It takes two taboos

Charles Cowling

Bookplate from the collection of Richard Sica photographed by A Journey Round My Skull

The connection between sex and death is well known. If you want to muse on it further, there’s a pretty good article in the Encyclopaedia of Death and Dying. If you don’t, please don’t read the rest of this post. It’s dirty, you’ll think. Offensive. Come back tomorrow.

Which brings us, with a single bound, to bookplates. Why is it that so many bookplates incorporate a memento mori plus, often, an erotic bonus? I think I knew the answer once but, if memory serves, I have forgotten. Perhaps you can shed some light?

Over at the A Journey Round My Skull blog there are three fine collections of bookplates featuring death and, in some cases, sexy flesh. You can find them here.

From there it’s but a short hop to the Morbid Anatomy blog, where you can contemplate the fatal aftermath of too much masturbation. Here.

While we’re on this topic, you might have some thoughts on the psychological truth or otherwise of this comedic treatment of sex and death:

Funeral Sex
Watch more comedy videos from the twisted minds of the UCB Theatre at

10 thoughts on “It takes two taboos

  1. Charles Cowling

    Do you take Alkasaltzers, Charles? They tell me they’re bad for the memory… or something.

    Charles Cowling
  2. Charles Cowling
    Charles Cowling

    Gosh, I’ve posted it before, have I? Dear oh dear, do I see the shade of the Grim Dementer hovering in the offing?

    Charles Cowling
  3. Charles Cowling
    Rupert Callender

    We commented last time you put up this video Charles. Mind you, top marks for goading Jonathan into that last remark.

    Charles Cowling
  4. Charles Cowling

    Not shunning your post, Charles… just a little unsure of quoting:

    “A funeral and a wedding have this much in common – they’re both about putting a stiff in a box.”

    Charles Cowling
  5. Charles Cowling
    Charles Cowling

    Sonya, it’s great to hear from you. This has to be my most shunned posting — an interesting insight into the minds of those who follow this blog. Really glad the video made you giggle. I cannot promise not to perpetrate another such post when the spirit moves me!

    Charles Cowling
  6. Charles Cowling

    ps: duh’!I missed out the word ‘woman’ between the words hot and posing

    Charles Cowling
  7. Charles Cowling

    Charles, the comedy clip had me in stitches! It must have taken some courage to post! I still dont quite see the conection between sex and death though. The article on Sex and dying shed some light (salmon) but on the whole I’m not sure about it. I suppose death is often viewed as ‘un-creation’ and the areas of creation are highlighted as a sort of countercharm?? Dunno. I remember an earlier post where you posted photos of a coffinmaker’s website with some very hot posing sugestivly. I didnt get that ither, hmmmm is it me?
    Anyways, the ability to laugh at oneself is just such a fabulous gift in life and the clip reminded me of the importance of lightening up!

    Charles Cowling
  8. Tweets that mention The Good Funeral Guide – It takes two taboos --

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Charles Cowling, Charles Cowling. Charles Cowling said: Today's blog post confronts those two taboos, sex and death. Someone's got to do it. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>