Charles Cowling
Here is a hubristic report from the Co-operative College in Manchester on a fact-finding mission from South Africa. The mission came hard on the heels of helpful research by our own, dear Co-op into the ‘exorbitant’ cost of funerals in South African townships. A much needed reduction in expensive funeral costs
Charles Cowling
A couple of months ago I was contacted by Quaker Social Action and invited to a planning group whose remit was the support of people in London on low incomes needing to arrange a funeral. I wasn’t able to go, to my ire. Sue Gill and John Fox* were speaking.
Charles Cowling
Here’s an interesting piece by Peter Popham in the Independent, first published in May. I’ve only just found it. He begins by talking about Christopher Hitchens, who has oesophageal cancer, and how impending death has reconfigured his identity: “…when the bitter laughter dies away, there is Hitch, locked away from
Charles Cowling
Have you been following Gail Rubin’s 30 funerals in 30 days? I hope so. If you haven’t,  you can easily catch up. Go over to her site as soon as you’ve read this and take up where you left off. The cultural differences are intriguing. The preaching at religious funerals
Charles Cowling
A couple of months ago I was tipped off that the oft-disgraced Richard Sage was alive, well and practising in Burnley, Lancashire in the guise of J Kendal at this address: 40 Briercliffe Road, Burnley BB10 1XB I followed this up and discovered it to be so. Don’t know who
Charles Cowling
I have just learned from Tony Piper, a man of much heart and inellect, the news that Tana Wollen is stepping down from head of ceremonies at the British Humanist Association. Tana, too, is a person of much heart and intellect and she’s been a good friend of the GFG.
Charles Cowling
Oldie readers of this blog will know who I mean by Katharine Whitehorn. Journalist (Observer, mostly). Irreverent, no-nonsense, funny, nice. She’s now Saga magazine’s agony aunt. I’ve just stumbled on the poem she wants to be read at her funeral. It’s by AE Housman and it’s called Parta Quies. I’d
Charles Cowling
It was a deepseated thing, this duty we felt we owed our dead. A sacred duty – literally. It goes back to the beginning of time. Throughout human history the dead body has always been treated in accordance with sacred diktat, its valedictory hullabaloos performed by shaman or sorcerer, soothsayer
Charles Cowling
Back in 2008 neuropsychiatrist Peter Fenwick, in his book The Art of Dying, made this observation: ‘There are plenty of papers about palliative care and pain control, but very few about the mental states during the dying process.’ It’s something that’s often discussed, the un-joined-upness of dying and death, even
Charles Cowling
The alternative to government regulation of the funeral industry is not self-regulation (too flabby) but implacable consumer scrutiny. That’s the libertarian way of looking at it, it’s a case I like to argue, and I concede that it may be ineffectually idealistic. If only consumers knew. If only they knew