By Peter Lyle: I can't pretend this was my idea. The inspirational, successful, strong and handsome founder and editor of Manzine, asked me if I'd like to write it: The Limits Of Self-Deprecation. I felt that I would, and I quickly began to formulate some pretty obvious observations around the subject. I then sat around for a few days, which soon became a number of weeks, and now it's a couple of months.
It was when I finished that paragraph. Another fortnight's passed now. I'm going to just write it anyway, because I think the title merits it. The Limits of Self-Deprecation, once someone puts it to you exactly like that, is an interesting thing to ponder. I knew that right away, but what it was was, I didn't know if aforementioned editor Kevin had any specific thoughts or referents in addition to that title. He didn't - not to share anyway, he just let that title hang there for me, like some mystic cryptic master of Wu-Shu taking me up a few Dans or whatnot. The phrase must just have unfurled in his mind, like a quivering curlicue of airborne cherry blossom drifting into the view of a priest sat crosslegged on a meditation mat atop an unmapped misty mountain.
Also, really the whole point of Manzine and the fun of it for us was to not have to write those stories where we say Oooh, this place/person/trend is interesting, because, and then give newsy celebrity examples 1, 2 and 3 and boom – you've got your trite cultural phenom. And that's relevant because I started trying to write this a bit before the Oscars. Knowing Colin Firth was the favourite, and hearing all his twinkly self-deprecating wit and understated charm and that in the build-up and at the Golden Globes, I worried I might end up starting this like an ES column. And of course, at the end of February, he's gone and won it and gave it, "I have a feeling my career's just peaked", and then he went on to paint himself as a pathetic specimen in words so carefully and wittily chosen that you knew, as if you didn't already, that he was quite the opposite.