Friday, I took the day off so that I could meet Kerry downtown before the Just for Laughs gala show. It was her last day at the office before her maternity leave so we figured we’d grab a bite on St. Denis and wander about. Sadly it was raining and there wasn’t much happening around the festival site before the show. At least my flamm at Les 3 Brasseurs was good.
The gala show itself was hilarious, mostly thanks to host Craig Ferguson who spent about twenty minutes savaging Tom Cruise.
On Sunday, we had some lovely friends over for a brunch/birthday party as I turned 37 over the weekend. Said friends were nice enough to present me with books on parenting, playing guitar, and poetry writing. The latter is a book by Stephen Fry which assigns homework. For example, last night I had to create a series of couplets using iambic pentameter. This is what I came up with this morning as I grew increasingly frustrated with my very slow office computer:
Computer grinds, it wheezes, chugs, and moans.
To tell the truth, I should have worked from home.
Well, we can’t all be W.H. Auden but I’m glad to be doing this as poetry was something I had little patience for in university. I thought that if I couldn’t read it like prose (and at that, I’m a frustratingly slow reader), then what was the point? Now, in my old age, I like slowing down and taking my time with things so I think I’d like to revisit my old English Verse text book and try a little verse myself.
Stephen Fry, I have to say, helped me get through university. While I miss going to the library, checking out a series of 19th century books, and sitting quietly and reading them, I struggled with the modern academic world: specifically, anything to do with post-moderism. When you’re in class with pompous and pretentious professors and their adoring students, it tends to colour your experience, even if most of your other classes were enjoyable.
Fry used to write a column for the Daily Telegraph and that was made into a collection called Paperweight. In that book, he often wrote about a lot of the same things I was covering and takes such an accessible approach to them that it helped frame the way I continued with my studies. I like him because talks about art in classless way, never coming across as superior or smug but, at the same time, never apologetic either (except about his background. In his memoir, Moab is My Washpot, he plays down his privledged upbringing a little bit, claiming to be middle class and modest and yet the photo of his childhood home is of a large estate). All that to say, Fry makes it clear that art is:
- For all to enjoy
- Not a test of how clever you are
- Not something that, when it’s appreciated, will make you better than other people
- Something that, on the whole, makes you a happier person for knowing it.
And that’s plenty for me.