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New short(ish) story: “SCOOP!”…

As you may recall from this post, I have recently formed a new partnership with the lads from FoulEnt, on the Niume blogging platform. I had initially supplied our page with several of my existing short stories, which were all written for Linda G Hill’s Stream of consciousness Saturday feature, but I have finally gotten around to writing an all-new story which was posted on Toileterature earlier today.

It was an interesting experience, sitting down to intentionally write an original story, with no prompt and no specific theme in mind, but nevertheless I soon took the familiar route of just making it up as I went along, with no plan at all of where it would end up, so I suppose I’m lucky it didn’t try to turn itself into a novel.

Since this blog is my primary site and only exists for my own amusement and the benefit of you, my lovely readers, I thought it only fair that I should post it here in full. 

So here is Scoop! I hope you enjoy it.

{For those of you with sensitive dispositions; there is quite a bit of strong language, so consider yourselves warned} 

Geoff

Geoff Standish stared down at the keyboard in irritation, then back up at the pristine white screen of his computer, willing his brain to come up with a new angle. His stomach rumbled loudly and looked at his watch, noticing he’d missed his break and wondering if he could sneak out before his boss returned from yet another extended, boozy lunch

He hadn’t appreciated how easy he’d had it, when he’d been chief writer on the tiny local paper at home and, until he started as junior crime correspondent on the Evening Echo, it hadn’t occurred to him how difficult it would be to make his name; now he had to compete for stories with Darren, the ambitious young reporter who ran the crime desk. 

It wasn’t that Geoff was a bad writer, exactly, but he had done a fair amount of blagging at the interview to secure this, the next step on the road to his dream job of reporting for the nationals. He knew it had been a risk, lying about his qualifications, but he had figured his resumé would be enough to convince any new employer of his suitability for the position; especially since the editor at his last paper was his ex father-in-law and Geoff had reckoned on a getting a good reference from him, even if it was just to make sure he left the paper and didn’t come back.  

Splitting up with Mandy had obviously been a factor in him changing jobs, but he managed to persuade himself that he’d finally made the move to the big time because he had outgrown the parochial little rag he’d worked for since leaving school (conveniently ignoring the fact that Mandy’s father and two brothers had promised to beat the shit out of him if he  ever spoke to her again) and, despite everyone else knowing his ex-wife had taken his job like the opportunistic bitch she was, he knew his destiny as a Pulitzer prize winning journalist was still within reach 

The trouble was, there wasn’t a lot to report on around here and he had been reduced to writing a weekly “around the courts” column, which was no more than a list of neighbourhood drunks, vandals and bored teenagers, fighting in the city centre on a Saturday night.

What he needed was a proper crime, something he could really get his teeth into.

*****

Mandy

She drained the last mouthful of cheap coffee, dropped her paper cup into the bin with an expression of distaste and glared around the empty office. Why had she taken this bloody dead end job in the first place? If she hadn’t been so keen to fuck Geoff over, she never would have accepted her father’s offer to “make a bit of extra spending money”, particularly if she’d known how much of her time it would take up.

What was even worse, that useless little turd had got himself a proper job with a big city paper, which he wouldn’t have had the guts to apply for if it hadn’t been for the family cutting him loose when they divorced last year. She didn’t know why her father hadn’t cut out the middleman and sent her  to the Echo with a glowing reference, and simply sacked her idiot ex-husband. 

Except of course, she did know; alimony. If Geoff was out of work, she wouldn’t get the money her father’s flash lawyer had managed to screw out of him in the divorce.

She was almost disappointed that he hadn’t tried to get in touch with her since they split up, if only because of the kicking her bothers would happily inflict on him if he dared come around here again…
All of a sudden Mandy became very still and for a while she appeared deep in thought.

After a minute or two, she began to smile.

*****

Darren

“Fuck!” 

Darren Blake wasn’t having a good day. 

“You bastards, I’ll sue you to fucking smithereens, you wait and see!”

He stood on the kerb, shaking his fist at the recovery vehicle as it towed his brand new Porsche away from the restaurant, the bright yellow clamp easily visible against the gleaming black paintwork.

