Charles 5 Comments

The weekend yielded three newspaper articles about funerals.

The Indy’s is a way-to-go survey. It begins by reflecting the current morbid fascination with the demise of enormous people and the consequent indignities of going out big, making play of wardrobe-size coffins and cranes used to lower them. Health is the new morality, of course, so going to your grave in a JCB amounts to judgement. For the rest, we’re not at all sure that the article tells anyone anything they didn’t already know. The writers talk of caskets, not coffins. They quote the average funeral cost as £7,248. They display the customary media attraction to wackiness — Crazy Coffins, for example. Oh and promession, in development since 1999 and yet, as far as we know, to render anyone to biodegrable powder. Verdict: dull. Score: 3/10. Find it here

There’s a much better piece in the Guardian by Amanda Mitchison and Caleb Parkin about ashes and what people do with them. Richard Martin over at Scattering Ashes was thrilled that his Viking longship got a mention, though no name-check for him. Or for the GFG, which begat the concept. 8/10 for this and, at the time of typing, we are waiting for Ms Mitchison to take to the air on R4 and talk to us about ashes. Listen-again link later. Find the Guardian article here

Finally, the Daily Mail plays to the zeitgeist with a shamelessly sensational piece about a man too large to fit into a mortuary refrigerator and ‘left to rot’Plans for an open casket funeral have been scrapped because his body is too decayed.’ What’s all this casket talk we’re getting these days? Score for this piece 0/10 or 10/10 depending on the altitude of your brow. Find it here


  1. Charles

    What is wrong with journalists? I spent much of Friday answering questions from the Indy. Useful, informative, detailed stuff about trends, Celebrants, cremation without ceremony, time rich supportive burial ground managers etc, did he use any of it? What a waste of time, print and an opportunity squandered. The only mention the NDC got was a link with green burial and even then he got the stats wrong.
    I was not in a good mood over the Sunday roast.
    Thanks for reminding me to send comment to said idiot. It was so bad, and so far removed from all the research he was apparently doing, that at one point it crossed my mind that he had been ‘got at’.

  2. Charles

    I wasted some good quality time talking to him, too, Rosie. I think when it came to writing it all down he just couldn’t be arsed and did a cuttings job instead. Probably off somewhere for the weekend.

    What is this national obsession with big fat dead people?

    Effing media.

  3. Charles

    Re the ‘decayed’ person in Gloucester mortuary. I feel for them – yes, there is limited space in the ‘larger size tray’ fridge, and it was full (we had one of the four berths occupied by a highly qualified chap). But it is cool in the outer room, the weather was cold, and 6 days is too short a time for decomposition in these conditions. If they had really wanted an ‘open casket’ funeral (EXTREMELY unusual round here) the body would almost certainly have been embalmed as a matter of course.
    So ‘decayed’ is most unlikely.
    It seems another case of ramping up by a family, encouraged by the shrill end of the media.
    Gloucester mortuary are overworked, under-resourced, but very caring and good.

  4. Charles

    Re – the national obsession with big fat dead people. You spend your life stressing if you’ll fit into your jeans, and your death stressing if you’ll fit into your coffin!

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