I was 28 years old when I decided upon my funeral song. This wasn’t a decision motivated by depression, or by some strange fascination with death, or indeed anything other than hearing this song and realising that it was absolutely perfect, a song which says exactly how I want people to react after I am gone. Which, I hope, will not be for a good many years yet (if I achieve one lifetime ambition, I want it to be the one where I go out, mid-orgasm, in my late 80s).
At this point you are probably thinking “Great, 89 words in and he’s finished. I can go and make some coffee and start getting my life back”. Sadly, you are wrong, because there is another part to this tale.
In the early 2000s I became heavily involved with the television show Robot Wars. The program, which involved people building robots strong enough to destroy other people’s robots, had become something of a minor sensation once the charismatic former Red Dwarf actor Craig Charles became its presenter. The show’s producers then sought to capitalise upon this popularity by exploiting the combatant robots for marketing purposes, something which they were not allowed to do under the terms of their agreement with the contestants.
I became involved in the dispute first as a fan and then to provide my professional advice to the contestants involved. As a result I got to know some of them, if not always in person then via email.
That October, tragedy struck. David Gribble, the 17 year old driver of the Pussycat robot, was killed in an unexplained incident when his motorcycle went off the road. He and his father Alan, who built Pussycat, were hugely popular among both fans and contestants and there was a lot of distress surrounding his death. I found myself somewhat lost for words when it came to completing the online ‘book of condolence’ that had been attached to the official internet discussion site, and I ended up simply entering the first verse of this song instead.
It must have hit the right note, because those same words were read out during Dave’s funeral. Which I can understand, because I have always thought that the sentiments expressed in this song were beautiful. It is always nice to think that others do so, too.