He’d only had a quick working lunch and a couple of drinks, he couldn’t have been more than half an hour over on the parking meter, 45 minutes, tops. And when he came out, those two fucking gorillas in hi-vis jackets were winching his beloved car onto their bloody flatbed truck like it was some piece of scrap to be junked. Well, if they’d as much as scuffed the tyres, he’d have their bollocks for desk ornaments.

Darren smiled grimly, “bollocks for desk ornaments”, that was a good one, he’d have to remember that, for when he was recounting the story of this shitty day to the lads in the office…he looked at his watch;

“Shit.” Darren looked up and down the busy street, “Taxi!”

*****

Geoff had just finished the last of his court reports; a case involving a dispute over the height of a conifer hedge, a story not even the most sensationalist reporter could make interesting, when the sound of a phone ringing made him look up. It wasn’t his phone, he hardly ever got calls from outside lines this late on a Friday afternoon, so he stood up to look over his cubicle and saw a light flashing on Darren’s fancy desk console.

Should he answer it? It could be a huge story, he’d kick himself if he missed his big break through indecisiveness at a time like this. 

He stared at the light, flashing in time with the phone’s insistent ringing, sounding loud in the deserted office.

“Oh, what the hell.”

He walked quickly round the partition, proud of his ability to make snap decisions, and snatched up the receiver in a way that he (wrongly) thought of as being the way a go-getting, thrusting young executive answered the phone. Sadly, the cord was a lot shorter than he’d realised and the receiver sprang out of his hand and clattered against the side of the desk before Geoff got it anywhere near his ear.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake.” 

He was just bending down to retrieve the dangling phone handset, from which he could hear the tinny “Hello…hello?…”  of the caller’s voice, when a voice a lot closer to home made Geoff grit his teeth and groan inwardly.

“Whoa there, Geoff! You taking up phone juggling? Hahaha!” 

He looked up to see Darren, striding in through the double doors of the office, like he was making a grand entrance at a fucking state dinner, shrugging out of his poncey camel hair coat and peeling off those ridiculous fucking driving gloves he insisted on wearing, (he would have been even more furious if he’d known Darren had arrived by cab) then reaching out an imperious hand for the phone as Geoff finally managed to wrestle it into submission.

“Fuck you, Darren, I got to it first. Who the fuck do you think you are anyway? Swanning around like you fucking own the place, you’re not fit to shine my shoes, you piece of shit…” 

…Is what Geoff wanted to say.

But instead, he just meekly handed the phone to his smirking boss and scuttled back to his cubicle, seething with self-hatred and, more importantly, Darren-hatred, as he listened to the one sided conversation.

“Hello, sorry about that, my assistant is rather clumsy today.”….(Geoff could feel a vein in his temple throbbing)…”Yes, yes this is the crime desk, Darren Blake speaking, how may I help you?”…..”Oh, hi Stacey love, I thought I recognised that sexy voice, haha, what have you got for me?”…..”Really? And where was this?”……”You’re a star, Stacey, haven’t I always said so?”……”Hahaha, oooh, you’ll get me into trouble one of these days, you little minx. Let me buy you dinner one night, ok?”…..”Mmm, I’d love to. I’ll speak to you soon, gotta go babe, call me. Ciao Bella, mwah!”

Darren glanced over at Geoff’s cubicle, from where there came a sharp splintering noise and some muffled swearing. He frowned and snapped his fingers loudly a few times, as if summoning a particularly inattentive waiter.

“Geoff?” **snap snap**  “Geoff, I need to borrow your car, mate.” **snap snap**  “Come on, keys, I’m in a hurry.”

Geoff paused in the act of picking splinters of the pencil he’d been holding out of the palm of his hand and slowly rose from his chair, peering suspiciously over the partition at Darren, still holding his hand out impatiently.

“Come on, come on, I haven’t got all day.” **snap snap**  “That was my police contact, with a tip about a robbery over in Thornbury. I’m going over there to interview the alleged victim now and my motor has been fucking clamped, so I need yours.”

“Umm, but I was…”

“Yeah, well you’ll have to get the bus home, won’t you? This is a big story, I’m not losing out to some hack from the nationals, just because you got all precious about your bloody Citroen Picasso.”

