1985 was an important year in my life for a whole variety of reasons, some obviously more important than others. 1985 was exactly one year after 1984, made famous by George Orwell in his book, “1984” (the clue was in the title), which gave us a future of a totalitarian state where people were brainwashed into obeying every instruction of the omnipresent Big Brother. Yeah, it sounds a whole lot like 2017 doesn’t it?
However, the other reason why 1985 was a big year for me was that it was the year of my O Level exams (kinds similar to GCSEs but obviously ten times more difficult, notes educational editor). It was a changing point in my life, as it does with so many students today when faced with making a decision to either stay with the school that has been a regular feature of their existence for five years, or whether to make the jump into a brand new educational context. It marks a moment when you make a choice that makes you feel slightly more grown up.
And it was my last year of being a single man.
This song reminds me of that time, as it was released in the September of 1985, just as I would take my first fateful footsteps in sixth form life, and I would meet the beautiful young lady who would eventually become my soul-mate and my wife:
However, I’m not going to blab on about this defining moment in my life because it is earmarked for another particularly 80s song.
“Road To Nowhere” is another of my possible funeral songs. If my children decided to go with this, I just think it will be particularly funny to have “Road To Nowhere” playing as my coffin goes into the fires of the inferno that will cremate my body into dust, to be mingled with the dead dust of numerous other bodies so my wife will probably get a mixture of me and several strangers to comfort her. Black humour. Love it.
Well we know where we’re going
But we don’t know where we’ve been
And we know what we’re knowing
But we can’t say what we’ve seen
And we’re not little children
And we know what we want
And the future is certain
Give us time to work it out
Now I’ve talked about ideas regarding my funeral before, when I wrote a post about “Do You Realise?” by The Flaming Lips. I didn’t really go into detail, other than to say that I don’t really give a shit about what happens to me funeral. However, I do have some ideas about what might happen in terms of some kind of ceremony.
So, I don’t believe in any religion. If my family decided that they wanted a religious ceremony, that would be fine with me coz at that point I’m dead so I don’t get any say in the matter. Funerals are to help those people who have to move on with their grief.
I was raised as a good Catholic boy by my father, so I’m used to the idea that my body would be cremated. It really does give me a giggle to think of my coffin disappearing behind the curtain to the strains of “Road To Nowhere”. You have to laugh at these things. I have been guilty of treating life way too seriously since I became a dull and desperately responsible grown up. I have no intention of taking my death seriously. It would make my dead body smile if somebody actually pissed their pants due to laughing during my funeral.
We’re on a road to nowhere
Come on inside
Takin’ that ride to nowhere
We’ll take that ride
I’m feelin’ okay this mornin’
And you know,
We’re on the road to paradise
Here we go, here we go
So, what do I fancy? One of the key factors will be to get people there who are prepared to have a bloody good loud sing-along to the songs played – I’m considering having something like “Mr Blue Sky” or even a song that just has a “la la la” moment that people can join in and wave their hands in the air. Would it be going to far to hire a DJ and get people doing stupid rave dancing? Don’t care – I’m not there so I couldn’t give a shit about the so-called dignity of the occasion.
I don’t want people to wear black – I spent too many years wearing regulation drama teacher black. So I will be mightily annoyed off if people turn out in black, so much so that my corpse may will reanimate itself just to tell everybody to bugger off and that the funeral is cancelled. Does that make me immature? Hey, I’m dead so screw the finer emotions.
Would you like to come along
You can help me sing this song
And it’s all right, baby, it’s all right
They can tell you what to do
But they’ll make a fool of you
And it’s all right, baby, it’s all right
I have spent too much of my life being told what to do in life by people who I don’t respect that I’m going to be damned if I allow the same worthless conventions of polite society to tell me what to do in death. Therefore bright, colourful clothes will be the order of the day. Hey, maybe we’ll do the whole thing in fancy dress, eh?
So don’t bother putting me in an expensive coffin, especially if you are going to cremate me! If I’m going to have a coffin, make it the most punk rock coffin you can possible put together. Hey, if it can have added flashing lights and play the theme to “The Magic Roundabout”, then bloody well do it coz that’ll just make it more memorable and increase the possibility of that one person pissing their pants laughing.
Then invite everybody who knew me and liked me (so it won’t be many – ah, black humour again!) round to a pub and have a bloody good piss up, and ask everybody to tell the most ridiculous story they cab think of that is in any way associated with me. Most of them will come from people who knew me either in school or university, or possibly in the first half of my teaching career when I was a young and excitable teacher of drama. There might be some epic stories of school production meltdowns. Some might remember my antics in the school choir. Some might even suggest scandalous rumours. Who cares? I’m dead. Enjoy the stories, have another drink or ten, and try to remember me fondly.
That’ll be a good way to say goodbye.
Oh, and one of the things I love about David Byrne is his fearless creativity as a solo artist, including not being afraid to mess about with much loved songs. Watch this: