir Putin should not be too smug, because his broader campaign against homosexuality has backfired spectacularly. The Russian President’s decision to sign a law prohibiting ‘the propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors’ last summer probably made sense to him at the time. This measure, along with one that bans the adoption of Russian children not just by homosexuals

The perils of dressing – and undressing – for parties

I recall a male friend telling me about an encounter he once had with Bindy Lambton, the eccentric estranged wife of the late Lord Lambton. They had been to the same party and it was snowing outside. ‘Would you mind coming home with me?’ she enquired. ‘I’m not propositioning you. I’m too old. It’s just that I need someone to undo the back of my dress’. On asking how she managed to undress when alone, Lambton answered breezily, ‘I go out on the street , hail a taxi and ask the driver to unzip me. But it’s too cold to do that tonight.’ Oh, the perils of dressing, and undressing

Boris Johnson and the ‘Aztec death ray’

As Mr Steerpike reported late last night, the gloves were off between Russell Brand and Charles Moore at the GQ Man of the Year awards. But that was not the only fight to split the audience. After American comedian Seth MacFarlane’s disastrous turn at this year’s Oscars, you would have thought that award ceremony hosts might be wary of musical numbers. Yet that did not stop Rob Brydon bursting into song about Stephen Fry’s recent suicide attempt, warbling that the National Treasure could not be left alone with ‘vodka and pills’. A shaky start to say the least, which was not helped by a bad Eric Pickles joke that left

Taki: Stephen Fry and the gay lobby should cool it over the Winter Olympics

Gstaad I’ve met Stephen Fry twice in my life, both times long ago. The first time at a dinner given by the then editor of The Spectator, Dominic Lawson, in London, and the second time in a restaurant in New York with the writers Jay McInerney and Brett Easton Ellis. The first time I was completely out of it, the second he was, hence we didn’t exactly connect. Fry has been in the news lately for demanding a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. His beef is Russian anti-gay legislation. Now there’s a hell of a lot of things that are wrong with Russia — first and

Stephen Fry: the high-priest of juvenile atheism

Well, well, well. Nick Cohen’s excellent column in this week’s mag  has caused a stir today. Sadly, though, Nick’s astute argument became another excuse for a boring slanging match between atheists and believers. And of course Stephen Fry waded in: Mary had a little lamb It’s fleece was white as snow All you religious dicks Just fuck off and go. No more discussion with dickheads. Sorry. — Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) August 22, 2013 Really? Fry’s Twitter cronies lapped that up. They always do. He’s so clever and civilised, our Stephen, bless his colourful cotton socks. Unlike those credulous maniacs who believe in God. In 2013! Celebrity atheists always claim the

James Rhodes’s diary: Trying to catch out Stephen Fry, and the scandal of music education

This was the best kind of week. It started with a three-hour road trip with my manager/surrogate father/shrink/bodyguard to Monmouth to record album no. 5. Glenn Gould (whom I worship with the fervour of a pre-teen Belieber) talked about the ‘womb-like security of the recording studio’. Which was why, in a somewhat pussy move, he retired from performing in public. And he was spot on. Bless my mum, but my first womb was a Valium- and gin-infested warm place of loveliness, and the recording studio is absolutely the next best thing. Me, the safety net of the retake, a (phenomenal) Steinway, heaters, Kit-Kats, tea and Beethoven can give any pharmaceuticals

Mark Rylance the star attraction

There was some TV stardust at Stephen Fry and Mark Rylance’s all male production of Twelfth Night at the Apollo on Friday night. Gary Lineker and his wife Danielle were part of an ecstatic audience that gave a standing ovation to the players in this wildly successful show, which has recently transferred from the Globe to the West End. For those of you who are surprised to find that the perma-tanned resident of the Match of the Day sofa and his good lady wife take in Shakespeare of an evening, I hear that the Linekers count themselves as massive Mark Rylance fans after seeing him star as Jonny ‘Rooster’ Byron in

The great shroud of the sea rolled on – reading Moby-Dick is a website. It adapts Herman Melville’s novel Moby-Dick into an online audiobook. The content is rich: what tech executives might call “trendily interactive”, in that there are Facebook groups, hipster cultural events, academic podcasts, and so on. The Guardian is heavily involved. David Cameron, Tilda Swinton, Stephen Fry and Simon Callow have all “jumped aboard”. There will be a “Whale-Fest” in Brighton. This kind of thing doesn’t have to be your cup of tea, to admit at least that the effort is genuine. It is a fanzine for Ahab-enthusiasts, self-described as ‘an online version of Melville’s magisterial tome’. From my desk in SW9, I feel a sort of