Geoff hesitated, maybe he could reach some sort of compromise;

“How about if I drive you?” He fished the keys out of his pocket, but stopped short of handing them over.

“Nah, sorry Geoff, this is strictly need to know, old chap,” Darren took a quick step forward and snatched the keys before he had a chance to react, “confidential informants and all that, you know how it is.”

He turned to go, the camel coat flaring out dramatically from his shoulders as he pocketed Geoff’s keys, then as an afterthought, he looked back with a grin.

“Don’t forget to keep your bus ticket, you can put in a claim for travel expenses, hahaha.”

Then he was gone and Geoff was alone in the office once more.

*****

Stacey grinned to herself as she hung up the phone. She didn’t know what sort of prank her friend Mandy was pulling on that twat, Darren from the Echo, but whatever it was, he deserved it. “Ciao Bella” ? Really? What a prick.

*****

Geoff stepped through the front doors of the Evening Echo building and turned up the collar of his jacket against the drizzle, just in time to see his own car pull away from its parking space and head for the main exit. A taxi pulled up and four girls from the typing pool got out and pushed past him without even glancing in his direction, chattering and laughing together, completely unaware of his existence. He glared bitterly at their retreating figures, despising them for their happiness, turned back to the cab, then looked once more for his car and saw it was just pulling out into traffic.

Then, on the spur of the moment, feeling like a real investigative journalist for a change, he yanked open the taxi’s rear door, jumped in and held a twenty pound note over the seat to the startled driver.

“Follow that car!”

*****

Mandy stood at the window, smoking nervously and watching the gated entrance of her gravel driveway for the arrival of her guest. She was confident the call to her friend at the police station would make her pathetic excuse for an ex-husband come running, hungry for The Big Story that would make his career, and she didn’t want to miss the start of the show.

She didn’t have long to wait. Mandy was stubbing out her cigarette in an overflowing ashtray when she saw a car swing into the drive. The rain, falling more heavily now, was visible in the headlight beams as late afternoon turned to dusk and dusk, in turn, lost its battle with the gathering storm clouds, the resulting gloom filtering everything through a grey murk that reduced visibility to a few yards.

Geoff’s Citroen pulled up by the front door and Mandy frowned in irritation as he parked the wrong way round, brake lights flaring briefly through the rain. The interior light came on, she saw his silhouette lean across the seat to grab something and a few seconds later he climbed out, shrugged into that grotty old raincoat of his and hurried to reach the shelter of the porch.

*****

Darren flipped the wipers on as the drizzle turned to a steady downpour and peered through the windscreen, trying to make out road signs as he passed yet another narrow junction on the unlit country lane.
“Bloody hell, Geoff, haven’t you ever heard of SatNav, for fuck’s sake?”

He glanced down at the open notebook on the seat next to him, checking the address once more and looked up just in time to see he was approaching a crossroads. He slowed Geoff’s car to be sure he didn’t miss anything, scanning the signpost on the corner,

“Barnfield Road, yes! Thank fuck for that.”

Darren turned left and continued for another half a mile before he saw lights ahead of him, which as he got closer he realised were attached to gate posts. This looks like the place, he thought, pulling into the gateway and driving up to the large, ivy-covered house, where he parked and looked up in distaste at the shitty weather outside. Not wanting to get his expensive coat soaking wet, he took one of Geoff’s that he’d found on the back seat, picked up his notebook and stepped out into the rain.

Turning the collar up, he ran to the front door and had his foot on the first of three wide stone steps when he was grabbed violently from behind and a heavy sack was thrown over his head. Darren tried to yell for help, but a punch to the kidneys knocked the wind out of him. While he was gasping for air something was pulled roughly across his mouth, his head was yanked back as the coarse material of the sacking cut into his face and tongue and he gagged.

His attacker was not only unseen, but also silent, emitting only the occasional grunt as he easily held onto the struggling crime reporter, but then he heard another voice, shockingly close to his right ear.

“Hello, Geoff, looks like you’ve been a naughty boy, coming round here where you’re not wanted.”

The owner of the voice tutted, as if this was a personal disappointment to him and that Geoff had badly let him down.

