DEAR HUGH 17
Tuesday July 26th 2005
Yesterday I thought that I might kill myself. For a number of reasons, really.
1. I am fed up with doctors ordering me not to drink alcohol nor eat anything that is much more interesting than old dog biscuits.
2. Because the proscribed prescriptions of 1. above do not appear to be having any material effect upon my weight.
3. The moto-x bike that I bought for my son three months ago has still not arrived, despite the promise on the website of the LYING BASTARDS who sell these “Diddy Bikes” of “next day delivery”.
4. World War III is coming (and it is, check out the small print in what the powers are now muttering about Iran).
5. Safeway has stopped selling vegetarian bacon.
6. I appear to have broken my left foot, or else gout is making its debut.
7. The CD that I bought solely because it features Burlesque among 18 otherwise-uninspiring songs, jumps on the Family track.
8. The substantial quantity of marijuana that I bought for research purposes is a bit weak; or at least I haven’t fallen over yet.
9. The Prozac which I have now spent six weeks kicking is at last wearing off and I’m finally getting delayed reaction to those events of a year ago which the pills had previously subdued and am consequently thinking “Sorry, sacked for WHAT, exactly?”
10. I need a new suit but do not have the body on which to wear it.
11. My brother just told me that taking cocaine in the past hardens your arteries and ups your cholesterol. Which means that I have to have a word with Mum about her claim that high cholesterol “runs in the family”. What else runs in our family, noses?
12. The existence of newspapers.
13. A general acceptance of the belief that we were born to be mild.
14. Because I made a list of Reasons to Love America but have now lost it. Although I recall that the list included Marlboro, Rebel Yell (the drink, not the silly song), Hunter Thompson, a national enthusiasm for fellatio and the songs of Steve Earle, particularly Here I Am.
14. Because I bought a bottle of vintage Amarone in Florence some weeks back but cannot drink on the orders of Dr. No-No.
15. Because the spell check on this machine indicates that Amarone has been spelt incorrectly (when it hasn’t) and I am not sure that I want to make a living utilising a machine programmed by somebody at Microsoft who does not know what Amarone is. Mind you, one look at Bill Gates should have told me that.
16. Because the Wiltshire Constabulary has sent me a summons informing that they are to prosecute me for the peace-threatening act of driving at 57 mph in a 50 mph limit. I’m actually going to court on this one; to make a stand from the box about how come it is that Wilts Cops can nick me for all of 7 mph but fail to do much more than fuck-all when they drove past my daughter in Devizes at the time when she was been punched in the face by one of the local yobbos whose residency around here is permitted by the county council’s rejection of my Compulsory Death For Thick People proposal.
17. Because a nationwide drought is apparently forecast for Britain in the next fortnight, thus adding water to the list of things I’m now not allowed. I expect air will be next.
18. Because none of the farmers I know are interested in utilising the Drive-By Ratting service that the son and I have instituted (we just park the Saab outside grain sheds and zap away from the comfort of our air-con Swedish suite).
19. Because I am fed up with hearing people talk about “Ee-rack” when the word is quite obviously pronounced nothing of the sort.
20. Because the wind blew over my potted fig tree, startling the dog and more importantly crushing the cucumber plant which until then had been promising to bear fruit that would have been a relative banquet to a nomnivore like me.
21. This one really gets me – flies that zip into my office and then whine buzzingly at the windows that they are too stupid to have noticed. Thus obligating you to incinerate them with a Zippo (oh, Zippos should have been on the list of 14. above).
But what a difference a day makes. All is now sweetness and lite ™ because when I was buying the dodgy Family CD, I also put my clutch upon a CD that features Eddie & The Hot Rods.
Hands up who remembers Eddie & The Hot Rods. Oi, Alex, get your hand up; I bloody know you do.
Anyway, on re-hearing the pertinent sense of “no-one tells you nothing, even when you know they know; but they tell you what you should do, they don’t like to see you grow” I cast myself back to when I first heard it.
Which was 1977, when I was 21 and full of hope and pep and, having just discovered Born To Run in a big way, I was out-thinking Jon Landau by concluding not that “I have seen the future of rock & roll” but that God had gone and sat on my face.
I now have Do Anything You Wanna Do on the boom-box beside the phone, so that when those fuckers from Indian call centres call up and say “Am I speaking to Mrs. GB?”, inferring from my tenor tone that Mrs. B is some sort of East European shot-putt champion, I can turn the music up loud. So that when they say “I can’t hear you” I can reply “Not my fault, luv; I didn’t ask you to ring”.
Anyway, playing Do Anything You Wanna Do now, but thinking of then (my youth) I compared my minds and wondered whether the GB of 1977 would be disappointed with the GB of 2005.
And so all thoughts of suicide went out the window. And then, naturally, that got me thinking on what I should have played at my funeral. I think the Rods is a bit much and I’m thinking now that my previous choice, Steve Earle’s Jerusalem, is a bit worthy.
I certainly don’t want anything by My Ex – just in case the weirdo who owns the Northern Songs copyright turns up to try get his royalties by nicking the collection plate and then starts interfering with the choir boys.
I’ll admit that I’ll Be Seeing You has a nice lilt for the occasion and Keef’s Before They Make Me Run is neatly biographical, as is Paul Jones’s I’ve Been A Bad Bad Boy. Do you think the vicar at Lyme (I have to be buried by the sea) will object if I request The Drifters singing There Goes My Baby? Actually, scrub that; I’ve just played it and it’s atrocious. Truly bloody awful.
Found it, found it. Steely Dan’s (I’m Never Going Back To) My Old School. A bit obvious given the circumstances but I think the brass solo outweighs that and the “I was smoking with the boys upstairs” has a funereal resonance. Actually, no - let’s go for Gram Parsons leading The Flying Burrito Brothers doing Merle Haggard’s Sing Me Back Home.
As ever, I would appreciate the benefit of your sagacity on this if you can suggest better. You may think that I am being premature but 50 is approaching and as I appear to have cornered the market in coronary disease, you can never be too careful.
This brings me to the point of this missive; food for funerals.
I have noticed a gasping hole in the market with this. I was at a funeral the other day (my Gran) and it was quite obvious to me that the caterers did not have a clue. As well they would not because, let’s be honest, few of us have much experience in this department and subsequently we cave in and make do with sandwiches and sausage rolls.
Call me arrogant, but I do not want to be remembered with sausage rolls. I want the mourner (and his cat) to be given a feast; trebles of Scotch upon entering the church and afterwards Amarone served with good honest chaps’ food something like the delights that the chef Michael Stone will suggest below.
Anyway, that’s the easy bit – wait until they read the codicil in my will demanding that I have the inscription “sadly pissed” on my headstone.