2016 seemed like a bad year, it started badly and got worse. Just when we thought it was as bad as it could get, democracy took a turn to madness.
It has appeared to be a very bad year for the passing of those the public held dear to their hearts, people about whom it can be truly said ‘ we will never see there like again.’ Oh yes, a lot of innovators of culture said their final goodbyes on this stage, and when we thought enough was enough and the performance was over, that sadness was over, another name hit the headlines in their passing. There has been three in this very last week of 2016.
And the year has another 48 hours to go.
Meddling about on the net, I did find the answer to the question 'has this been a really bad year for ‘celebrity deaths’ or is that just the way it appears to be? Has the passing of well kent faces been amplified by social media and does that give rise to a snowball effect, one popular mourning piled on the back of the previous one. And why is that wrong? Losing one relative or pet is bad enough but losing two especially close together has a impact exponentially hard. Has the whole planet been suffering from this?
It turns out there has indeed been a spike in the number of deaths of celebrities ( hate using that word as they are all somebodies mum or dad, son or daughter, but the term is important later) in 2016. It makes a weird kind of sense when considered in terms of timing and that ‘pop’ culture and the dawn of mass communication spawned a generation of famous people that are now, unfortunately, at at age around or beyond the three score years and ten.
There are now more people who are famous than were famous in the 1950's. Every ten years has shown a huge increase. Even people we don’t like ( and have no discernible talent )and those that we have no interest in are known to us. Their deaths are plastered everywhere so our awareness is so much greater, our interest engaged by the how did they die, who were they with and who is saying what about them. Everybody has an opinion.
So that accounts for the older ones. But what about those taken before their time? Some accidental. Too many, far too many, had written their own obituary by their shennigans in their younger years. Illegal drugs are illegal for a reason, They are bad for you. A very sad but true fact.
And the younger they are, the more shocked we are by it. The '27' club is a clearly defined group for a reason.
Is there any sense that it has all turned into some kind of online sport? What did they die of? What does 'unexpected but not suspicious' mean? Why were they alone? What had they been taking? Am I morbidly curious – ( or as I had hoped ..) just medically interested. When I heard of George Michael's passing, I thought back to that bad pneumonia he had a few years ago. At the time of writing this there are a few rumours going around of heroin overuse but nothing from the PM yet. And what business of mine is it? But I still want to know.
Then there is the offices sweepstake – placing money on who will go next/first at the start of the next year, bad taste certainly, but in the two I know of, the money won goes to a charity that was supported by the deceased. No such thing as a totally ill wind.
Here are a few of them.
And I'll leave the last word to the man who floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee.
Caro Ramsay 30th Dec 2016
PS, after writing this on Wednesday night, I then woke up on Thursday morning. To add another.