Charles Cowling

It’s been a dispiriting couple of days. Once again the damned Co-op Funeralcare has re-announced the obvious in yet another self-serving survey and, incredibly, reaped a rich harvest of column inches in the UK’s newspapers. You’ve almost certainly encountered some of it.

I wasn’t going to rise to it. At this time of the year I’d rather turn my sights to sunnier things. But I suppose I ought to write about it because I know that a number of you come here for second-hand news. Second-hand news is me.

If you want to find out what the Co-op sent out to all those flat-bottomed hacks too idle to go out and find news stories of their own, click here. It may be a good idea to have a sick bag to hand.

The survey is endorsed by venerable academic and ‘funerary historian’, Julian Litten. What on earth he thinks he’s doing lending his name to this garbage I can’t think. This ‘ere celebration of life trend, it’s all down to Princess Diana and Jade Goody, apparently — some sort of copycat effect, I suppose. FFS.

As Paul Hensby accurately points out, the damned Funeralcare has established itself as the thought leader in contemporary funerals. Ha! All the while, SAIF only whispers the findings of its Ipsos MORI price comparison survey. And where are the celebrants’ trade bodies?

Enough. Is Co-operative Funeralcare systemically incapable of delivering what people want? That’s a rhetorical question; they read this, they have lawyers.

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Maria, One Life CeremoniesNestov RatzcharlesRupert CallenderJonathan Recent comment authors

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Maria, One Life Ceremonies
Guest

There’s been some rubbish about ‘ordinary’ funerals as well recently – this I think the most ridiculous:
http://www.expressandstar.com/blogs/2011/02/02/the-proper-purpose-of-a-funeral/

and, of course, Funeralcare’ll do you one of those too.

Nestov Ratz
Guest

I have asked the Coop to quote me on a Viking long boat which I want to be burnt with my chattels on the River Don. For the party after I have requested a Thora Hird themed disco. No reply so far.

Rupert Callender
Guest

Depends on what my bung is.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

“Funeral directors are going to great lengths to accommodate a wide range of special requests…” says Fuck’emallcare. My arse. Co-op are losing funerals down here in Devon (hope that cheers you up half an iota, Charles) because it’s taking them too long to post the (irreplaceable) paperwork to, would you believe, Manchester and back. That, and other reasons presumably. Family carry the coffin? “We like to discourage that sort of thing, and anyway you can’t carry a cardboard one.” Shroud? “We couldn’t drive along the road with a body in the back wrapped in a bit of cloth.” Humanist funeral?… Read more »

gloria mundi
Guest

WEell, thanks both, I’m encouraged – which is dangerous….Kathryn, I do like “fluffyland.” I herebye christen a noted national chain of funeral “service” providers: “Fluffy Griefdodgers plc.”

Charles Cowling
Guest

Quite so, Kathryn. As GM once memorably said, a funeral is not an artefact. And you can’t banish sadness by throwing a colourful coffin at it. Etc.

As to GM’s expostulation, I have to say that I think it the finest and most glorious outburst I have had the pleasure of warming myself by for quite some time. A simply marvellous piece of invective.

Kathryn Edwards
Guest
Kathryn Edwards

Go Gloria! Couldn’t have expostulated better meself. It’s not Just You: there are loads of us. The problem is a separation of forums: subtle and informed over here (chez GFG and other fine hosts) or shallow and cynical over there (Co-op et al). And I’m sure we’re not the only ones to raise an eyebrow at Dr Litten’s allowing himself to be aligned with the latter. Some might say that we should be less provocable by trivially-grounded and self-serving marketing exercises – hardly ‘research’ – but I think people in our forums are excitable about such things because IT MATTERS.… Read more »

gloria mundi
Guest

All due respect to Julian Litten, but any use of Princess Diana’s funeral as an example of setting a trend is just laughable. To put it simply, most of us lack a) Westminster Abbey b) enraged aristo brothers c)Elton John d) heads of state e) royal and much troubled in-laws, to name but five encumbrances to funerals with “a modern twist” for the rest of us. Some trend. “Half of today’s funerals are a celebration of life” presumably means that half of them are non-religious? Or does it simply mean that they feature jolly eccentricities? But surely any secular or… Read more »