Charles Cowling

Dear Ian and Frank, 

It was good to see you commenting once more on the blog. It shows that people of all shades of opinion read it, not just a clique. 

I hope you appreciate the way I allow you to say whatever you like, however abusive (so long as it isn’t also libellous).   

Do you ever wonder why I don’t just bin your more abusive comments as soon as they appear? After all, they are often personal, they can be pretty hurtful, they are usually very negative and they contribute nothing to the debate. 

I let you comment because I believe in free speech and because I am interested in what you have to say. I know that you speak for many people in the industry. 

I hope you have some respect for the way in which I expose everything I say to comment. This is because I don’t think I am always right, and because I like to be put right where I have got it wrong. I hope you’ll agree that it takes guts and open-mindedness to do that. 

I hope you respect the way that I do not hide my identity or shelter my contact details. I take personal responsibility for everything I say, and I make myself vulnerable by doing so.   

Which is more than I can say for you. 

The funeral industry is a service industry. Service users have a right to talk about it. So I want to suggest to you that your aggressive defence of the industry you clearly love is unhelpful and mistaken. You make it look small-minded and nasty. 

So come on. Step up. Let’s have reasoned debate and a constructive dialogue. Stop being so angry. 

We all want what’s best. 

With best wishes, 

Charles

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James
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James

A provocative article Charles with some interesting responses.

I couldn’t help noticing that it has received 174 ‘thumbs ups’ which seems a lot, is that a typical amount?

Richard
Guest
Richard

Frank, it’s up to individuals to offer up differing views for debate, whether pro or anti embalming, pro or anti euthanasia, theist or atheist, socialist or sensible etc. Charles welcomes a broad spectrum that, as you say, stimulates debate more than consensus opinion. But better to state what you believe in than what you dislike. I know nothing of your views on various aspects of Funeral World. Set an agenda rather than complain about an existing one.

Frank
Guest
Frank

Ian, its the faithful followers who make this blog boring and at times painful too follow, all in agreement, no debate, all looking for self satisfaction from any comment they make…come on….man or women up…

Vale
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Vale

Keep dangling the bait Frank, one of the us is sure to rise to it sooner or later…

Ian Quance
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Ian Quance

Blimey – didn’t expect to come across a thread like this. We, who deal with the bereaved, generally have very high EQs – I’ve noticed over the years how quickly this can slip away when we feel secure among our peers. Charles, you provide us with a platform for this and a lot more – thank you. I enjoyed seeing you on the TV the other night and was disappointed they didn’t exploit your experience more. If we can get over this nervy embarrassment the media have with death, we could really have some interesting productions. Professionalism is about separating… Read more »

David Holmes
Guest

Cliche it may be – but I know I was born knowing nothing. Anything I do know I learned along the way. Often I am certainly right, frequently I am probably wrong. I always remain as open minded as possible. Sometimes that makes me a procrastinator. I am sure that my doubt makes me a better person. The day I realised I would die in ignorance of most things in our incredible world, is the day I accepted my time here is very limited. If I can do a few good things in my hoped-for three score years and ten,… Read more »

Gloria Mundi
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Gloria Mundi

I don’t expect you really believe that everyone who agrees with Charles over a particular issue is his lap-dog Frank, so I guess you must truly be bored to be bothered to take the time to write such stuff. The alias business is a bit troubling; I got into it because on my own blog I was writing about actual funerals, and I didn’t want to discomfort anyone. Nothing to do with opinions pro or anti. I’m a funeral celebrant Ian, and there is only one thing I think is always right: what the family wants. Embalmed or not, green… Read more »

Molly
Guest
Molly

Well said Gloria. I’m a frequent lurker who rarely posts but I couldn’t agree more that the only ‘right way’ is what the family want (as long as there is no up-selling or pressure from the FD involved in their decision making). As a small independent FD I’ve used estate cars, hearses, pick up trucks, horse drawn hearses and once an ordinary land rover to convey the deceased to the crematorium or burial ground. I’ve arranged funerals with no mourners and hired coaches for others. I’ve never seen some families because everything has been arranged by phone and email, whilst… Read more »

