Ben Elton – ChatterQuote May 2013
People who get through life dependent on other people’s possessions are always the first to lecture you on how little possessions count.
This month’s quote comes from one of my absolute favorites, British author, comedian and playwright, actor and director Ben Elton, a Taurus, born May 3, 1959 in Catford, London, England. He was considered the leader of the alternative comedy movement in the 80’s and wrote for the cult series Black Adder and The Young Ones that spawned such notables as Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean), Stephen Fryand Hugh Laurie (House). Known for his left-wing political satire, Ben went on to write more than a dozen of what I think are some of the funniest and most cleverly entertaining books, each one funnier and more pertinent than the last. I have all of them (except the most recent – but that won’t last long!). Although Ben is primarily known for his “humor” I picked this particular quote from him because whether he realized it or not, he was speaking the language of Taurus at the time. Taurus is the sign associated with possessions, of all kinds, so much so, they treat people like possessions as well. Hmmmmm….
Ben is so smart at taking a specific social commentary, often way before its time, and then writing a very credible account of what might just happen in the near future. He addresses such topics as global warming and conservation, along with the public’s obsession with reality shows and pop idol contests. In Chart Throb (his satire of X Factor/American Idol) Prince Charles is persuaded by the palace to compete in the show to “up” his sagging ratings and sings something like “Jerusalem” as his audition piece! Even funnier still, is that his fellow contestants are convinced he’s a lookalike and not the real Prince at all! The contestants are initially divided by the Chart Throb staff into Mingers, Blingers, Clingers & Singers based on their audition tapes, and then the judges are hilariously reminiscent of mega mogul Simon Cowell, along with a Sharon-Osborne-like character, who in this case happens to be a transsexual…
One of his early books Gridlock (in fact it was his 2nd book published in 1991 following his 1st book Stark in 1989), suggested a time when there would be so much traffic in central London, there was total gridlock… and some years on after he had written the book, back in the real world in 2003, there literally was so much traffic in central London the city started discouraging you from driving there by creating a “congestion charge!” Aside from the social commentary on the topic of gridlock, the book contains another interesting human thread and observation as to how we treat people who are in wheelchairs. By placing the 2 main characters in wheelchairs, he adds in yet another layer of both humor and sadness to the mix.
Here’s an ironic excerpt from the book itself: New York will always seem more real than anything Britain has to offer. It is strange that, although the majority of British people have never seen a skate-boarding body-popper, an exploding fire-hydrant, or anybody dunk a doughnut, these things seem infinitely more immediate and happening images than that jar of Horlicks which has stood in the cupboard for 40 years.― Ben Elton, Gridlock, 1991