Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Can You Hear Me, Young Stan ?

In 1973 Stephen Fry was 16, and he wrote a rather snotty letter to his older self. I wonder what kind of stamp he put on it. I didn't think Royal Mail delivered to the far future.

The Guardian recently printed the letter the older self decided to write in reply. This would have been even harder for a postman to deliver.

Stephen Fry aged 16 comes across as being spectacularly mixed up, painfully vulnerable and incandescent with anger. Not a happy bunny. And quite reasonably so - I'm sure 1973 was not a great place to be ferociously intelligent and gay.

Fry The Elder reassures him that things will work out for him despite the travails to come, while seeming sad that he's lost Fry the Younger's intensity.

I'm not sure such a letter to my 16-year-old self would be strictly necessary. Stan the Younger was a very focussed kid, happily studying Maths and Science and noticing very little else, except a bit of Sci-Fi. Although, he did feel a bit of a freak for not having the same ambitions and priorities of the other kids, so maybe I could have reassured him about that.

Looking back, it doesn't seem healthy for Stan the Younger to have such a limited world. It would be tempting to tell him to open himself up to the world a bit more, try some new things. But I'd be scared that if I changed one little thing about my past it would be one of those Butterfly Effect deals and I'd end up sniffing glue alone in a bedsit in Lowestoft.

Oh, what the heck, I'll take the risk. If by some freak of the time and space my younger self gets to read this blog, the following pieces of advice are definitely recommended:-

  1. When you leave University and have the choice between Accountancy and Something Else - choose Something Else.
  2. You are physically incapable of growing a non-risible beard. So don't try.
  3. Toddlers have very sensitive palates. So when you're talking to Stanetta about chilli peppers, don't invite her to have a lick.
  4. The red button in that hired flat - don't press it. It sets off the burglar alarm and you don't know the combination.

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