Bodies to bling

Charles Cowling

A diamond made from cremated remains
I’m on holiday. I don’t want to court controversy for a couple of weeks (the weather will stop me getting hot under the collar.) But it never did any harm to be a little provocative in the interest of animated debate.

So, I say, good taste will always hide behind convention because it is too timorous to do its own thing. Good taste, for all that it parades itself as self-restraint and decorum, is nothing but creative paralysis.

Where funerals are concerned, one person’s emotional truth is another person’s sentimental incontinence. If there’s a taste war going on out there (and, by jingo, there is) it’s very one-sided. The good-tasters rage against frightfulness; the bad tasters happily and obliviously get on with it.

Blessed are those who do their own thing.

If you didn’t see it, Channel 4’s half-hour film last Friday, Ashes to Diamonds, is well worth a look. It points up the problem with ashes: what to do with them? And it follows people who followed their hearts and had them mixed with oil paint, made into diamonds and blasted from shotgun cartridges.

I spoke to the film’s maker, David Brindley, when he was researching the project, and I emailed my congratulations to him after I’d watched it. Here’s part of his reply:

I’m mainly pleased that it genuinely seems to have stirred up thoughts in the minds of those watching as to exactly what to do with either existing ashes or their own once they’re gone. I’ve had lots of emails from people saying that they had no clue half of these options were even available to them.

If you missed it, you can see it here.

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