I was out with 106.9 SFM in the streets of Sittingbourne on Saturday. We were broadcasting live from the town centre as part of the fantastic sci-fi weekend that they were having. Whilst filming on periscope a little man honed into view and started dancing along to Ray Parker Jr.’s Ghostbusters song that was playing out.
2016 seems to be a rotten year for anyone who grew up loving the 80s. It all kicked off with the shock news that David Bowie had died. I have to say that I had a Princess Diana moment when I heard the news, in that….I thought they’d got it wrong. His album had literally just been released and so I thought it might be some kind of weird stunt. Plus, I remember the outpouring of grief when people thought Cher was dead #now that cher is dead- which was actually about the death of Margret Thatcher, tragic or not depending upon your location.
But no, it was true David had indeed died. I remember musing at the time to an overly shocked friend how he’d had a great life and rather than mourn the loss we should celebrate the fact he’d had a stonking life and left us with some stonking songs. Then Alan Rickman died. I always remember that scene in the film Leon where Alan plays a bent cop who pops pills and then cranks his neck – the sound still makes me wince – until I remembered that this was actually Gary Oldman. Rickman was in Die Hard…stupid!!!!
Then a stream of celebrities seemed to die off – first came Sir Terry Wogan – now, that was a real shock. I like so many others, felt compelled to watch his last BBC Radio 2 show and then spent the next 10 or so hours Youtubing loads of Wogan stuff. He was dead. All of which seemed so sad as we’d only got over Cilla Black dying and the Oxo lady. It was a shame, especially as the bad celeb’s (apart from hell fire eating Jimmy Saville) were still alive in kicking – admitted from behind the bars of their cell or living in some dodgy halfway house after being kicked out by their wives – now wishing they were dead. But they weren’t. They were still alive. The ones we liked…were dying.
And then like a game of celebrity squares which had just fallen over – the rest tumbled too – we had the guy who played father Jack in Father Ted; the guy who wrote Coronation Street – who I learned was gay (probably doesn’t mean much if you straight – but when you’re gay, these little footnotes are handy for Christmas time conversations when you can drop it in when stuck with your family for 48 hours and want to rough things up a bit), then Paul Daniels and then wee Ronnie Corbett and then my agony aunt Denise Robertson (she’d never met or communicated with me in anyway – but that doesn’t matter – she was mine and it’s how I feel about her that counts); David Guest (didn’t surprise me all that much), Victoria Wood (a real shock) – I loved Vic – she was a great British comedian – a bit like Rick Mayall, who I also thought died last year – but upon having a quick look actually died in June 2014!!! Where the hell is time going???
So, anyway, Victoria Wood was someone a really thought was special a) because she proved that given half the chance women can be as funny as men and d) I loved her dyslexic man joke “My boyfriend had a sex manual but he was dyslexic. I was lying there and he was looking for my vinegar”!!
Victoria now joins a very small queue of woman that I currently have which is ‘women who I think are really funny and died way too soon’. The only other woman on the list so far is Linda Smith. I’m sure there are more…I just can’t think.
And then came the news that Prince had died. I’m not sure if I’m starting to become immune to celebrity deaths or what – I was sad, but coming the day after Victoria Wood – I couldn’t quite splice away enough from my sadness blob for him – to adequately represent the fact that I was sad about his passing and also how impressive his career was. But, had he died in a couple of months – assuming another celeb didn’t get in there first – I’d of been really mournful.
As it is, today I have watched loads of Victoria Wood stuff – just because, well, I’m sad. There was a big outpouring of sadness on the news about her – a lot of people saying how wonderful they were…if she did manage to get back here some how, i think she’d be within her rights to say…”so where were all you lot when i was trying to flog bloody tickets to my theatre production??? Weren’t so keen then”. And, I would have to bow my head because I was one of those who wanted to go and see it…but never did. Shame on me.