Featuring: Stephen Fry

I first saw Stephen Fry in a series called Blackadder in which he played a role as an officer alongside the main character Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean) Much later I found out he wasn’t only an actor/comedian but also an accomplished writer and an academic. He is an extremely intelligent man and wisely opinionated. I am never bored when I hear or watch this man talking about life and philosophy. So here is some more about this fascinating and smart individual.

Stephen John Fry (born 1957) is an English actor, comedian and writer. He and Hugh Laurie are the comic double act Fry and Laurie, who starred in A Bit of Fry & Laurie and Jeeves and Wooster. Fry’s film acting roles include playing his idol Oscar Wilde in the film Wilde (1997), Gosford Park (2001), and Mr. Johnson in Whit Stillman’s Love & Friendship (2016). He also made appearances in Chariots of Fire (1981), A Fish Called Wanda (1988), and The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004) as well as V for Vendetta (2005), Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011), and The Hobbit film series.

Fry is also known for his roles in television such as Lord Melchett in the BBC television comedy series Blackadder, the title character in the television series Kingdom, and Absolute Power, as well as a recurring guest role as Dr Gordon Wyatt on the American crime series Bones. He has also written and presented several documentary series, including the Emmy Award-winning Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, which saw him explore his bipolar disorder, and the travel series Stephen Fry in America. He was also the long-time host of the BBC television quiz show QI, with his tenure lasting from 2003 to 2016 for which he was nominated for six British Academy Television Awards. He also appears frequently on panel games such as Just a Minute, and I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue.

Besides working in television, Fry has been a prolific writer, contributing to newspapers and magazines and having written four novels and three volumes of autobiography, Moab Is My Washpot, The Fry Chronicles, and More Fool Me. Fry is also known for his voice-overs, reading all seven of the Harry Potter novels for the UK audiobook recordings,[5] narrating the LittleBigPlanet and Birds of Steel series of video games, as well as an animated series of explanations of the laws of cricket, and a series of animations about Humanism for Humanists UK.

Fry has bipolar disorder. His first diagnosis was cyclothymia, which he refers to as “bipolar lite”. Fry has spoken publicly about his experience with bipolar disorder, which was depicted in the documentary Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive. In the programme, he interviewed other sufferers of the illness including Robbie Williams, Carrie Fisher, Richard Dreyfuss and Tony Slattery. He is involved with the mental health charity Stand to Reason and is president of Mind. In 2013, he revealed that, in the previous year, he had started taking medication for the first time, in an attempt to control his condition. In 2018, alongside Nadiya Hussain and Olly Alexander, Fry was part of Sport Relief’s attempt to raise awareness of mental health.

Stephen Fry married comedian Elliott Spencer in January 2015 in Dereham, Norfolk. Fry is friends with Prince Charles, through his work with the Prince’s Trust. He attended the Prince’s wedding to Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005. Fry is a friend of comedian and actor (and Blackadder co-star) Rowan Atkinson and was best man at Atkinson’s wedding. His best friend is Hugh Laurie, whom he met while both were at Cambridge and with whom he has collaborated many times over the years. He was best man at Laurie’s wedding and is godfather to all three of his children. Fry became a vegetarian in 2017,having earlier expressed a desire to become so.

Fry has repeatedly expressed opposition to organised religion, and has identified himself as an atheist and humanist, while declaring some sympathy for the ancient Greek belief in capricious gods. In his first autobiography he described how he once considered ordination to the Anglican priesthood, but came to the conclusion that he “couldn’t believe in God, because [he] was fundamentally Hellenic in [his] outlook.”He has stated that religion can have positive effects: “Sometimes belief means credulity, sometimes an expression of faith and hope which even the most sceptical atheist such as myself cannot but find inspiring.”

There is so much more to say about this interesting and funny man and his achievements but I do not want to bore you with endless details. There’s more on Wikipedia. Here’s a few videos for you to check him out (or not):

Sources: Wikipedia, YouTube, interweb, poetpas

Featuring: Yongey Mingyur

Most of us have heard of the Dalai Lama and Tibet. After China took control over Tibet, the 14th Dalai Lama resettled in India as spiritual leader. Through following him and taking an interest in Tibetan Buddhism I learned about another inspiring teacher named Rinpoche Yongey Mingyur.

