Stephen Fry:You all took the Whiteley test, which is a test for hypochondriasis, to test whether or not you are hypochondriacs.
David Mitchell:The test was a stupid test, though.
Stephen Fry:Tests are, aren't they, as a rule. What was particularly stupid about it?
David Mitchell:Well, Every question, you had to answer 1 to 3, 4, 5. And 1 meant not at all, 2 meant a little bit, 3 moderately, 4 quite a lot, 5 loads and loads. And then one of the questions was, “Do you worry about your health a lot?”. So, How can you answer, “I moderately worry about my health a lot”? “I worry about my health a lot a little bit”? “I worry about my health a lot a lot.” The answers didn't go with the questions.
Stephen Fry:You're right. They didn't think it through, did they?
David Mitchell:How long did they spend on it? Three minutes? Because if it was four, they're idiots.
Alan Davies:My tendency with those things is to put the thing, basically, all the way through the middle. “Do you want to kill children?” Moderately. I don't want to be too much either way.
“On one hand we want the world to be perfect but we don’t want to pay more tax. We want the environment sorted and to keep our cars. No one can square these circles. […] We think that what’s wrong with the country is not us, but the person next to us. We prefer to say it’s the fault of some Scot who happens to be the Prime Minister – that’s just not the way the world works, in my view.”—[x]
“I have always disbelieved that Sicilian saying about revenge being a dish best served cold. I feel that—don’t you?—when I see blinking, quivering octogenarian Nazi war criminals being led away in chains. Why not then? It’s too late now. I want to see them taken back in time and punished then […] Blame, certainly, is a dish only edible when served fresh and warm. Old blames, grudges and scores congeal and curdle and cause the most terrible indigestion.”—Moab Is My Washpot
“When people get angry with a traffic warden they don’t stop and think what it would be like to be a traffic warden or how annoying it would be if people could park wherever they liked. People talk lazily about how hypocritical politicians are. But everyone is. On the one hand we hate that petrol is expensive and on the other we go on about global warming. We abrogate the responsibility for thought and moral decisions onto others and then have the luxury of saying it’s not good enough.”—[x]
“I hope you forgive the unedifying sight of my struggle to express some of the truths of my inner self and to measure the distance between the mask of security, ease, confidence and assurance I wear (so easily that its features often lift into a smirk that looks like complacency and smugness) and the real condition of anxiety, self-doubt, self-disgust and fear in which much of my life then and now is lived.”—The Fry Chronicles
“Early in the year I had called Hugh up excitedly. ‘I’ve just bought a Macintosh. Cost me a thousand pounds.’ ‘What?’ Hugh enjoyed about a week of relaying the news of my fantastic expenditure on something as absurd and unworthy of outlay as a raincoat before he discovered that this Macintosh was a new type of computer.”—The Fry Chronicles
“When I was about 17 … going around London on two stolen credit cards, it was a sort of fantastic reinvention of myself, an attempt to. I bought ridiculous suits with stiff collars and silk ties from the 1920s, and would go to the Savoy and Ritz and drink cocktails.”—[x]
When I was a teenager, fully aware that I was gay, I was reading - the only things I could read in the library were stories - either novels, which all ended in suicide, death, shame, exposure, imprisonment, or reading biographies of people that ended in shame, exposure, or indeed just total secrecy.
It looked like a pretty grim life for me. I was either going to be some sort of sad librarian in a little university or something - if I couldn’t make it that, or - or I would have to go to some - you know, to Tangier or some exotic place which is where gay people used to go and have a relative amount of freedom.
I could never imagine the results of gay liberation, as it was originally called. You know, Stonewall, the rights there, the rise of gay consciousness and pride and all these things.
“Toy Story 3 is a perfect example of 3D done properly. The story’s so good you almost forget it’s 3D. That’s not a criticism, that’s how it should be. It’s the same with a film’s musical score. When you forget it’s there it’s doing its job properly. There’ll be a ‘bedding in’ period where everyone will be trying to make the audience duck away from floating titles but people will soon realise that has no value and doesn’t enhance the story.”—[x]
Q:What piece of advice would you give to Stephen Fry, aged 10.
A:You're not alone. Everything you feel is fine. Only feel guilty about things you have done that are mean and cheap and unkind. Don't feel guilty about what you feel, no matter what the world might think.
Everyone is scared inside, not just you. That's why reading is so good. Keep doing it. Writers are people brave enough to make you feel better about being human because they're not afraid to reveal their own frailties, weaknesses, desires, failures, and appetites.