Friday, 4 January 2008

ILL AND DEAD

Ahhhhh, "Credit Squeeze" says the radio, and as a "sup-prime" I skirt blithely like a coyote in a batsuit around my overdraft limit of whatever it is and look around me to see what I might sign up to next. Inspired perhaps by the jumper my parents have bought me for Christmas I investigate the Campaign for Real Ale and a copy of the "London Drinker" that I picked up in an pub in High Barnet. I don't really know anything about CAMRA to be honest, but I do know that any organization so clearly estranged from the insidious influence of marketing and homogenised thought as to produce an advert as impenetrable as this...


... is clearly onto something. Or rather not. Which is the point. Surely these cosy, beardy, sedentary men who drink "Santa's Wobble" are more like the kind of guys I should be hanging out with than the shiny-eyed zeitgeist pilots I find myself drinking with at Shunt.

But then I come across the obituaries. 
 
There are two, and while they're both written with obvious affection for their subjects, they also contain quite substantial cause for qualm. I'm reprinting here only those details that led me to reconsider which is of course grossly unfair to the dead men in question, but... sorry:

Andrew Cifton, I never knew you. It says here that you were found dead in your home "aged just 56 years and 5 months". It says you "had a heart of gold and will be sadly missed." It says you were "the bane of present and past CAMRA national chairmen, given to heckling at meetings whenever a perceived injustice frustrated him, often culminating in a theatrical storming-out, with a tirade of invective, and occasionally having to return to collect a jacket (or cuddly toy) that he had left behind!" It says "Unwelcome questions that he didn't wish to answer were often fielded with a shrug of the shoulders, while if he was unhappy about something, he would mutter away about it under his breath."

And "'Arry" Hart... It says here that many stories were shared about you in the Sultan in Tooting after your funeral on 22 October. It says many precious memories were shared by "Sue". It says you were "a very private person whom few would have known closely, except when riled, as he could be." It says "When things were promised and those promises broken, he would become quite vocal after a few beers. The spelling lesson in Dudley when he was refused orders after 2am will live in everyone's memory. I remember Sue had to take him back to the room quickly. On another occasion he flew into a righteous lather on the Isle of wight when told he could not redeem tokens he'd been promised were redeemable."

A deep, dark mirror...

So now I'm thinking of joining these guys instead:
 

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