Some rather startling photos from the funeral of Malcolm McLaren in London yesterday. The Sex Pistols’ manager was laid to rest in a coffin emblazoned TOO FAST TO LIVE TOO YOUNG TO DIE. I suppose we’ll be seeing a lot more of this sort of thing — the “fun” funeral, that is — as the generation-that-younger-people-wish-would-not-be-named starts heads down the Ghost Road in greater numbers.
I feel the same way about this that I do about all the other rituals my contemporaries found wanting, when it came to be their turn: [Shrug.] Every so often I meet a hand-wringer who frets that, by throwing out (insert number of years) of tradition, we have somehow ruined the wedding/funeral/christening/whatever. I reply that when a person has lived a full life and — in McLaren’s case, anyway — had at least a reasonable allotment of years, what’s the problem with turning their funeral into something other than damp hankies and hushed conversations? And if the old model was so satisfying, why did it suck so bad? It’s one thing to be laid to rest by a clergyman who knew you all your life. But I’ve been to many, many funerals where the officiant needed crib notes and all but mispronounced the decedent’s name. Bah. Throw it out.
When things started to turn bad in the newspaper business, I had a fantasy: I would take my buyout money (ha!) and start a small business out of my bedroom, providing digital slideshows with musical accompaniment for funerals. These would play during visiting hours, and anyone who wanted one could buy the DVD. I even had a name: Kinflicks. I still think it was a good idea, although it would have made a lousy business, because it’s so easy to do now that most funeral homes prepare them in-house, or else it’s punted to a nerd cousin who knows how to drag and drop. (My slideshows would have been distinguished by the quality of music, I decided; none of that “My Way” stuff. Instead, maybe “Anarchy in the U.K.”) At the time, the idea of having a slideshow play at a funeral, even at a visitation, was sort of edgy. Now every Slumber Room has a flatscreen.
I don’t know what McLaren’s funeral was like, aside from the casket, but if you haven’t seen it, Roger Ebert has a fabulous remembrance of his intersection with the Sex Pistols, which includes a few scenes from a planned Sex Pistols film, to be directed by Russ Meyer. As always with Roger, it’s the details that sell it:
I’ve mentioned before that, for Russ, typing was synonymous with writing. If he didn’t hear the typewriter, no writing was being done. When I was writing “Beneath the Valley of the Ultra Vixens” for him, he located me in his living room (all office furniture) and listened from his upstairs office. When my typewriter fell silent, he’d call down, “What’s the matter?”
Which is as good a way as any to kick off the bloggage:
While Rome burned, the SEC…watched porn?
Look out, world, Monica Conyers is already planning her next chapter. I’m sure MMJeff will be pleased to hear what it is: Divinity school.
I haven’t had anything to say about “Treme” yet, I know. I’d like to watch a couple more episodes and let the vibe set in. But in the meantime, a story that gives background on one of the subplots — the disappearance of LaDonna’s brother in the Orleans Parish Prison meltdown/flooding. What does one do with a prison full of inmates in rising waters? Good question.
Can you give a dime, a dollar, or a pair of socks? Restore Stephen Baldwin!
So, what’s the tackiest funeral you’ve ever attended?