“Except I’m not fucking Geoff!” Darren wanted to scream, but he couldn’t make anything more than choking, wheezing noises, so he just frantically shook his head and prayed this was all some kind of horrible mistake.

Then he heard a door open somewhere in front of him and a woman’s voice spoke to whoever held him.

“Take him into the barn, we don’t want a mess in the house.”

His captor’s grip loosened as he switched hands for a brief second and Darren broke free and made a run for it. He desperately sprinted away from the voices, only half-registering the sound of laughter, thinking he had to be heading away from the house and towards the road.

He thought that for about five seconds, because after that he ran into the side of Geoff’s car.

Hard.

*****

Geoff, meanwhile, was crouched in the shadow of a dripping conifer hedge halfway down the drive, having successfully tailed his own car in a taxi all the way to…Mandy’s house!

He couldn’t fucking believe it, how did Darren not know whose house this was? Her old man was in newspapers, for fuck’s sake, he attended all the press piss-ups and had even visited The Echo once as a guest of their chief executive. Some bloody crime editor he is, Geoff thought bitterly, I could do his job standing on my head.

He watched as Darren climbed out of his car and scurried to the front door.

“That’s my coat, you thieving…”

Then Geoff saw Mandy’s two brothers; a couple of gorillas in jogging suits, jumping out of the flower beds that surrounded the area in front of the house and grabbing Darren as he got to door of the porch. One of them dropped a hood over his head and gagged him, before the door opened and his ex-wife appeared.

After Darren’s abortive escape attempt had left him unconscious on the immaculate gravel, Geoff watched in horror as the gorilla twins dragged his limp body round the side of the house and into the darkened barn. A few minutes later, Mandy came out of the house and followed them inside, closing the door behind her.

*****

Mandy felt a thrill of excitement as she walked quickly through the rain to the barn; she had been waiting for this for too long not make the most of it and now it was actually happening, she wanted to savour every minute.

The door swung closed behind her and she headed to the far end of the darkened building where the small tractor and plough was parked under a circle of yellow light, cast by a single shaded bulb. It also illuminated the sad figure of Geoff, who was tied to a wooden chair, sack over his head and rope gag still in place. Mandy saw with amusement that he hadn’t got rid of that horrible old coat, which must be all of ten years old by now, but then Geoff never had been any good at buying clothes, as she had constantly pointed out to him, to no avail.

Her brothers, Derek and Kevin, were standing either side of the chair, looking very pleased with themselves indeed, so she gave them a nod of gratitude as she approached the strange little tableau; like a gangster, about to exact terrible revenge on a rival, she thought, with two of her top wise guys there to back her up.

“So, Geoff, you seem to have got yourself in a spot of bother. Why on Earth would you come round here on a night like this, when you surely knew the kind of welcome you’d get?”

At this, Geoff began to make some very odd noises and started to thrash about in his chair a fair bit, all of which Del and Kev found highly amusing and let him continue for a moment, before Kev gave him a swift back-hander round the side of the head and he toppled over. 

Right onto the upturned blade of the tractor’s folding plough.

The tip of the sharply pointed blade punched straight through sack, skin and skull as if it were no harder than the clay soil in the fields. The bound figure jerked violently for a couple of seconds, then slumped and hung, shifting with an unpleasant cracking noise as the weight of the body in the chair was preventing from reaching the ground by the steel blade buried in its head. 

Mandy stared in horror at the rapidly spreading pool of blood, more pouring from the stained sacking by the second and she tried to scream. Nothing came out except a strangled squeak and her legs buckled under her; she collapsed to her knees on the hard bricks and the last thing she saw before she was swallowed by the black pit of unconsciousness were her two brothers, being noisily sick on each other’s feet.

*****

Darren

Eeerrghh, Ow, what the fuck?  What the FUCK!?  Who was that crazy bitch?  And why did she think I was that twat, Geoff, for fuck’s sake?  I can’t fucking move…Wait, I’m fucking tied up!

“Mmmffghff drrg ghrrffff mmnggff!!”

This fucking gag, I’m going to choke, you bastards. What the fuck do they want? Wait, what’s that…footsteps?  The bitch is back, shit. 

