Sign o’ the Times

Sutekh the Destroyer‘s been at it again this week. Victoria Wood died on April 20. And then of course, Prince died on April 21.

Dude. You’ve got your dates waaaay off.

If you want to skip straight to the peaches and cream,
there’s a cover of Prince’s
When Doves Cry
by early-nineties indie stumblebums Bird’s Fate
at the bottom of the page….

If you think there have been a lot of celebrity deaths this year, then you’d be right. As befits the interests of, the passing of David Bowie was marked in the apoplexy newsletter. But as well as Prince, Bowie, and Wood, we’ve lost George Martin, Terry Wogan, and Alan Rickman. The Philadelphia sound’s Billy Paul, singer of Me and Mrs Jones, died today. There have been a bunch of others too, of course.

“It’s much too strong to let it cool down now”

Blog favourite, Radio 4’s More or Less, has been asked by many of its listeners

Have more celebrities been dying this year than usual?

The team checked the number of obituaries prepared by the BBC during the first quarter of each year from 2012-2016. By this crude form of analysis, the number of famous deaths has increased from 6 to 8 to 11 to 12 to this year’s 24. And although More or Less isn’t willing to call it a trend yet, they will say that the number of celebrity deaths this year is unusual, compared to the, er, usual.

“Uh-oh.” *Stroke Bloke checks pulse*

Of course, we’ll all be affected by these different celebrity deaths in different ways, and to different extents. You may even feel that there’s something undemocratic about the whole idea of celebrity deaths. But having taken a wee wander through the valley of the shadow of death in my capacity as a stroke survivor, I’m interested in how people react to these events.

Sure, Stroke Bloke. Let’s go with that reason.

<Crunches gears> At the reception last Friday after I became Mr Mrs Stroke Bloke to the brave and wonderful women who has saved my life more times than I can list, I reflected on the nature of a wedding ceremony and how we had once thought that such an event wasn’t in our futures, or that important to us.

But if there is truth in the not terribly new or original reflection that we exist most fully in our relationship to others, then it was nice to be able to mark a moment in Our Thing and cement its reality with a small group of local friends.

I see alive people!

The way that people have reacted to the deaths of – in my case, say, Bowie and Prince – speaks of lives that touched other people, and existed fully. And of course, we don’t have to be famous to touch the lives of others and be in that way. I like to think that when I went to see Prince at the old Parkhead in 1992, Ronnie Babbs of Bird’s Fate might have been lying outside the old concrete bowl in a pool of sick – probably his own – experiencing a brief moment of beauty because he had been touched by Prince.

And then he and his bandmates did this to When Doves Cry. But Prof Paul has more to say about that, and our band’s little archival project, over here. But for now, it’s Cheerie-bye from me….

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