Monday, October 4, 2010
Two renowned writers televised from the Sydney Opera House in two days. A veritable feast of erudition. Stephen Fry and Tariq Ali.
Stephen Fry. Polymath, writer, TV host, blogger, Twitterer and progenitor of a million other projects, was in Sydney to talk about language and his five Ws: Waugh, Wodehouse, Wilde, words and writing.
His ability to not only quote ad nauseum from the three of his Ws who wrote before him, but also to continually demonstrate their relevance.
His quips. Peppering his conversation with admissions such as having three attributes which would render him infallible in Hollywood: gay, Jewish and bi-polar.
And his ENORMOUS brain.
Just a pity he didn't bring along that Alan bloke from QI, he's a crackup.
Tariq Ali, who was a guest of the Sydney Festival of Dangerous Ideas, and whose latest tome is The Obama Syndrome, is a serious brainiac. I haven't read any of his books but I have read some of his editorials and opinion pieces - enough to know that I'm not qualified to comment on his commentary... Instead a couple of observations from tonight's show where he was the stand out panelist:
Ali knows more about Australia's foreign policy than KRudd.
He has a great voice and an impeccable turn of phrase - especially for an academic, eg - 'he made a nutty speech'. ...that comment was funny at the time. Maybe it was the accent.
Best call of the night goes to his opinion on the euthanasia bill debate:
'In the short term we should have an experimental phase whereby we restrict euthanasia to politicians.'
QandA watchers now all aTwitter debating who should kickstart said trial...