It’s hardly surprising I annoy some people. I annoy myself. But new depths were plunged today by some shiny faced, arse-witted creep called Tim Walker who published a nasty little piece in the Telegraph today implying that I don’t write or compose my own tweets. As you will probably know, I don’t read newspapers, but a friend sent me the link without thinking, so I couldn’t but read it.
Since I have a large number of followers it is natural that all kinds of charities want to use my twitter presence to advertise some national day of awareness, good cause gathering, benefit performance etc etc. I ask if they’ll be good enough to comply with the strictures laid down on my website. This is so they can get their message across at the right time, on the right day, phrased in the right manner and directed at a site that can take the extra burden of traffic. The last thing one wants to do is spontaneously agree to tweet a charity cause and then see their site crash. It has the effect of a DDoS attack (you’ll have to look that up, “Tim”) and this has happened too many times for me to allow it to happen again.
My PA went to extreme lengths, when this creep from the inner ring of Satan’s rectum called “to check the facts” (HA!) to explain that, as is clearly stated on my website http://www.stephenfry.com, I will often tweak the wording of a charity tweet that I am asked to make if it’s a bit stilted or not in my style but otherwise – every day, on my diary, through the magic of syncing – there will be some tweet reminders for me placed there, naturally after I have been consulted and have approved the charity or cause. I try and ration these to about three a day maximum. I can’t tweet about everyone who’s walking to John O’Groats or has written a song for Syria. I don’t want my twitter stream to be nothing but a bulletin board for good causes. But you would have to have the brains of lobotomised donkey not to understand that this is how life would be with a following of 6 million +
@ThatTimWalker, this sneering and disgusting insult even to the reeking heap of disgraced ordure that is the British press, was told all this very clearly and patiently by my distressed PA who, knowing the British print media, was all too aware that this noxious boll-weevil would go ahead and print insinuating drivel whatever she said. Indeed, apprised of the truth, he still managed to extrude a semi-literate gossipy turd about seeing me at a meeting with Andy Serkis and witnessing me taking out my phone and tweeting. I was complying with two charity tweets that my diary alarm pinged me to make. If I’m late, the charities might waste money that they have paid to whoever is hosting their server cluster so that it can take the extra traffic. That wouldn’t occur for a second to a (clearly digitally illiterate) gossip-monger. No, no. From this he hopes his pitiful readership will infer that I am not master of my own twitter account but somehow in hoc to … to whom? We can be completely exact about what happened when he was at the same restaurant as me and watched me tweeting.
The tweets he witnessed me making at 11am on Thursday 19th September 2013 were
Challenging ideas underlying psychiatric services. Follow PAVO & Jacqui Dillon in the debate today at #shapingmhpowys. Read http://powysmentalhealth.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/unconventional-wisdom-organic-reasons.html.
A sketch about tea-fighting … tinyurl.com/teafighting
A favour to a friend of a friend, and…
Wanted posters aren’t just for Wild West outlaws, composers may have a price on their head too http://bit.ly/b3oIAN #DeloitteIgnite
…which was part of my ongoing duties as curator of a celebration of the bicentenaries of Verdi and Wagner at the Royal Opera House. I had promised each organisation that I would tweet at that time so their servers could be ready for the traffic. A child of ten who understands twitter would see the need for such precautions and preparations. But then, no child of ten would want to be a rejected and scorned gossip columnist for the Daily Telegraph. I can’t think of a more embarrassing occupation in the world. I’d rather be chief enema-administrator to Jabba the Hutt.
I notice even now as I write this that my diary reminders are beeping to tell me to post two more promised tweets: one for the RAF Benevolent Fund and one for an LGBT parenting group. If I happened to be doing this in a restaurant witnessed by our star scoop ace shyster Walker the Witless, he would no doubt adduce this as more proof of my not tweeting my own tweets.
The fact is this. No one else on earth knows my Twitter password: Every tweet I make is my own aside from (obvious to anyone with the wit to see them) these charitable tweets that I have consented to post.
