Charles Cowling
Did you read about that undertaker in Middlesbrough? The one who stole the keys from a rival undertaker’s hearse as it sat obedient and empty outside the Salvation Army citadel? It had to be hotwired to get it to the cemetery. It had to be seen to be believed. The
Charles Cowling
Farrah Fawcett, Charlie’s Angel star in the 70s, she of the much copied hairstyle, wants to die on camera. She was diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006. The camera has been rolling since then. It has captured highs, like when the tumour is briefly found to have disappeared, and lows,
Charles Cowling
This is not unusual these days: you see someone entranced by a song and when it’s done they say fervently, “I want that played at my funeral.” You’ve done it, too? When you’ve done it once it becomes a habit. Sometimes a new song displaces an old one. Sometimes you
Charles Cowling
It was the Natural Death Centre (NDC) which first advocated a return to the ancient, not long lost practice of caring for our own dead, and it was John Bradfield who did the bulk of the research into what you can legally do and what you can’t*. This re-birth of
Charles Cowling
Why do people go to funerals? After all, the dead person won’t be there—not in spirit. I always think, when I survey a crowd at a funeral, that these people are being as unselfish as people can possibly be—and what a very rare thing that is. What’s the motivation? To
Charles Cowling
Here’s an interesting practice. In South Korea, where rapid industrialisation has generated societal angst and personal dysfunction—things capitalism taught us here in the UK ages ago—a Mr Ko Min-su has devised a training course in which participants rehearse their own death. The purpose is to teach them to re-evaluate their
Charles Cowling
M’learned friends have spoken. Davender Ghai’s appeal to the high court to overturn Newcastle City Council’s ban on open-air cremation has been turned down like a bedspread. The 1902 Cremation Act was used in evidence against him. Funny, that. I thought the Act applied only to cremations in a crematorium.
Charles Cowling
Is the Natural Death Centre a national treasure? Undoubtedly. What is it? It’s a charity which advocates a hands-on approach to preparing for death and arranging a funeral. It publishes The Natural Death Handbook, which is full of practical advice and personal stories. The philosophy of the NDC grew out
Charles Cowling
For all that the funeral industry is aware of pressure to change, and has readied itself for that, and for all that newspapers like to run features about nice, funny coffins, nothing has essentially changed. Death occurs. A stranger – a funeral director – accompanied by another stranger, his or
Charles Cowling
Date: 12-14 June (choose your day or come to all three). Venue: Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire. Event: National Funeral Exhibition. This trade show is a biennial shindig. Funeral directors fly in from all corners of the country to feast their eyes everything new in the world of funerals. Not that there