If it seems like celebrities have been dropping off in unusually high numbers lately, there’s a good explanation for that. It’s because they are. According to the BBC – five obituaries were broadcast in the first quarter of 2012. This year the number skyrocketed to 24 – and that was before Prince. Writing celebrity obituaries is a growth industry it seems. (Sadly the only growth area in journalism).
Of course this trend has been analysed to (ahem) death. My Facebook feed is overflowing with pieces from New Scientist, IFLS (I F*$king Love Science) and other turbo nerd publications elucidating the phenomena.
According to the boffins, the celebrity death spree is down to two factors. 1) A timing issue – many of departed rose to prominence during the 70s and 80s and are getting old. Old people have a higher propensity to die than the general population. 2) Its a numbers game – for better or worse (I’d say worse) there are more celebrities nowadays. Back in the 1960s you had Elvis, the Beatles, the Stones and a hand full of movie stars. Fast forward to 2016 and just about any turkey with a webcam can become a global super star. It logically follows that in a growing celebrity population, more of them will be available to cark at any given time.
What does this mean for YOU? Perhaps you’re life will become a litany of despair as more and more of your favorite crumpets shuffle off in a conga line of doom. You’ll dread switching your phone on in the morning for fear that yet another of your idols has slipped away depriving you of both eye candy and inspiration.
Or perhaps (and I think this more likely) ‘celebrity death fatigue’ will become a thing. Personally I would feel more bereaved by the passing of Prince if it had not been for the double whammy of David Bowie and Alan Rickman back in January. That was a hard month for us all and it depleted me of most of the hoots I had to give. The sad news about Prince was greeted merely with a loud ‘Oh Shit!’ and a subsequent side eye from my husband for swearing.
For my husband who was not a huge Prince fan (he likes Coldplay which proves that he saved all of his good taste for choosing a wife) the event was a reminder of our own mortality. ‘Its a good thing we’re not getting close to that age’ he said ironically. I pointed out that there was a big lifestyle gap between ourselves and Prince to which he responded ‘not in my imagination.’ Oh dear. My husband is a man of many talents – none of them musical. His name is David and he’s not funky. (To be fair I doubt Prince could fix anyone’s computer problems).
We can safely conclude that Dadabs wasn’t greatly affected but I kinda was and now I’m going to to tell you how I feel…
My High School girl posse was introduced to Bowie’s more avant garde works by a shady group of boys from a neighboring school. That lot listed their hobbies as listening to Bowie man, smoking weed man and railing aimlessly against our soulless capitalist society man. Those dudes faded out of my life and into their own drug haze shortly after but my appreciation of Bowie continued to grow. It peaked in middle age when I starting mixing Bowie and NZ pinot noir to self medicate when world events became to heavy. The prospect of a ‘Star man waiting in the sky’ was a comforting one.
As this is the Mumabs blog respect must be paid to Bowie’s divine hawtness. David Bowie was one outrageously smokin’ hawt individual. That magnificent bone structure, the otherworldly mismatched eyes, the graceful line of his slender body. Angelically beautiful yet downright dirty. (Phew is it getting hawt in here or is menopause kicking in?).
When Facebook heralded the news of his passing, it was a shock. Afterall he’d just completed a comeback album and was looking fiercely fine for a man nearing 70.
I doubt there’ll be another Bowie – he was an innovator in some many ways and he informed much of the post punk, new wave and British indie music I was drawn to back in the day. Ashes to ashes…funk to funky. Vale Bowie..
So the gaping Bowie shaped hole in my heart was still weeping when a few days later THWACK! comes the news of Alan Rickman’s passing. “Oh No! I really liked him’, I told my husband. What I did not tell my husband and what the avalanche of tributes and obituaries did not say was ‘Damn that man was sexy!’
Yes someone has to say it and that someone is the Mumabs. Alan Rickman was so freakin’ sexy! Even playing a penis-less angel in the 1999 film Dogma he was sex on legs. (Something I fear GoT actor Alfie Allen will not achieve for Theon Greyjoy ) That film also featured Ben Affleck and Matt Damon – Alan blew those light weights away.
My fandom began with Die Hard. The movie was on the TV one evening. I wasn’t really watching but I overheard that voice pontificating at Bruce Willis. If anyone deserves to cop a good monologue its Bruce Willis. My ears pricked up. That voice was the richest, creamiest, sexiest I had ever heard. It was aural sex. Of course I had to check out the visuals and I was not disappointed. Soon I was rooting (in a manner of speaking) for the bad guy Hans Gruber.
Alan Rickman’s darn freaking sex appeal is the key takeaway of Die Hard, the entire Harry Potter franchise, Sense and Sensibility, Truly Madly Deeply et al (Galaxy Quest not so much). The world is orders of magnitude less crumpety for his departure.
As anyone who’d experienced him in concert would attest, Prince had super powers. I had that privilege during the 1992 Diamonds and Pearls tour. During one number his Royal Purpleness sat down at his grand piano, guitar strapped to his back and began banging out some magic. Then he leaped atop his piano and started up an intense guitar solo. He jumped again, guitar firmly in hand, did a somersault, landed in the splits and continued playing.
In my view that’s impressive. Only a handful of people of people possess that combination of musical genius and athleticism. Lenny Kravitz (the next artist I saw live) certainly didn’t – playing his entire gig obviously stoned as a crow.
Intensely private, it was difficult to gauge what the real Prince was like or whether he actually owned a pair of tracksuit pants. But its irrelevant really. Just as the girl in the raspberry beret knew how to give a kiss Prince knew how to write a song. I’d go as far as saying he was the best song writer of our generation.
I’m sure most people’s desert island playlist includes something from Prince’s expansive catalogue. My all time favorite is Little Red Corvette – ‘honey you’ve got to slow down. Honey I said the little red corvette, cause if you don’t you’re gonna run your body right to the ground.
If only he’d taken his own advice.
Who do you miss the most? Any bets on who’s leaving the building next? My money’s on George Michael.