Walker concludes his vicious little paragraph firstly by telling an outright lie: that I “buttonholed” my dear friend Christopher Hitchens’s brother at the luncheon after Christopher’s memorial service in New York. Not true. I could see Peter Hitchens in the doorway of the Waverly Inn, standing utterly alone (as he does intellectually, morally and socially amongst his brother’s friends) and, taking pity, I just came up to chat. He responded so rudely, so vilely and with such lack of human decency, that I couldn’t but tweet at the extreme difference between two products of the same parents. Probably a misjudgement on my part. I make many. But then Peter Hitchens is proportionately as joyless and unlovable a person as his so deeply missed brother was joyful and loveable and I was upset at such charmless rudeness. And I was, I freely admit, a little drunk. Which is just what Christopher would have wanted me to be.
Making mistakes on Twitter, especially if a little in one’s cups, is like making mistakes in life. Tweet in haste, repent at leisure. Of course I’ve done it many more times than once. I’d be inhuman not to. But I’ve done it, not some ghost-writer or assistant.
The Telegraph’s human cockroach ends by wishing I would give up twitter for ever.
I won’t do so, not for him nor anyone else. Aside from any other consideration, having a following vaster by millions than his disgusting rag means I never ever have to submit myself to the horror of a print interview ever again in my life. Ever. Imagine what joy that means! When I do a The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug press junket next week, for example, I will do no print media; when I have to offer some PR for an up-coming BBC 2 series on being gay around the world called Out There: no print media. No magazines and certainly no newspapers. And it’s all because of people like Tim Walker. One of the chief glories of twitter, from my point of view, is that it allows me to short-circuit loathsome bottom-feeders of his kind. If I do a TV chat show, or a radio interview people are free to think I’m a wanker, because at least it’s me they’re listening to or watching. Not some “profile” version of me filtered through the envious, mean-spirited spite of an arse-hole journalist whose only attainment is the ability to sneer.
Walker repeats the story of how I “gave twitter up” for a while (as has every sane person I know: many magnificent writers, comedians and artists have given up completely precisely because of the viciousness, disingenuous, calumny and boring presence of people like this Walker excrescence) and concludes that he wishes I would leave permanently. Which shows his complete ignorance of twitter. All he has to do is block me or unfollow me and then, to all intents and purposes I have left. D’uh. Do you actually even know how twitter works, you boil-in-the-bag scum, you purulent tit, you nauseating anus?
So why did he write this nasty screed, knowing full well it insinuated all kinds of things that weren’t true? Well, “because he’s a journalist” is answer enough obviously, but why else, we can’t but wonder?
Snide resentment? Lazy page-filling? Because he happened to be in the Wolseley Restaurant, saw me on my smartphone and thought he’d cobble together a toxic mix of gossip, guesswork and malice? Who knows what goes on in the acid-dripping voids of empty space between the ears of such low-life insults to DNA?
Perhaps I should only ever tweet the mood I’m in, what I’m eating for breakfast and how obscene beyond measure it is that the Leveson Enquiry has been effectively shelved, or any other things that come into my head? Perhaps every email or message to my website from others asking me to tell my followers about their charity evening should be ignored. Perhaps I should behave with the grace, charm and sweetness of nature of @ThatTimWalker and tell all the charities to fuck off? Would that be the right thing to do? Is that what you’d do, Tim, if you had 6 million followers? Just ignore all charitable requests, or spontaneously RT the ones in a million you happened to spot and thereby cause their sites to crash? Hmmm?
I really would be fascinated to hear his advice on how I should deal with the hundreds and hundreds of requests that come to my site every week asking for a little twitter nudge. Lines of communication are open, Mr Walker “part time West End star” (that’s what it says in his biog: your guess is as good as mine the mind boggles, but refuses to picture the sight). You are welcome to insult me as aggressively as I’ve insulted you, but you’re not allowed to lie again: just give me a sensible solution as to how to run a twitter identity and pass on charitable news? Is there’s something I’ve missed?
As it happens, I spent this morning doing an hour’s filmed interview for a foreign news crew who are doing a ten part series about England and what it means to be English.
“Is there anything that makes you ashamed to be English?” I was asked.
“Yes,” I said. “Our printed press.”
“Oh,” he said, resignedly. “That’s the answer everyone gives.”
I wonder why.