Andrew Hickson
Guest

GM, what you say is absolutely fine, I have no issue at all with it. You are as entitled to your opinion as I am to mine as Frank and Ian are to theirs. I was not trying to be vindictive, just to point out that all opinions are equally valid. I certainly don’t think that I have a supernatural ability to tell someone’s class from their comments, it was just a general view that the blog does naturally attract majority middle-class attitudes. I could, equally fairly GM, pick up this from the same post “I hope you respect the… Read more »

Richard
Guest
Richard

I’m a blog contributor who isn’t in the funeral trade and who is a tradition-loving, conservative Catholic. Minority of one?! My views have niggled a few people and vice versa. A bit of disagreement on a blog is healthy as long as it stimulates healthy debate and doesn’t descend into trollish name-calling, something GFG usually avoids as GM says. Five classic insults: “I did not attend his funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.” Mark Twain “I’ve neverr killed a man, but I’ve read many an obituary with a great deal of satisfaction.” Clarence Darrow… Read more »

ian
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ian

I think the point that Andrew was making was that on the whole, there are a small number of very regular contributors on the blog, most of whom obviously work within the funeral industry, and that they all broadly share the same view point in terms on of embalming (most seem to think it is somehow a shameful practice) and a back-patting ‘ooh isn’t this different therefore it’s automatically great’ approach. I don’t think he was being literal when he said middle -class, just the general attitude! I very rarely contribute to the blogs because it is rare that they… Read more »

Frank
Guest
Frank

yawn….Charles’ 3 lap dogs are back in the room!.

Nick Gandon
Guest

It never ceases to amaze me just how many people in the funeral trade think that their way of doing things is the only way. Yes, keep standards as high as possible, but at least keep an open mind as to clients’ various wishes. I was explaining the direct cremation service we provide to a couple of arrangers from a large national group. They were positively hostile towards the idea of having no mourners at the physical cremation, and to suggest that some people actually prefer to arrange matters over the phone, and by email was the very last straw… Read more »

Gloria Mundi
Guest
Gloria Mundi

If Charles is an”expert” (dubious title at best!) it is because he knows a great deal about funeral practices around the country, he has invested a lot of time over several years in doing so, and the fruits of it are plain to see. He has a comparative view and wide range of vision, although his preferences are plain to see. As they need to be. What makes me sad about some of the comments are the way they ignore Charles’ point about the open nature of GFG comments, and the generally civilised and benign way he conducts the blog.… Read more »

Frank
Guest
Frank

Charles, you sit on the fence and jump off into a funeral garden that suits you, where the grass is green and all the flower beds are in full bloom, you slate the Co op and Dignity, yet neglect too slate other huge groups ie: Laurel, Funeral Partners etc! The GFG is happy to promote Funeral Services it sees fit to. You need to make decisions, who are you Good Guiding for, the conglomerates, us little independents, or whoever pays the bills? there can’t be a half in situation, you can’t invite people to the wedding breakfast and others too… Read more »

A Celeb
Guest
A Celeb

I agree with Frank that the blog is not aimed at the bereaved. However, the bereaved are at the heart of the GFG in promoting good funerals; a place for debate amongst funeral professionals; showcasing new ideas; reminding us of good practice; drawing our attention to bad practice.

Andrew Hickson
Guest

It’s very much a double-edged sword isn’t it? Any public forum is as entitled to its critics as it is its supporters. The vast majority of commentators on the GFG blog are supporters, and it does seem that when a critic appears, he or she is shot down, accused of being over-the-top, criticised back. The GFG is pretty scathing of the Co-op isn’t it? There are some quite nasty things said about them on here. And yet that’s ok. Ian and Frank make valid points, opinions to which they are totally entitled. It could be said that they should be… Read more »

ian
Guest
ian

Charles, I don’t think that anything in the very small number of posts I have made has been abusive. I have taken exception to the way in which you decided to set a fee for being in the guide. I made a comment , you clearly don’t see it the way that I do, but I haven’t exactly lost any sleep about it! Regarding my comment re David’s TV experience, I would say that I was supportive of the man and was trying to say that I don’t think it did him any harm. I still hold by my belief… Read more »