Milquetoast and Scrambled Eggs
(assigned by Admiral Fartmore)
Editor’s note: You know those people that have claim to have the spirit of another animal inside of them? The people that dress up like those animals and have weird sex sometimes? Furries, I think they are called. Well, that’s basically Peartree’s relationship with Kelsey Grammer: he’s a full-blown Grammy. I was hoping this assignment would cure him of this terrible affliction, but it seems it didn’t. Damn.
“The basic fact about human existence is not that it is a tragedy, but that it is a bore.” – H.L. Mencken
As my sufficient acquaintances know, I have a fondness for the high-status grandeur of Kelsey Grammer. His portrayal of Frasier Crane has a sense of authenticity and ferventness which has embraced me since I was a young devilish sprig. Like a glass of oloroso on a brooding day he has always soothed any maladies of an insufficient day.
I recall watching Frasier with my father, not understanding most of the jokes, but still laughing at the deliveries of the cast’s synchronous comedic timing. Dr Crane never pandered to my young, impressionable intellect like most of the shows I watched at the time. Instead, he helped nurture it. The show began my enthusiasm into cultured artefacts and habits such as wine, classical music, philosophy, true art, and literature. It influenced my decision to choose classical studies rather than jazz in music school. I even named the first soapbox racer I had ever built, The Kelsey Grammer; however, like this book, unfortunately, that soapbox turned out to be all show with little substance inside.
Kelsey Grammer is an actor through and through, he studied (briefly) at Juilliard, became mildly famous in theatre in roles alongside James Earl Jones and Christopher Plummer, and finally made it big on television with his casting of Frasier in Cheers. Kelsey Grammer is not, however, a writer, or was not back in 1995 when this book was published. Growing up he never wrote shitty™ forum fan fiction about two brother psychiatrists, never edited random Wikipedia articles to include strange trivia about his favourite actor, never started a shit™ blog. I’m reminded of another great actor voicing his concerns about people entering a field beyond their study without giving the craft its due diligence.
By far the best thing about this book is reading it in Kelsey Grammer’s voice. That distinctive honeyed orotund voice which gets the clit-wiggles going in any woman is like listening to the works of Debussy. It can calm you with poetic cadences à la Clair de Lune, instil the frolicsome and jovial attitude of Arabesque Nº2, or even induce the discorded tantrums of En Blanc et Noir.
The second best thing about this book is the cover. Designed by Neil Stuart and photographed by Michael McLaughlin, it is a thing of beauty. Grammer tones down his famed magniloquent character for a more approachable look. His stone wash jeans and white crew neck t-shirt appeal to the most simplistic roustabouts, but the blazer and printed boat shoes still bespeak to his loftier-than-thou ego. He is the perfect physical coalescence of Zack Morris and Mr. Belding. The scratch stroked background, clearly following a stricter form of lyrical abstraction, moves upwards to the right indicating an uplifting and hopeful future in colours representing passion, happiness, and spirituality. Which leads me to believe McLaughlin had never read the book or else I’m sure he would have drawn inspiration from Malevich’s monochrome phase instead, dispensing with the illusion of depth and colour, leaving just a subtle trace of personality.
The autobiography reads as if written for a news article, dictating his own past events with little personal insight or seeming interest in himself. Sticking mostly to facts about the location of his residents or employment, or names of girlfriends or wives, it comes across as a summation of a player’s Game Of Life piece.
Although he may have lead an engrossing life, it was difficult to feel enraptured in his story when it was so glossed-over. About his teenage years he wrote, “It occurred to me, and I know this may sound strange, that I might be Jesus”. And while he wrote a few lines about how the questioning of his existence led him to this thought, he finishes it two lines later with “I was not Jesus”. Perhaps he felt explaining he was a ‘Christian Scientist’ was enough to sate his readers, but personally knowing he believed in God and prayed medical illnesses away was different than knowing why he believed he was God (a delusion which never seemed to have faded completely from his -and to be fair, my- mind).
Later he spends all of one page regaling us of when he rode his motorcycle across the country. Entire books have been written on cross country motorcycle trips. But I suppose nothing noteworthy happened to him, except that he was narrowly struck by lightning and survived, taking it as a sign he was heading in the direction God had wanted him to and spent a large portion of the trip thinking about Zeus. My Greek mythology may be a bit rusty but I do not recall Zeus ever sending down lightning bolts of encouragement from atop Mount Olympus, conjuring up storms of nurturing and furtherance with the rumbles of abetting thunder in the distance.
There are a few moments which allow us to view glimpses into Kelsey’s mind, but like an early blossom his words peak out to view a world too harsh and cold and subsequently die before being able to be nurtured by the sun. His celebrity and tabloid exposure has rendered him closed off, giving us the ostensible stories which have been vetted to induce just the right amount of empathy.
It may be unfair of me to request more intimacy from the man since I do adore him so. He is the Dulcinea to my Quixote. The Narcissus to my Echo. But even so the writing style is tepid at best and banal at worst. True, it is not as bad as the Dresden première of Shumann’s Second Symphony, but I would be hesitant to recommend it to anyone.
And yet, I still await a follow up. This milquetoast book was a first attempt and I still yearn to know more about this man. I must acquire more of him, have his glorious seed of knowledge fill me with splendor. I have to believe his writing has improved. After all, we all must start somewhere, and he is Kelsey ‘God Damned Frasier Crane Mother Fucking Jesus’ Grammer.