Thursday, 14 January 2016
It seems we're having another one of those spates of deaths recently, where seemingly out of the blue people we've grown up admiring simply aren't there any more. Not so long ago it was Lemmy, then the other day David Bowie. Today it's Alan Rickman. Some of these people seem so ingrained in the fabric of our realities that for them to no longer be around just doesn't seem to fit. Every now and then I wake up and wonder what the next Discworld novel will be, before my brain catches up and reminds me that there won't be one. I'm sure part of some people still wonders what Hendrix is working on or expects a new Bruce Lee movie. One day, I'll probably have to wrap my head around the idea that there's no more Iron Maiden, but not yet, fortunately.
Where am I going with this? Well, it seems to me that for a lot of people, they don't so much die once, as twice. The first one, the one people don't really notice or talk about, is the one where they stop being them. They retire, and lose purpose- they stop being Bill the Publican and become just Bill. That's the one you can do something about, and it's the one a lot of the greats, like Lemmy, Bowie, Freddie Mercury, and many others fought off successfully. Right up to the end, they were doing what it was that they did that made them them, even if in some cases it brought the second death, the one no-one can avoid, that much sooner.
There's a sting in this tail, of course. If you've read "The Shepherd's Crown", the last Pratchett, you'll know Terry had many other books still waiting to be written, which now we will never get to read. There might be something to be said for an artist drawing a line under a career and saying there, it's done, I've finished. I know plenty of people hoping a certain Mr Martin manages to draw that particular line before the Reaper taps him on the shoulder. Personally, I'm just grateful that these legends managed to pack so much in to the time they had. I hope they had fun doing it.
I think I might watch Galaxy Quest tonight.