“So, Geoff, you seem to have got yourself in a spot of bother…”

I’m not Geoff, you fucking stupid cow! Why don’t you understand, whatever you think I’ve done, I’m not him!  Look, just take off this fucking hood and you’ll…

Owww, you cu…

Oh shit, I’m falling over, catch me you bastards…

Whooaaaaa…

Crunch.

*****

Geoff ran to the door of the barn as soon as it closed behind Mandy and peered in through a knot hole. He watched events unfold, clapping a hand over his mouth to stop his cry of horror giving him away as Darren met his sudden demise, then turned and half ran, half stumbled to his car. With a sigh of relief he saw Darren had left the keys in the ignition and he simply got in and drove away.

When he was a safe distance from the house, Geoff pulled over and rested his head on the steering wheel for a moment, until he got the shaking under control. Then he made two phone calls; an anonymous one to the police and another, slightly more satisfying one to his editor, who he interrupted while he was at a press association dinner.

“This had better be bloody good, Standish, they’re just bringing out the brandy. Have you finally found your Big Story, you bloody well better have?”

“Yes sir,” said Geoff, staring out into the rainy night, “I think you could say that, yes.”

 

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Reblog: George Michael was killed in US airstrike claims Russia Today

Some satire, to lighten the sad news of another talented performer’s passing. Goodbye, George, we’ll miss your honesty and integrity…

SOZ SATIRE

George Michael Last Christmas? Yep, pretty much, and it’s all thanks to the Yanks says Russia Today

Following the death of pop superstar, George Michael last night, Russian media outlet, Russia Today, have sensationally claimed that Michael was killed by a guided missile fired from an American F16 fighter jet whose pilot was under direct orders from President Barack Obama to neutralise the Last Christmas star.

In a bulletin hours after the star’s death had been announced by his publicist, a Russia Today newsreader made the astonishing claim: “George Michael was targeted by the United States Airforce, no question. He was killed by a heat-seeking missile, specially programmed to target his oven when he opened the door to get the turkey out.

“Our heroic President, Vladimir Putin, tried to intervene when he learned of the plan, but Obama wouldn’t listen, just as he won’t listen when Mr Putin begs him to stop…

View original post 174 more words

 
3 Comments

Posted by on December 26, 2016 in aardvark, Blogging, Humour, Music

 

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New collaboration…

New collaboration…

I’ve always been sucker for getting involved in new projects, ever since I started blogging. 
Whether it’s taking part in Stream of consciousness Saturday Sunday, making up groan-inducing puns for One liner Wednesday, co-writing an ongoing space opera, or helping to curate a weekly interactive photography challenge, it has never taken much persuading to get me fired up about new ideas.

So the idea of working with a team of fellow writers on a completely new platform, on a blog dedicated to short fiction, well, it was an opportunity to good to pass up.

Just over a year ago, whilst idly scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, I spotted a post from a site called FoulEnt, with a somewhat inflammatory but amusing headline, (I forget exactly which one it was, but as I have since discovered, that description could be applied to most of their output) so I clicked the bait and read the post. It was hilarious, I do remember that, so I liked their page and have followed the anarchic, sweary, laddish, occasionally near the knuckle but always entertaining posts ever since.

Soon after I read that first post, I sent a friend request to Frank King, (also known by his considerably more offensive, four letter pseudonym) one of FoulEnt’s small team of writers, and we immediately hit it off, sharing a similar sense of humour, a love of words and writing and a talent for talking bollocks.

It wasn’t long before I discovered that “Frank King” is in fact a sort of gestalt entity, made up of at least two different people (who, rather confusingly for me at first, all use the same messenger account) and that “he” was interested in opening a profile on the relatively new blogging platform, Niume.

The site gives writers, photographers and creatives in many other spheres of interest access to a ready made community of fellow users, with whom to share your work (the categories or interests on Niume are split up into a number of these Spheres, to enable you to target the right audience for your content, then you can follow whatever combination of spheres you choose, which then appear in your home feed, much like the WordPress reader) with the added bonus that the pages are pre-loaded with unobtrusive advertising, meaning you can make money simply from generating page views.
Each post must have a picture included, for use as a thumbnail, making the site very eye-catching and all you need to set up a profile is an e-mail address, which we have now done, the blog going live a couple of weeks ago.

