“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
“You read about people falling suddenly in love, about romantic thunderbolts that go with clashing cymbals, high quivering strings and resounding chords and you read about eyes that meet across the room to the thudding twang of Cupid’s bow, but it is less often that you read about collaborative love at first sight, about people who instantly discover that they were born to work together or born to be natural and perfect friends.” — The Fry Chronicles
“I was at a dinner party many years ago, sitting alongside Tom Stoppard, who in those days smoked not just between courses but between mouthfuls. An American woman opposite watched in disbelief.
“And you so intelligent!”
“Excuse me?” said Tom.
“Knowing those things are going to kill you,” she said, “and still you do it.”
“How differently I might behave,” Tom said, “if immortality were an option.”” — The Fry Chronicles
“One of the most unattractive human traits, and so easy to fall into, is resentment at the sudden shared popularity of a previously private pleasure. Which of us hasn’t been annoyed when a band, writer, artist or television series that had been a minority interest of ours has suddenly achieved mainstream popularity? When it was at a cult level we moaned at the philistinism of a world that didn’t appreciate it, and now that they do appreciate it we’re all resentful and dog-in-the-manger about it.” — The Fry Chronicles
“I really must stop saying sorry; it doesn’t make things any better or worse. If only I had it in me to be all fierce, fearless and forthright instead of forever sprinkling my discourse with pitiful retractions, apologies and prevarications. It is one of the reasons I could never have been an artist, either of a literary or any other kind. All the true artists I know are uninterested in the opinion of the world and wholly unconcerned with self-explanation. Artists are strong, bloody-minded, difficult and dangerous.” — The Fry Chronicles
“It is weak, it is wussy, it is probably a betrayal of everything the Cambridge literary ethos from Leavis to Kermode stands for, but I am much less interested in artistic standards, literary values, aesthetic authenticity and critical candour than I am in the feelings of others. Or in my own feelings, I suppose I should say, for I cannot bear to feel that I have offended, or that I have enemies. It is weak, it is wussy, but there you are.” — The Fry Chronicles
“Till the day I die people will always prefer to see me as strong, comfortable and English, like a good leather club chair. I have learned long ago not to fight it. Besides, and this is more than a question of good manners (although actually good manners are reason enough), why should anyone bleat on about what they feel inside all the time? It isn’t dignified, it isn’t interesting, and it isn’t attractive.” — The Fry Chronicles
“I really do believe that there are those who would like and trust me better if they saw me weeping into a whisky, making a fool of myself, getting aggressive, maudlin and drunkenly out of control. I have never found those states in others anything other than tiring, awkward, embarrassing and fantastically dull, but I am quite sure that people would cherish a view of me in that condition at least once in a while.” — The Fry Chronicles
“When Rik Mayall came to rehearsals for his episode in Blackadder II, the contrast between his style and Rowan’s was astonishing. It was like seeing a Vermeer next to a van Gogh, one all exquisite detail with the subtlest and most invisible working and the other a riot of wild and thickly applied brushstrokes. Two utterly different aesthetics, each outstandingly brilliant. With Rik you could see the character grow out of his own personality. Flashheart was an emphasised and extreme version of Rik. In Rowan’s case it was as if Blackadder was somehow conjured up from nowhere. He emerged from Rowan like an extra limb. I am as capable of envy and resentment as the next man, but when you are in a room with two people who possess an order of talent that you know you can never even dream of attaining, it is actually a relief to be able to do no more than lean back and admire like a dewy-eyed groupie.” — The Fry Chronicles