These past two weeks have seen me share the air space with two men I admire greatly. Two men whose command of the English language leaves me gobsmacked and inspired. You could say that they are the extreme ends of the language spectrum but each uses words in ways which amaze and amuse me. I am talking about Stephen Fry and Kevin Smith.
Two weeks ago Stephen Fry spoke at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall and last night Kevin Smith did the very same thing. So similar and yet so very different.
To me Stephen Fry is the last bastion of the old English English. As a child of the Enid Blyton generation I grew up reading not just Ms Blyton but Oscar Wilde, the Bronte Sisters, Jane Austen and a myriad of other English writers. The beautifully rolled words and turns of phrase were music to my literal ears. The way Stephen Fry speaks takes me back to that time and those memories.
But his talent is much more than that. Words are his plaything, his tools of trade; he has an ability to fashion a sentence which makes me gasp with delight. To some he may sound like a toffee nosed old Pom but to me he is an intellectual God.
Kevin Smith (hate to say it Kev but you could loose a few kgs) at the Opera House on Monday night.
I wouldn't call Kevin Smith an intellectual God, not in the same way. His craft is modern language, colloquial language and he is a master. His dialogue makes me want to write and makes me hang onto my dream of writing a script (but when I read his scripts I know it's much harder than it looks to write such "real" shit).
On Monday night he was there for his fans and his was incredibly generous with his time. Unlike Stephen Fry who worked on a very strict and organised schedule (45 minutes of pre-prepared banter followed by 45 minutes of pre-Tweeted questions asked by Jennifer Byrne), Kevin Smith gave himself to us totally. First he talked and then he answered questions from the audience, and there was a fucking shitload of questions. The KS geeks out did themselves. We left at the 3 hours 35 minutes mark and they were still going strong.
To me Kevin Smith is legend and here is a small reminder of the sort of thing I love about him. The Silent Bob Speaks scene from Chasing Amy is perfection to me; the timing, the surprise factor, the understanding of relationships disguised as male bullshit banter, it's just beautiful.
Holden looks out the window. Jay continues to roll his joint. There's silence. Then...
You're chasing Amy.
Holden's head snaps forward. He stares, wide-eyed at Silent Bob.
What..what did you say?
You're chasing Amy.
Holden stares, shocked. He looks to Jay, who's still rolling his joint.
What do you look so shocked for? He does this all the time. Fat bastard thinks just because he never says anything, that it'll have some huge impact when he does open his fucking mouth.
Why don't you shut up? Jesus! Always yap, yap, yapping all the time. Give me a fucking headache.
I went through something like what you're going through. Years ago. Same kind of thing with a girl named Amy.
A couple of years ago.
What'd she 'Live in Canada' or something? Why don't I remember this?
What you don't know about me I can just about squeeze into the Grand fucking Canyon. Did you know I always wanted to be a dancer in Vegas?
Jay and Holden look at him. Silent Bob busts a move with his hands.
Hunhh? Bet you didn't know that?
Just cell your fucking story so we can get out of here and smoke this.
So there's me an Amy, and we're all inseparable, right? Just big time in love. And then about four months in, I ask about the ex-boyfriend. Dumb move, I know, but you know how it is -
you don't really want to know, but you just have to... stupid guy bullshit. Anyway she starts telling me all about him - how they dated for years, lived together, her mother likes me better,
blah, blah, blah - and I'm okay. But then she tells me that a couple times, he brought other people to bed with them - menage a tois, I believe it's called. Now this just blows my mind.
I mean, I'm not used to that sort of thing, right? I was raised Catholic.
Silent Bob backhands him. Jay raises his fist as if to strike.
So I get weirded out, and just start blasting her, right? This is the only way I can deal with it - by calling her a slut, and telling her that she was used - I mean, I'm out for blood I want to hurt her - because I don't know how to deal with what I'm feeling. And I'm like "What the fuck is wrong with you?" and she's telling me that it was that time, in that place, and she didn't do anything
wrong, so she's not gonna apologize. So I tell her it's over, and I walk.
No, idiot. It was a mistake. I wasn't disgusted with her, I was afraid. At that moment, I felt small - like I'd lacked experience, like I'd never be on her level or never be enough for her or something. And what I didn't get was that she didn't care. She wasn't looking for that guy anymore. She was looking for me. But by the time I realized this, it was too late, you know. She'd moved on, and all I had to show for it was some foolish pride, which then gave way to regret. She was the girl, I know that now. But I pushed her away...
Everyone's silent Silent Bob lights a cigarette.
So I've spent every day since then chasing Amy...
(takes a drag from his smoke)
So to speak.
They sit there for a beat. Jay pockets the rest of his dime-bag.
Enough of this fucking melodrama. My advice - forget her, dude. There's one woman in the world. One woman, with many faces.
(to Silent Bob)
Get up, bitch