Leaving is easy, packing for the trip is much harder

Kelner's View

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The Independent Online

We are all dying, just at different speeds. And there are those who are so prepared for an encounter with their maker that they are able to devote time and energy to plan their precise method of departure.

Such was Jimmy Savile, who was buried in his favourite seaside resort of Scarborough this week according to detailed instructions that he'd left behind, from the gold coffin to the route of the hearse to the hymns and readings at the cathedral.

It was flamboyant and populist, in strict keeping with the man himself, and I was pleased to see that there to bid him farewell – along with the thousands who lined the route – were some of the old practitioners of the art of disc jockeying. These are men for whom no cliche will remain unturned. (I know. I did it on purpose!) Like Mike Read. Or indeed Andy Peebles, who concluded that Jimmy was "a master of his craft. We shall never see his like again". Peebles also said that Sir James (as I believe he liked to be called) "annihilated the English language".

Given that Peebles, giving some traffic advice on Radio 1, once talked of "that great highway we know as Motorway One", this was to my mind something of a cheek. But I am sure I'm not the only one who, seeing the footage of the Savile interment, thought about how we might like to say goodbye.

I think I might forego the gold coffin (a bit vulgar, apparently) and I'm sure we'll need to stop the traffic, but I would have no quarrel with Jimmy's choice of "Jerusalem" (not exactly original, I concede, but it has a particular resonance for those of us born in the north).

A friend of mine wanted to hire a coach load of glamour models and have them positioned sobbing in the front few pews. And another mate wanted his coffin to disappear to the theme tune of Match of the Day.

I don't really know when we should start thinking about such things. Perhaps death should be a lifetime preoccupation. Every time we hear some suitable poetry or prose, or a piece of music we particularly like, we should make a note of it. And as most of us never get the chance to appear on Desert Island Discs, maybe we should treat our funeral with a similar mindset.

Oh, and don't forget you're allowed to take a luxury with you: I'm afraid I can't help bringing to mind that classic episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm when one of the characters is buried with his favourite golf club.

But, seeing as we're not going to be around to witness the event, do we really need to inflict our predilections, and our dubious musical taste on friends and family? I thought that's what birthday parties were for.

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