Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Stephen Fry on Peter Cook

It was a while ago but Mister Stephen Fry always impresses me with his position on matters, and this matter especially so since I am an avid enthusiast of the late Mister Cook. This video was shot a while ago (Around 1995) but it demonstrates how one fine wit can compliment the other.

From an artist's perspective what Mister Fry is saying is also very important. These days there is a lot of pressure to 'make something of yourself', much of this can be attributed to Warhol and the idolization of the 'star system' that through-out the 1970s merged into the 80's 'greed is good' era whereby success was measured by the brand of your sunglasses and the shine of your car. The paparazzi have never stopped pushing that point since or indulging in some sort of twisted variant of it.

Fringe artists will always feel the friction caused by this public attitude towards the arts, are you a burger flipper or a filmmaker? You may flip burgers five days a week and make the odd film here and there, so does that make you a burger flipper who makes film or a filmmaker who flips burgers? Either way you may not care but some feel it as a struggle and may have the ambition to only flip burgers if they are helping out with catering during a lunch break on their feature film set. I only say this from having heard so many filmmakers or people talking about making films refer to the craft in the sense of 'making a living off of it'. If that is what I am hearing then what I have just said must be relevant.

Conversely many filmmakers could settle for jobs within the entertainment industry. It may not be directing or writing, but it may be assistant gaffer or floor assistant in a television studio. Those kind of roles however for some would not be fulfilling in the sense of having their life dreams realised.

The general public are not going to be overly concerned with your career. The coal shoveler is not going to care if your film doesn't pay your internet bills. They are going to be more concerned whether or not if by spending their money on seeing your film means they can't pay their internet bills. I am side tracking but I really think that cinemas need to lower their ticket prices. The public deserve to be able to see going to the movies as an affordable outing, the way it is, you can buy three great DVDs at JB HiFi for the price of one movie ticket.

So back to Peter Cook and Stephen Fry. We all know that Peter Cook struggled with a few personal things but so does everyone. What he inevitably produced regardless has been an invaluable contribution to the culture of our aesthetics and without it we would be missing an important part of our writing history. I think it is extremely insightful what Stephen says about Cook having that comic wit masked upon him like some people have beauty. Indeed Peter didn't need to make gags or funny faces, it was just there in the air surrounding him. Quite an anomaly. Rather like Ronnie Barker in that respect.

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