Saturday 22 October 2011

grief.com

I suppose it could be either my plain incorrect opinion or discomfort with certain areas of media/social media but the funeral of Betty Driver was given the kind of treatment that just seemed a bit of media event. I didn’t know Betty Driver, but the fact that I know nothing about her suggests that she wasn’t the kind of person to want to be in the papers for no reason; I am not suggesting there being a big funeral and people who didn’t know her attending – attending because of ‘knowing’ her through her character in Coronation Street – is wrong. There is nothing wrong with that and I am sure anyone – public or private – in nature would be flattered by large numbers of people being saddened by their life ending. But there are times when I think, is this what Twitter is for?

There were news people/companies tweeting pictures of Coronation Street cast members arriving; They were tweeting the order of service; a cast member tweeted what they were wearing as in ‘I’m wearing a YSL suit’ like someone on the red carpet at The Oscars; There was a screen outside the church so that the public could join in with the service which led to crowds joining the crowds BECAUSE it was an event rather than because there was any respect to the woman herself.

I don’t mean that anything in the previous paragraph was done with any malice or even that it was in bad taste. It just seemed a bit weird. I know she had been in a massively popular serial drama for a long time but it just seemed a bit odd. I guess that Twitter/Facebook etc are increasingly integral to the way a lot of people communicate and that it is inevitable that this will lead to all aspects of life/society being portrayed across them. It just seemed a bit odd to see the funeral of someone who was from a very different generation given the treatment of modern day mechanisms.

Ultimately there is no reason why death/grief/mourning should be judged in whatever format it takes: and I am not doing that. I am not judging anyone or anything. Merely noting that the mediaification (almost certainly not a word) of this funeral seemed a bit odd for me and that maybe some elements of it were not fitting and that people stood around with their buggies clearly looking on because people were looking at something and there was a big screen there was not how I would have imagined the funeral of someone who had no real public profile, other than the obvious, until her sad passing and that maybe it seemed to…I don’t have a verb here. All the verbs that I thought suggested something more sinister than I wanted to say. I just mean the funeral didn’t quite fit in with the life. Or something. What’s that?? There is someone at my door..Ihave to go..no, I’m not just making excuses because I’m struggling to get my point across…they are really banging hard now…got to go and get that.

More bile*

We went to the Royal Exchange to see a great play this afternoon: it was part of A Play, A Pie and a Pint¹. Two phones went off during the play. The woman next to me. And the woman next to her (this isn’t me confirming a sex change, I meant to the side of her the other way) about 15 minutes after her friends. It’s not hard to switch your phone to silent? Why are people so careless at times. Not for one moment do I think that either woman thought ‘fuck it, I’m leaving my phone on – if it goes off it goes off’. But that doesn’t make it alright does it? You are reminded to switch your phone off on your way in/at the start of communal gatherings of shared entertainment.

I know everyone makes mistakes. But making a mistake of not sorting your phone out when you are asked at least once to remember to do it is a bit bad. It should just be common sense anyway. I would be more forgiving but both of them made it worse by taking ages to get to the phones in their bags. And by opening the bags the ringing got a lot louder. The second woman, after stopping the ringing – that had progressed from ringing to a weird electric voice, then sent a text message – with associated screen lighting up and tapping noises. I am sure it didn’t bother many people in the room but it was in my peripheral vision (the screen – I don’t see noise, but I could HEAR the noise). I would have been too mortified to extend my behaviour to anything which could be seem insensitive to fellow audience members. Let alone to the actors doing their fucking work a few feet away.

It certainly didn’t overshadow a really good and enjoyable play. It was just annoying and not hard to avoid.

*It sounds like mobile – you see? And being angry about something is associated with bile.

¹It was really rather good, Dig (the pley) and you get a pint and pie. Why not treat yourself? It’s on until the 5th of November.

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