I had no idea what to write about today – it’s been one of those weeks where inspiration has failed to materialise, and that combined with a lack of oomph, tiredness and a real world crisis to deal with, had contrived to leave me bereft of anything to post. I was resigned to giving up, when something in my daily traffic stats caught my eye – a post, written way back in 2011, that for some reason someone had decided to rescue from the dusty vaults to read. Oddly enough, April 2011 must also have been something of a dry period for me, because it was a time that I’d done something I rarely do – I’d taken up one of those 30-day blogging challenges, in this case selecting a song to write about to fit set criteria. This particular day’s challenge was ‘A song that you want to play at your funeral’.
I’d forgotten all about it, and reading back through what I’d written, I had one of those strange moments when I realised that I was actually thoroughly enjoying something that I’d penned myself! I’m not saying you’ll enjoy it too, but if you fancy giving it a read through, you’ll find it here.
Death, for many obvious reasons, is a bit of a taboo subject – which means it fits into that strange realm of discussion best avoided unless you hold a professional interest in it – bowel movements, kinky sex, cancer and masturbation are the uneasy bedfellows of this domain, and discussion of such things in polite circles usually results in an embarrassed silence, much shuffling of feet and the odd evil stare. It is, however something that is difficult to ignore and which we all have to deal with in some capacity, at some stage of our lives, no matter how distasteful we might find the experience.
The past year, in particular in terms of famous passings, seems to have been a veritable death-fest right from the start, and by the time this post is published, it’s quite likely that the bell will have tolled its death knell once more for someone of note… Ian McCaskill, Greg Lake, Peter Vaughan, Andrew Sachs, Leonard Cohen, Pete Burns, Jean Alexander, Gene Wilder, Kenny Baker, Caroline Aherne, Anton Yelchin, Muhammad Ali, Prince, Victoria Wood, Ronnie Corbett, Paul Daniels, Terry Wogan, Alan Rickman, David Bowie, and slipping in right at the fag end of last year – so worthy of an honorary mention, Lemmy – to name but a few. One thing is for sure, the afterlife has become a whole lot more entertaining in the past 12 months!
I’ve always believed in laughing in the face of death – like so many things that are inevitable: Income tax, growing older, missing the last train home… The only way to gain a true sense of perspective on such things is to find the humour in them, yet for some reason, we seem to think this is a macabre thing to do. But why should death be any different from all those other things we poke fun at, and why should it be exempt from ridicule? Even so, we really don’t like to talk about such things, except in the most reverent and serious tones.
Except in SL.
We’re actually rather good at opening up inworld, and often in the most jovial manner, in regard to those things about which we dare not speak in RL. Amongst my virtual circle of friends is a chap who we are convinced is the Angel of Death in pixel form – with uncanny regularity it seems that he only has to mention the name of a celebrity for them to pop their clogs within hours of being mentioned. He’s started to become quite paranoid about it, and it’s not helped by the fact that everyone around him has started poking fun at him regarding his ‘gift’, and goading him into mentioning those particular celebs that we really wouldn’t mind seeing the back of. If you’ll excuse the pun, it’s dead funny!
And it’s not just death that we’ll laugh and joke about inworld – all of those taboo subjects I’ve mentioned, along with a good many others, are also fair game when it comes to a spot of irreverent ribbing – it doesn’t matter how serious, unfortunate, or downright nasty the subject, we’re more than happy to expose the ridiculous, humorous and amusing facets of life’s little curve balls. Perhaps it’s because SL insulates us from reality to a certain extent, or perhaps it’s because we lack some of the inhibitions and constraints that we’re subject to in RL. Whatever the reason, I happen to think that there’s something inherently healthy about being able to escape inworld to a place where nothing is sacrosanct and nobody feels compelled to speak in hushed tones about the more dreadful aspects of living the fleshly existence.
Personally, I wish we could speak as freely and irreverently in the real world about such things – but it’s a rare occasion that we get the chance, and I think we may be missing a trick in the process.
Pushing up the ante, I know you want to see me,
Read ’em and weep, the dead man’s hand again,
I see it in your eyes, take one look and die
Motörhead – Ace Of Spades