Lee Randall: Celebrities must be kept alive forever to save my sanity
MOMENTARILY overlooking the hideous loss to their family and friends, I can't stop myself from noticing that just sometimes, the worst thing about a celebrity's passing – and hasn't the Grim Reaper been on a tear lately? – is the media hysteria.
And by that, what I really mean is the fact that, thanks to a tribute medley aired on a London radio station, She's Like the Wind from Dirty Dancing is playing endlessly inside my head. In common with so many things that spin around, it's making me want to puke.
This musical merry-go-round comes with added irony and upset, because, on the very day that I read about Patrick Swayze's passing, I was even more surprised to read that punk poet/novelist/singer Jim Carroll had succumbed to a heart attack.
What's especially galling is that, by rights, his passing offered me a perfect excuse for indulging in behaviour I last exhibited during my sophomore year at university, when I was known to run through the streets bellowing one of his catchiest hits…
You know that since I possess a sense of humour that's positively stygian in hue, it wasn't two minutes before I was wisecracking, "Did you hear? Jim Carroll's become a People Who Died!"
But every time my inner voice warbles, "people who died, died!" that windy girl blows Carroll's lyrics out of reach. I feel her breath on my face, all right.
Don't think for a minute that I heard Swayze's so-wet-I've-got-beavers-working-on-a-flood-barrier pop hit voluntarily. You know I'm a woman of refined tastes. Had I been able to, I would have changed to Radio 4 at the first sign of trouble. But while having a manicure you're a captive audience.
On the plus side, while the DJ assaulted my sensibilities, a nice young manicurist had both my paws gripped firmly in hers, and there were sharp objects involved. Otherwise I'd have jammed buffing cubes into my ears and most likely clawed my eyes out, such was my agony.
Because I knew every word! How did that happen? I've never seen the movie. Not even accidentally, on the telly, while too inebriated to change channels.
These singalongs from hell are the main reason I hope Chris de Burgh and Phil Collins outlive me. It's the reason why, despite being an athiest, you'll often find me popping into church to light a candle and say a prayer for the enduring good health of Noddy Holder (especially at the holidays), Celine Dion and Terry Jacks, whose droning rendition of Seasons in the Sun has been inspiring my homicidal impulses since 1974.
If only I'd been keeping an eye out for Mary Travers, whose death was announced on Thursday. Or, as Newark's Star-Ledger chose to put it: "Mary Travers is gone. Puff! Just like that."
Oh great! Puff the Magic Dragon is easily the most depressing song ever written. Even as a tyke I'd weep whenever I heard this mournful saga of male heartlessness and inconstancy. (In point of fact, it should have been a lesson to me, but kids! You can't tell them anything.)
There's only one solution if I'm to get shot of this Patrick Swayze song. After careful consideration – I've no wish to cause suffering to innocent families – I've determined that it needs to be an imaginary character. With a jolly theme tune.
Felix the Cat must die.
I could do with a week of singing, "You'll laugh so much your sides will ache/Your heart will go pitter pat/Watching Felix, the wonderful cat!"
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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