From the Birmingham Post 25 May 2014:
They’re the Oscars you definitely would be seen dead at – and there’s guaranteed to be stiff opposition for a gong.
The inaugural Ideal Death Show, a top of the plots for the funeral industry, promises to be a celebration in Birmingham of everything that’s good about slipping this mortal coil.
Funeral directors across the nation are bidding for a rest-in-piece of the action.
Highlight of the three-day event will be the Good Funeral Awards, a prize-giving ceremony for undertakers who undertake to solemnly walk the extra mile.
Categories at the glittering Bournville gathering include embalmer of the year, The Eternal Slumber Award for top coffin supplier, crematoriuim attendant of the year and best gravedigger.
Winners will receive not Oscars but similarly sized gold statuettes of the Ancient Egyptian god of embalming, Anubis.
Refreshments at the Beeches Hotel pall of fame, staged from September 5 to 7, will be served in Death Cafés where, presumably, chicken in the casket may well be on the menu.
Lectures from luminaries such as Times columnist Ann Treneman and Oldie magazine’s Virginia Ironside will cover subjects like ‘What It Feels Like To Die’.
Pretty final, presumably.
Charles Cowling, author of coffee table book The Good Funeral Guide, stressed that there is nothing mawkish or even macabre about the celebration of everything associated with meeting your maker.
“They’re not weird, these great funeral people,” he said. “They’re wonderful.”
In fact, they’ve been known to really let RIP.
“Above all,” said Charles, “they’re amazingly normal, just like us – kind, decent, friends in need. The world needs to know this.
“They richly deserve to have their praises sung and their stories told. This event is where we get to do that.”
The show will also feature an exhibition of “unconventional funeral merchandise” – ideal for those wanting a fridge magnet for that urn on the mantlepiece.
“The British tend to be a bit coy about their own mortality, but we’re here to provide a space for the curious,” said an event spokesman.
“Many feel uncomfortable about the idea, but our weekends have more laughs than tears.
“There will also be death cafés, opportunities to discuss the Grim Reaper over tea and cake.”
Bournville – home of Cadbury chocolate – was chosen because of its Quaker links.
“They had a reputation for progressive management and embracing ideas ahead of their time,” said the show aide. “We particularly like the way they put emphasis on making this world better rather than pondering what happens after leaving it.
“We respect the Quaker commitments to social justice, environmental consciousness and community.”
All eyes will be on the industry’s ‘Oscars’.
This year’s Good Funeral Awards Oscar