I should warn you, (unnecessarily and rather belatedly, if you have already checked the FoulEnt link above) that there is adult humour and strong language in a lot of the posts, but they are also very well written and great fun to read. So far I have only contributed stories that were already written and published on this blog, as I’ve been too busy with promoting The Wrong Stuff recently to do anything else, but the Franks and co from FoulEnt have been coming up with some real gems and I really do recommend you go over and check out their work; it’s a totally different kettle of fish to their usual LadMag style and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised, not to mention impressed with the quality of their storytelling abilities.

Oh, and what was the name that was chosen for this new venture? Well, you know the sort of books you find in the smallest room in the house, the ones a considerate host will, if you’re lucky, provide for a comfortable read as you unburden yourself? What would you call that type of easily digestible, fun-size literary chunks?

How about Toileterature?

Yep, that’s us, so click the link or the logo above and come over to visit our lovely new Niume page and let Toileterature entertain you.

 

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Damien, Jaack and Verity…

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It’s always nice when someone leaves a comment about the blog, nicer still when I get feedback from artists and performers that I’ve featured on it and nicest of all when I get to interact in some small way with those writers and creative types more successful than myself.
That vicarious thrill of knowing that, no matter how minor, my little corner of the internet has had an impact on the work of somebody whose work I admire, whether it’s plugging a local band I’ve seen or helping promote a world famous artist.

Ok, that second example might not be the sort of thing I get to do very often, (oh alright, “never” would be more accurate, if you want to be picky) until today, that is.

A couple of years ago I wrote this post on outdoor sculpture, which featured the spectacular Verity statue on Ilfracombe harbour, a commission by the original enfant terrible of the British modern art world, Damien Hirst.

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Verity looks out to sea in North Devon.

Up close, Verity is incredibly imposing, towering over the small harbour like a watchful colossus protecting her homeland from invaders and, despite her half-flayed naked figure, she has a savage beauty that takes your breath away.

Well imagine my delight last week, when I received an e-mail from a very polite gentleman called Theo who works for a company called Artsy, (they showcase and promote the work of various artists on their very slick website) saying that he’d seen my sculpture post and asking if I would be prepared to provide a link to their Damien Hirst page.

Obviously I was very flattered that he would consider Diary of an Internet Nobody worthy of such a request and told him that I would be glad to be involved in whatever way I could.
After all many of you, my lovely readers, are from far flung parts of the globe and you may not have yet been exposed to Hirst’s often beautiful, sometimes controversial, but always intriguing catalogue of art works.

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So please take the time to check out THIS LINK and discover for yourself what makes Damien Hirst one of the most talked about artists of recent years.

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Which brings me to the second person that I’d like to draw your attention to today, someone who, if there’s any justice in the world of comedy, will soon be a big name, not just on YouTube, where his channel has over 150,000 subscribers, but on TV and the live comedy circuit.

Jack Dean is a self-styled “YouTube personality with little personality” whose channel is called JaackMaate and who tackles everything from the curse of terrible, formulaic pop music and teen magazines to racism and celebrity interviews.

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Now, I’ve never really been a fan of what I suppose you could loosely describe as “lad humour”, although the way Jack does it, with his immensely likeable personality, (he’s too modest, he has charisma by the bucketload) snappy editing and liberal worldview, it makes even the most ranty of his posts very funny indeed.
Admittedly, you may need to brace yourselves for a fair bit of colourful language and adult humour, but even so, JaackMaate comes across as one of those rare people; somebody who everyone wants to be friends with (unless of course, you are one of the unfortunates who have incurred his comedy wrath) and I’d like to share with you one of my favourites of his recent YouTube videos.

This is “Dirty Questions With My Girlfriend”:

If you liked that and want to see more of Jack’s material, GO HERE TO CHECK OUT HIS YOUTUBE CHANNEL.

And that’s about it for this post.

Coming up: I’m lucky enough to have been nominated for another award, this time by the lovely Linda G Hill, so next time I shall be going back to (very nearly) the beginning of my blogging adventure.

Stay tuned…

 

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Dying for a good tune…

My mind works in an odd way sometimes.
Well ok, most of the time, but sometimes I notice it.

