Friday, August 29, 2008

Ain't it grand to be bloomin' well dead?

The death of Dave Freeman, co-creator of the 100 Things To Do Before You Die sub-genre of macho, narcissistic, consumerist one-upmanship has provoked a degree of chin-stroking in the media, partly because he was good enough to croak in August, but also thanks to the fact that Freeman only managed to tick about half of his self-selected boxes before he embarked on his final awfully big adventure

I've never really had such a list, but I've been lucky enough to translate a few childhood that-looks-funs (ridden an elephant, been on Mastermind, visited Niagara Falls and the Pyramids) to reality. Meanwhile others will forever remain unfulfilled: unless bubonic plague tears a swathe through the ranks of British Equity, I don't reckon I'm ever going to be the next Dr Who.

But if we're really in pub boast mode (and that's what Freeman's big idea was, at heart), I suppose I ought to be bragging about the things I've done that no-one will ever do again: I saw Bill Hicks and Bo Diddley and Ian Dury in the flesh; I've been told off by a Yugoslavian policeman; and I was also privileged to attend one of the last West End performances of Which Witch, the Norwegian opera-musical that had the rare distinction of extending its run to accommodate the johnny-come-latelies who wanted to see if it was as eye-poppingly dire as everyone was saying. (It was, and then some).

So, over to you. Dreams fulfilled, frustrated, put on hold until retirement; and the things you know you'll never do. Line on the left, one cross each...


garfer said...

I once met Eric Sykes.

Bastard was as deaf as a post.

I'll never give Uma Thurman one, mores the pity.

Murph said...

I overtook Steve Redgrave on London Bridge in the 2001 London Marathon.
(I was less in demand for interviews en-route)

The Welsh are particularly competetive in this box ticking area. "100 things to do before you, Dai".

patroclus said...

I like the fact that I saw Nirvana play live not only while Kurt Cobain was still with us, but also 'before they were famous'. I don't remember anything about it, though.

I used to want to do the Paris-Dakar rally, but now I'd settle for having an article published in Wired.

Geoff said...

At the age of 37 I realised I'd never ride through Paris in a sports car with the warm wind in my hair.

I met Eric Sykes, too. Then 35 years later saw him onstage.

I saw Tommy Cooper and I'll hopefully never see him again.

I'm struggling here. I suppose I'd like to see Ennio Morricone.

Annie said...

You SHOULD be Doctor Who. Clearly.

Having cocktails in the very posh private bar right at the top of the Gherkin while the sun was setting and you could see for miles all over London was pretty cool. Also flying on Concorde (though I was too small to appreciate it). And having dinner in the rotating restaurant which used to be at the top of the Post Office (now BT) Tower. I thought it would go faster somehow, but I guess everybody's food would be flying off their plates.

I'd quite like to drive along the Pacific Coast Highway with the warm wind in my hair. Or, you know, just drive.

And have a solo exhibition at the Photographer's Gallery. Ha...

Valerie said...

Man, I keep forgetting that Ian Dury's dead.

I wanted to cut an album for a record label before I turned 20. I didn't, but I did record one in my living room before I turned 35.

I wanted to publish a novel before I turned 30. I didn't, but I did write one before I turned 40.

I wanted to buy a house before I turned 40. Oh, I did that.

(My main trick in the last 20 years is to appreciate what I HAVE done, rather than what I missed...)

I kill a lot of musicians, e.g. Ray Charles, by considering, finally, attending one of their shows and then changing my mind. Most recently, I killed John Stewart ("Lost Her in the Sun").

My list of things to do before I die is impossibly long. This is my way of tempting fate to make me immortal. Think it will work?

Valerie said...

Oh, and I can vouch for the fact that driving along Pacific Coast Highway in a convertible rocks the Casbah. Come out and visit, Annie!

Tim Footman said...

Just think, maybe in a parallel universe, Uma Thurman is moping over the fact that she'll never get to do Garfer.

Murph: I had a similar thing on the Nike 10K in 2002. But it was Chris Moyles. And he passed me.

I'd love to see Nirvana after Cobain died, Patroclus. It would add new meaning to 'drum & bass'. Just remembered, I did see the Manics with Richey. Which is close, in my book at least.

What let you down, Geoff? The car? Paris? Your hair? Your warm wind?

No, Annie, I'm over it now. I'd settle for being a moderately memorable villain. Maybe a Zygon.

But Valerie, if I started appreciating what I *have* done, where would I dredge up the bitterness and disappointment that fuels my blog?

Annie said...

Ah, Valerie. One day...