Death, taboo subject in real life, but not so much in the movies… the one thing that really cheeses me off, is how most mainstream films that have a gay couple in it, ended up killing one of them off before the final reel. (Think, Brokeback Mountain, Four Weddings and a Funeral). When speak to a friend about this, her reply was to point out that Four Weddings brought a whole new audience to the W. H. Auden’s Poem, Stop all the Clocks. To be honest, I would have preferred to have seen Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell peg it, while the lovely John Hannah could then be left to take Simon Callow up the aisle.
Later that day I searched the W.W.W for ‘Funeral poems’; there’s quite a lot out there. One web page even had ‘funeral poem of the month!’ Okay, so a lot of my dislike for them has to do with the fact that I’m not a big poetry fan, although I can recite Pam Ayres’, “I am the Dolly on the Dustcart” if the mood takes me.
Their popularity (funeral poems not Pam) tells me that they obviously bring great comfort to people at a time of mourning. However, I put my real aversion to them down to the fact that during the 1980’s, my friends and I were attending so many funerals of people we loved, who had been struck down with AIDS, that we didn’t want to hear how bleak their death was, we knew that. For me, it was much more important to remember them, to celebrate what was so fantastic about them. One friend had “The Sun Has Got His Hat On,” playing as his coffin disappeared behind the curtain. Then there was another chum who’d booked a Victorian glass hurst, complete two horses with black feather plumes coming out of their heads. The funny thing was he was never that camp in life, but it got us all smiling.
The most memorable funeral had to be my ‘sister‘, Ruby Two-Shoes’. Now she was camp. All was going well at her farewell, up until his mother saw the spiked red stilettos placed on his coffin. (You have to love a drag queen for taking camp to the next level). After persuading his mum that it was really his wish to have the stillies, his coffin was brought out to the rousing rendition of ‘Tomorrow Belongs to Me’. Some poor love and rewound the soundtrack tape too far. The song should have been Liza Minnelli singing the title track ‘Cabaret’.
Of course, funerals can be the place to have the last word. I’d heard of two grandchildren who bought flower tributes for their grandmother. The one who was favoured in the will had the word NANA, while the one who was left out, opted to use her grandmother’s Initials B.A. and stuck them at the front. How Fab!
All comments welcome.