The one downside to the nostalgia I’ve been wallowing in for the last few weeks, thanks to the Facebook page largely populated by those of us who went to the same school, is discovering the number of people who are no longer with us.
I mentioned in a previous post how shocked I was that so many people I knew as a teenager have passed away in the intervening years since school, and the roll call of deceased classmates continues to grow.

Now, this got me thinking about funerals.
Not a very cheery subject for a blog post, I’ll give you that, but bear with me.
Funerals are obviously not occasions to enjoy exactly, but a good percentage of the ones I’ve been to are designed as a celebration of the life of whoever is lying quietly at the front, the absolute centre of attention for the very last time.

And with that focus of attention comes some measure of responsibility.
This is your final big moment, you want to give all those folks that have travelled from far and wide something to remember you by.

Fanatical as I am about it, I think music should play a big part in proceedings and it’s up to you to make sure you pick the right soundtrack.

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But by what criteria should a decent funeral song be judged?
Do you pick a syrupy ballad that’s guaranteed to drag wracking sobs from the assembled mourners, go for something a bit more uplifting, a jolly sing-along to cheer people up, or just stick to a sombre drone and let them sort their emotions out for themselves?

I know Robbie Williams has untold millions of fans, but the apparently endless final curtain calls that have been enhanced by him crooning Angels over the end credits suggests a certain lack of imagination on the behalf of whoever assembled the playlist for the big day. (See also: My Way, We’ll Meet Again, My Heart Will Go On, Wind Beneath My Wings, You’ll Never Walk Alone)
The music for your last exit should be chosen by you, for your audience.

At the funeral of a close friend a few years ago, we entered the crematorium to the dirty riffing intro of Welcome to the Jungle by Guns ‘N’ Roses and left, as her magnificent wicker coffin disappeared, to the stomping pomp rock of We Will Rock You by Queen.
Lots of smiles at that funeral, setting the mood for a somewhat rowdy wake, a gloriously nostalgic celebration of Lori, someone whose character was as huge and outrageous as the music she picked for her swan song.

So, what would you pick as the tune that brought the curtain down on your final performance?
Would it be a song whose lyrics were applicable in some way to how you lived your life, or one which had some resonance with you personally?
Or maybe you’d choose something purely on the strength of its entertainment value to the ones who’d come to see you off?
I can’t see there’d be too many sad faces at a memorial service with the Muppet Show theme as the closing number, can you?

Better still, you could always pick something which only you found funny. After all, there’s no rule saying you have to have a musical track. Imagine the satisfaction of breathing your last, secretly knowing that as your coffin vanished behind the curtain, the carefully unlabeled CD, supplied by you for the solemn moment, would be played and Derek and Clive* would be unleashed on the congregation.

I’d like to think that my current favourite choice for my own retirement from humanity is sufficiently odd to be unpredictable for those who might try and guess it (assuming they’re not reading this and have long memories, that is) and yet recognisable enough to some that it will provide that all-important nostalgia kick.
And it will be timed so the assembled throng have to listen to the whole song too, otherwise what’s the point?

There are any number of songs I could have picked, but I have no special wish to pick an arbitrary Favourite Track Of All Time, like some sort of blockbuster’s closing theme tune.
I’m not even that interested in picking one that most symbolises me as a person, whatever that strange cacophony may sound like.

The song I did pick (see link below) is one that will divide the audience, I suspect.
It’s pretty much a love-it-or-hate-it type of record, and for all I know it’s used at many funerals a week, all around the country, but I doubt it.
Although it’s not a vintage classic, or even by a famous band, and it’s far from my favourite ever song, I’ve always thought it has a rather nice pathos to it that would particularly suit the emotionally charged atmosphere of a funeral. (The date referred to at the start has no special significance, before you ask)
Plus, I’ve never been shy of doling out the occasional spot of advice myself…

So picture the scene; as you raise your eyes to the non-denominational stained glass window of the crematorium and then back to the slowly retreating, budget price casket, the speakers crackle and:

                                 Ladies and Gentlemen…

Aaaaaannnd…..Cut.

(* – contains very strong language. But you know that, because you didn’t read this bit in time.)

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2014 in aardvark, Humour, Music, Personal anecdote

 

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