Mingyur Rinpoche was born in Nepal in 1975. From the age of nine, his father taught him meditation, passing on to him the most essential instructions of the Dzogchen and Mahamudra traditions. At the age of eleven, Mingyur Rinpoche began studies in northern India. Two years later, Mingyur Rinpoche began a traditional three-year retreat. At the age of nineteen he studied the primary topics of the Buddhist academic tradition, including Middle Way philosophy and Buddhist logic.
In June 2011, Mingyur Rinpoche left his monastery in Bodhgaya to begin a period of extended retreat. Rinpoche left in the middle of the night, taking nothing with him, but leaving a farewell letter. He spent four years as a wandering yogi.
During the first few weeks of this retreat, Rinpoche had a near-death experience, likely due to a severe form of botulism. This may have been the result of choosing to eat only the meals that were free and available to him after allowing himself to run out of money. The near-death experience, according to Rinpoche, was one of the most pivotal and transformative experiences of his life. After continuing with his retreat for four years, he later returned to his position as abbot.

Yongey Mingyur is a very amusing little man who brought me much wisdom and insight into meditation and Tibetan buddhism. Through him I have found more inner peace. He was scientifically tested and proven to be the happiest man on the planet. His thoughts on having a “monkey mind” in our brain that tries to control our lives are very interesting and helpful. This man has positively changed my life big time.

Check him out (or not):

Books:

Videos:

Sources: Wikipedia, YouTube, Amazon, interweb, poetpas

Featuring: Jim White

I first learned about Jim White when I saw his movie Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus. Searching for The Wrong-Eyed Jesus is a captivating and compelling road trip and follows “Alt Country” singer Jim White through a gritty terrain of churches, prisons, truck stops, biker bars and coal mines. This is a journey through a very real contemporary Southern U.S., a world of marginalised white people and their unique and home-made society. Along the way are road-side encounters with modern musical mavericks including The Handsome Family, Johnny Dowd, Dave Eugene Edwards, old time banjo player Lee sexton; rockabilly and mountain Gospel churches and novelist Harry Crews telling grisly stories down a dirt track.

This movie had a certain impact on me and left me wondering if there was more to this Jim White. After I checked him out on YouTube I realized he is a very sensitive, smart and sincere person.

Jim White (born Michael Davis Pratt) was influenced in his childhood by gospel. He has been a comedian, a fashion model, a boxer, a preacher, a professional surfer, and a New York City cab driver before embarking on a music career. White attended film school at New York University. Soon after finishing his lengthy thesis at the university, White entered a self-described “deep hole of sickness and depression and poverty.” However, during a party organized by film school friends, White began to perform, and began writing material for an album soon afterward.

White’s live shows, particularly when touring solo, can be characterized as off-beat, blending his playlist with open discussion with the audience, anecdotal storytelling derived from his own life experiences, all of which is typically humorous and insightful, with a deep sense of his feeling for the broken beauty of humanity.

Check him out (I would):

Sources: IMDb, Wikipedia, YouTube, interweb, poetpas
Photo: By Tecumseh1973 Wikipedia

Grief

I guess if you got your choice between grief and nothing, you’ll take grief. You know you’re alive when you’re sad-otherwise how do you know you’re alive…

~Jim White

Sighendtoxicology

come in
come on down
no need to pray
you only pay

we’ll wash your brain
and erase your pain
with Ron’s ethics
under our reign

give us your secrets
you will be fine(d)
someday we may need them
to keep you in line

Pentahostile

dancing
with the devil
on Saturday
we’ll party hard
my dearest
Red

Sunday
we’ll talk it over
with the good Lord,
ask for forgivemess
after we shot you
dead

Secrets

hidden by many
in sheltered accommodation
they are kept
far and beyond
anyone’s imagination

safe and sound
locked up and stored away
waiting to be revealed
at some point
maybe some day

Church bells

bear clinging metal
reveal secrets they hold
through centuries of ringing
their stories are told
as bells witnessed
life and death
from first cry
till our last breath

Gypsy eyes

half moon shaped
dark brown pearls
i love the eyes of
those gypsy girls

centuries of suffering
mirrored in their souls
worldly wisdom
gathered thru endless strolls

mixed Indian beauty
created over time
inherited musical talent
prodigy in rhyme