The Ghost Of My Own Funeral
I bumped into a friend heading out to a funeral this morning.
"Gotta dig the out suit, huh?"
"No, I’m going like this…"
And he opened his jacket to show me he was wearing a t-shirt with the cover of Friday I’m In Love by The Cure splashed across it.
"He wanted everybody at the funeral to be wearing a band t-shirt..."
I’ve never thought about my own funeral before now. I’m hoping it’s at least fifty years away and/or I get to see the end of Game of Thrones, but this struck me as being the finest idea I’ve ever heard.
I would stand there, a majestic, towering spirit dressed in black, behind my cardboard box of a coffin looking out at you all - or those of you who weren't busy washing what hair you have left anyway. I always liked the idea of a beautiful mahogany coffin but cardboard is good. I would rather my kids went on holiday for a few grand than set fire to it behind a curtain. There will be black Sharpie pens on a table just to the right. If you wish, you can write me a message on the box like we all did on our shirts when we left school.
Inside the box with me are some things I might need. Hector's lead and harness. That pair of broken binoculars from an earlier story because they'll only get thrown away if I leave them behind. Yeah. That's probably all. I ain't no Tutankhamun.
I look out across at the people gathered here today. Some have come to celebrate my life and some have come just to make sure I’m dead and won’t write truthful things about them anymore.
Most people have turned up in a band t-shirt as requested. Even my mother, who still thinks I should have gotten a hair cut, even now. I look out and I see who it is that knows me well, who knows me fleetingly and who doesn’t know me at all. There will be a few people who think it’s a ridiculous idea and have turned up in suits. These people are not welcome here. The suit is fine, but the rules are… you must be wearing a band t-shirt - not a shirt and tie.
There will dozens of Kiss t-shirts. These are my people. This is my crowd. They know me very well… or at least those who turn up in a t-shirt in which Kiss are wearing make-up do. There will also be dozens of Twisted Sister shirts. I will smile to myself and raise a salute to the person that went out of their way to find a Love Is For Suckers shirt. There will be dozens of Alice Cooper shirts too with Alice’s face from the cover of From The Inside gracing the room.
This is the Holy Trinity of Rock n Roll. Thanks for keeping me company on lonely days, lonely nights and long car drives. (That's a good song title. You can have that.)
But there will be some who will dig out the deep cuts. Amongst this sea of titanic giants will be the odd anomaly. A Warrior Soul shirt. A Marionette shirt. A Mother Love Bone shirt. A Zodiac Mindwarp shirt. An Adam and the Ants shirt. These will be the people who have known me the longest - who know me inside out and back to front. Who know that the box is empty. That the thing in the box was just a visible indicator that let you know I was in the room when we wanted to share a coffee or head outside for a cigarette.
The music plays and I kick back in a swivel chair. The kind with wheels on it so I can get some speed up as I spin.
Everybody sits down and we play a tune to get started. This is my last chance to talk to my people - my crowd - and I've been permanently disabled inside a box! Jesus, that’s a lot of pressure. Four songs to say everything I might have forgotten to say when I had a mouth and a jaw to work it? Do I bring on the tears or the laughter?
The people walk in to Psycho Circus - a later track by Kiss but the lyrics transpose onto my funeral well and it has a great beat.
Somebody says a few words and then everybody stands for You've Got A Friend by Carole King.
Somebody else says some more words and everybody stands again for Spaceball Ricochet by T.Rex.
At the back, somebody whispers to the person sitting next to them that there sure is a lot of sitting and standing at funerals. That's the kind of thing I would say to bring the world back into focus.
For the grand finale, I hand the mic over to my hero, Paul Stanley. He was the guy that made the bad days worth living for more years than were probably necessary. I pluck something from his first solo album and there’s nothing more fitting here than Goodbye.
This is my swan song to the world. I’ll see everybody soon enough I guess.
Outside, Ravens sit in a line along a telephone wire and do not say a word...
Wait! I’m still fucking here damn it!
This is how a life ends. Don't forget to live your life while you still have a choice.
Be cool to each other. xxx
Footnote: I am not sick or dying so far as I know. This track listing is likely to change if I have better ideas sometime in the next er... forty years will be good enough thanks.
Footnote 2: But if I do happen to fall from grace and you're stuck for ideas, it's good enough.