When you’re at rock bottom, teetering on the brink of ruin and/or homelessness, and on top of that, wake up with a knackered back, it’s funny where inspiration can be found.
Today I deemed that it was totally pointless trying to do anything, as no matter how hard I try to be positive, the shit just keeps splatting me in the face, so I decided to lie low, bar taking a stroll to hopefully loosen my injury.
I then got up, went to the loo and within seconds, managed to knock my last loo roll into the toilet with my elbow whilst flushing, the waters dousing it with cat litter, pee and poo.
Fuck the walk.
Clearly nothing was going to go my way today. I went back to bed and picked up my favourite read of the moment, ‘Becoming Johnny Vegas’ the memoirs of one of my favourite actor/comedians.
I love Johnny Vegas because he’s as funny as fuck but also a truly sensitive vulnerable soul, and I frequently fantasise that he’s my friend. I then read that Michael (JV’s real name) loved and hugely admired the self styled father of British Alternative Comedy, comedian, club owner and notorious prankster, a man by the name of Malcolm Hardee.
‘Hmm,’ thinks I, ‘I know that name’, and lever my wincing carcass back out of my pit, I go and Google him.
Of course! That sarf London guy with the glasses who was in ‘The Greatest Show on Legs’ where he danced a precarious routine with two other geezers and some party balloons, invariably exposing his knob and an alarmingly pendulous set of balls by the end of the set. Intrigued I wanted to know more about this man who inspired such love in my hero, so I went on Wiki and was shocked to discover that Malcolm was actually dead.
Shit! He can’t have been much older than me! What did he die of?
Lung cancer, as he was never seen without a fag in his gob?
Or did he finally get a good kicking for peeing over one of the punters (another party piece) at his comedy club?
None of these things. Malcolm Hardee, absurdly, drowned in the Thames whilst travelling 50 yards in a dingy from his floating pub ‘The Wibbly Wobbly’ to his houseboat ‘The Sea Sovereign’ whilst pissed, and when they brought up his body he was still clutching a bottle of beer.
A fitting if untimely end, it seems. But this man clearly lived his life with gusto and inspired great love and affection in his peers and family for being unapologetically and unashamedly himself.
As for his funeral, it was, according to one chap, ‘The best I’ve ever been to!’, attended by hundreds of comedy’s great and good, whom kept the banter/heckling going via some ‘bespoke’ floral tributes, propping his sailors hat and a life belt on his coffin (a bit ‘stable door’ methinks) and no doubt the chosen few, posthumously, took him down yet another peg or two at the wake.
It’s what he would have wanted.
But it was this eulogy by another great British comic Stewart Lee, paraphrasing Matthew 6 Verse 25-34 that struck the biggest chord with me.
For some reason I found it unbearably touching and came to the closest to weeping as I have since my post medication days. Partly because it was the perfect tribute, partly because this man was so loved, and partly because Malcolm was clearly the perfect example of someone who lived without fear or worry.
He quite frankly did not give a fuck, and probably drove friends and family half mad with his impulsivity, mad criminal activity (he once stole Freddie Mercury’s 40th birthday cake), practical jokes, and sheer unadulterated irresponsibility (he apparently would take unwanted bills, tax claims etc. and fill them in as being ‘deceased’) and was as free as the birds of the air, if somewhat less than fragrant as the lilies of the field.
Of course that did not stop him dying young. But would worrying about it have changed his final outcome?
Each day does indeed have enough trouble of it’s own.
I’ve finally come to realise that praying, meditating, cosmic fucking ordering et all is not going to stop the shit raining down on my head. It certainly rained down on Malcolm both metaphorically and apparently in real life one day when he deliberately steered his boat under a stream of effluent spewing out of a pipe from a liner, covering himself and all of his friends/passengers with a stinky brown soup. But I digress.
The point I’m trying to make is that if shit is in my future, it’s going to happen. I’ve just got to grow a pair of big pendulous Hardee stylee balls and be ready to face it head on with a chirpy ‘Oy, oy!’.
That said I’m never going to be one of the Malcolms of this world. It’s not in my make up. But if I try harder, get out there and make my mark, maybe I’ll be loved a least a fraction of the way that he was and still is AND have some fun along the way.
And that will be enough for me.
God surely does move in mysterious ways…. Namaste x