Monday, March 24, 2008

'What has Charlie Brooker contributed to society?'

The TV psychic medium Colin Fry - star of Living's 6ixth Sense - has just returned from a tour of New Zealand where the Maoris performed a Haka for him. "I was named a 'medicine man' by one of the biggest tribes in Auckland," he tells The Argus. He adds quite correctly (NZ expert Duncan Fallowell please note): "Indigenous populations are usually deeply spiritual people, so the type of work I do appeals to them."

It is however his comment on the Guardian columnist Charlie Brooker which amuses me. Brooker has been particularly brutal to Fry on his BBC 4 show Screenwipe. He once said of the man who has mediated for the spirits of the late Quentin Crisp and Kenneth Williams (do I sense a theme here?): "He has a face like a rat trying to work out if someone's just farted."

Fry's riposte lacks Brooker's stiletto, that sieving for the right phrasing refined by years of freelance notice-me hacking during wanking episodes, but here it is: "At the end of the day, what has Charlie Brooker ever contributed to society? He's the kind of man I'd like to go up to in a restaurant and tip a plate of spaghetti over his head, because I just think he's vile and nasty."

Vile and nasty. Oh dear, that won't do. Brooker is paid to be vile and nasty, wittily. Brooker may look like a man struggling with the ravages of face thrush but I have heard many a chuckle burst forth behind a copy of the Guardian - and I can assure you that Peter Preston was not the cause. Fry should show clemency and summon up his "croaky-voiced" spirit guide Magnus for guidance on this matter. Brooker is the Norman Wisdom of prose antics, the Jeremy Beadle of comic reassurance of conventional prejudices. Even smart readers need their placebos.


Anonymous said...

This is very obscure -- please range a little wider, madame.

And please return to the topic of the TELEGRAPH restaurant column on Saturday. You may find it boring, regardless of the writer -- but then, you're not exactly interested in the winner of the Arvon Poetry Prize are you? BRING BACK MARK PALMER may not be a campaign slogan near to your heart, but it matters to many of us -- deeply, in fact. Especially after reading the drivel of your favourite journalo 'star' writing in his place

Madame Arcati said...

Charlie Brooker obscure? And Colin Fry is virtually a household name in the UK. I have noticed that whenever I mention psychics readers say "Who?" Try to keep up.

I shall give further thought to Mark Palmer for whom there seems to be much affection. I see that Jasper Gerard is on the TV tonight (UK) talking about Heather Mills and her claim to have been offered a peerage. He is described in The Sun as "a Sunday Times writer". You would think a fellow News Intl paper would know better than that.

Anonymous said...

For crying out loud! For how much longer do we NZers have to be subjected to the uninformed crap thats dribbles out of the mouths of visiting Brits?
'... biggest tribe in Auckland' makes absolutely no sense to anyone familiar with Maoritanga, and incidentally Madame A, the plural of Maori is Maori. There is no 's' in their language. Why don't you stick to topics you vaguely understand, rather than mouthing off armed with nothing but cultural offence?

Madame Arcati said...

Well Fry himself talked about the biggest tribe in Auckland - are you saying he's got his facts wrong?

On the matter of the plural of Maori, the matter is not as cut and dried as you have us believe ...

"Some people simply do not add a plural suffix -s when the word Maori is used in a plural context in written English, i.e., they use the word according to rules of Maori language. It is interesting to see this usage appearing in New Zealand government publications and it may be become a feature of New Zealand English. Others follow style guides or publishing house rules which insist that the plural suffix -s be added when the word Maori is used in plural context."

Anonymous said...

Colin Fry has limited understanding of tribal geography in N.Z. The only 'Auckland tribe' is Ngati Whatua o Orakei.
And your dictionary/ common usage quote refers to New Zealand English, not to Maori as it is/was used by Maori. The 's' is an Anglification.
At least your alter ego was honest when he said he was 'not much' interested in Maori.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, mediums, such useful members of society.

Madame Arcati said...

So glad we agree, Mme Bruni-Sarcasm

Anonymous said...

Why so offended by the omission of an 's'? I hate when people get all high and mighty about such insignificant things.

By the way, I think Charlie Brooker is fantastic. And this blog too!