Blog Archives: October 2012

Quote of the day

Wednesday, 31 October 2012


I didn’t (mention it)? That’s terrible… Oh Christ Almighty, what an oversight. Oh man, me big brother’s gonna kill me… Do you know I forgot to mention me mum’s passing? I can’t believe it…


Rod Stewart, after an an interviewer had pointed out the omission from his autobiography of any reference to his mother’s death. 

There should be a regulation against it

Wednesday, 31 October 2012


In the event, there wasn’t a lot of call for regulation of the funeral industry in the aftermath of the TV exposés of eyebrow-raising behind-the-scenes practices at branches of Funeral Partners Ltd, Co-operative Funeralcare and Dignity plc. 

There’ll always be those who want it, of course, and some of them work in the industry. But is regulation a panacea?

Below, there’s a newsclip from NBC highlighting recent industry malpractice in California.

Above, two YouTube clips showing Daniel Mandel’s hearse on fire after he sideswiped another vehicle. In the first, you can see him leaning against his hearse smoking a cigarette, hapless and, as it happens, drunk. Police managed to get the casket out before it was engulfed. It contained the body of a holocaust victim.

It looks as if regulation may fall a long way short of a panacea.


View more videos at:

Coffin dodgers

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Mitzy, who sniffed them


As far as Hallowe’en surprises go, finding a gang of men hiding in coffins bound for a funeral directors would be pretty spooky.

Especially when it’s a trio of stowaway immigrants trying to enter Britain illegally.

Border Force officers made the frightening discovery while searching a lorry from Bulgaria – across the border from Dracula’s Transylvania home.

Read all abaht it in (where else?) the Daily Mail


How many of our crems are fit for purpose?

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

South Shields crematorium


It’s extraordinary how biddable bolshy Brits can be when they get to a crematorium — amazing what they put up with. Presumably it’s a matter of low-to-zero expectations. You expect it to be awful. It is. Whatever. 

Up in Jarrow, some people have had enough. Resident James Southern rates South Shields crematorium “wholly inadequate”. He said:

“I recently attended a service at the crematorium in South Shields.

“I have over the years been to a handful of other services there too. What strikes me is how wholly inadequate the size of the building is. I have only once been able to get inside for the service and been left standing outside on the other occasions. Notwithstanding that, the loudspeakers used to relay what’s happening inside to the gathering outside are next to useless.

“I came away from the recent service feeling that I had not been able to pay my proper respects, as I was detached from the service and both unable to see it or hear it properly. Surely the council can improve this situation so that the people of the region can bid farewell to the sons and daughters of South Tyneside in a proper and fitting manner?”

Full story in the Jarrow and Hebburn Gazette here

Whither Richard?

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Richard R


I don’t know about you, but I’m missing Richard Rawlinson, our genially provocative once and future (I hope) blogger on religious affairs, fashion, art, you name it. 

What brought my nostalgia home was reading about a cause close to his heart, the tug of war for the skeleton of Richard III (if it’s really him), dug up in a Leicester car park and now, under the terms of the exhumation order under a section 25 licence,  in the ‘custody and possession’ of the University of Leicester, which is trying to find out if the bones really are royal and not just plebeian lookalikes by extracting mitochondrial DNA from them and comparing what they find with the DNA of Michael Ibsen, 55, a Canadian born London furniture-maker, the best living descendant they could find. 

The tug of war is intensifying. 

Leicester Cathedral wants dem bones if they’re any good and is working with the Royal Household and the Richard III Society ‘to ensure that his remains are treated with dignity and respect and are reburied with the appropriate rites and ceremonies of the church’. 

Are you interested?

Yorkshire wants them on the grounds that Richard loved Yorkshire best. York Minster is the preferred destination of this faction.

The battle has spread to the floor of the House of Commons, where a claim has been lodged, amidst incredulous and disrespectful laughter, in favour of Worksop. John Mann, MP for Bassetlaw, said: “The great priory of Worksop is half-way between the two. It’s the end of the road of the forest [Sherwood] and centre of the kingdom of Richard III. It is the most appropriate final resting place for the king.” Actually, it’s a bit of a dump. I know, I lived there once by mistake. 

It would be quite in order for Westminster Abbey to put in a claim, but it hasn’t. As a once and once only monarch of the realm, Richard has title to it. 

Lastly, left-of-field and, as it happens, left-footed to boot, come the Catholics. They want Richard in Westminster Cathedral on the grounds that, as a Catholic, his bones should be interred in a Catholic church to the strains of a full Requiem Mass. 

Which would please Richard Rawlinson, for that is where he worships. 





Barbara Hepworth’s hospital drawings

Tuesday, 30 October 2012


Poppy Mardall very much likes Barbara Hepworth’s drawings of surgeons at work in the late 1940s. There’s currently an exhibition of 30 works in Wakefield, and you can see some of them at the Guardian

Says Poppy: “Hepworth gets past the clinical and gives us these moving, almost spiritual pictures of what goes on behind the scenes. It makes me think about what we do. And all that focus on the hands and the eyes – so full of beauty.”



What if you’ve just had enough?

Tuesday, 30 October 2012


Silvan Luley, who is unofficially known as the deputy director of Dignitas, says he is concerned that under current Swiss law the association cannot offer assisted suicides to individuals who are “perfectly healthy”.

Luley said: “The more restrictive you design a law, the more difficult you make it for people to access a dignified end in life, the more people will turn to ghastly methods.

“I can try to talk people out of it. I can try to show people alternatives, but if somebody does not enjoy the sunlight, the smell of freshly cut grass in the morning any more, then what do you do then?”

Full article in the Sunday Times here. (£)

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