Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Rocky Horror Secular Funeral

Assembled mourners arrive at the crematorium. They’re easily noted by the fact that they are wearing flowery frocks or a jeans-tee shirt-jacket combo or whatever. They put out their cigarettes/joints in a furtive but reverent way when the hearse arrives. The coffin is borne into the secular space on one of those trolley things. The celebrant greets the mourners

The UnRevd Dr Evan Harris (or it might be Richard Holloway, Polly Toynbee or Crispian Hollis): Hullo! And welcome to this secular funeral and celebrrrrrrrrrration of the life of [INSERT NAME HERE] Please turn off any mobile phones and please don’t pray during this secular service. Or else.

We are here today to commemorate the life of [Dad/Mum/Uncle Bert/Whoever] in a highly individual way – not like those awful religious funerals which are all so alike. Because this life is the only one we’ve got, we’ll be celebrating all the good bits of [Dad’s/Mum’s/Uncle Bert’s/Whoever’s] life by forgetting what a cantankerous old git she/he was and presenting him/her as a mixture of Princess Di, Nelson Mandela and Oscar Wilde.

First – a reading

Reading from the First Letter of St Richard of Dawkins to the Humanists:

“Basically, if you haven’t passed on your genes, you’re a loser. Especially if you are a Christian –and they’re all ugly and stupid and not at all clever like me. My wife used to be Doctor Who’s assistant. Did you know that? Hm? Hm?”

The mourners: Amen

The celebrant: Sorry, WHAT did you say?

The mourners: Whatever.

There will now follow a piece of relevant and highly individual music that captures the essence of the deceased. It will almost certainly be Frank Sinatra singing ‘My Way’ like all the other relevant and highly individual funerals. Or it might be Celine Dion with that song from Titanic

The Celebrant: Now [INSERT NAME HERE]’s son/daughter/best chum will give us a hilarious account of the dearly departed

[Oaf in open-necked shirt ambles to the ambo, sniffs loudly and wipes nose on sleeve]

[Dad/Mum/Uncle Bert/Whoever] would have loved to have been here. But then again he/she didn’t like funerals – said they were morbid. He/she was always full of life. He/she wasn’t really religious, but was spiritual in a very real sense. Like I say he/she loved life and was a really funny person. Course he/she enjoyed his/her hobby of [going down the pub/watching Coronation Sreet/surfing the internet for pornography.-delete as appropriate] He/she always wanted to live life to the full. But now he/she’s dead. Here’s to you Dad/Mum/Uncle Bert/Whoever [raises can of super-strength lager to the coffin and takes a draught.]

The celebrant: We now commit [Dad/Mum/Uncle Bert/Whoever] to the flames in a highly personal, definitely not religious but meaningfully spiritual way. Ashes to ashes, funk to funky,…

Congregation: We know Major Tom’s a junkie!

The celebrant: In sure and certain lack of any hope that there’s anything after our 3 score and ten. [The coffin descends into the fiery pit. Here some music may be played, such as “Burn baby burn!” “Come on baby light my fire” or “Firestarter”]

The Dismissal:

Celebrant: Have a nice day, losers

Congregation: Cheers, see you mate.

The celebrant: Please move out quickly, there’s another highly individual, meaningful funeral for someone else straight after yours.

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Blogger Mac McLernon said...

Why are you assuming that the secular service you describe will be so dreadfully patriarchal and wimmin-oppressive as to say he/she??? It should be "She/he", or at the very least "S/he" !


Also, a sop to Auntie Edna, who is vaguely Christian might be in order for the final bit of music... they're bound to plump for "Colours of Day" and then everyone will get terribly embarrassed during the chorus of " light up the fire, and let the flame burn..."

You really ought to do better research for your posts, Paulinus!

6:08 PM  
Blogger marcella said...

Very funny post, Paulinus! You are sooo right!!

9:51 AM  
Anonymous Oliver said...

Trouble is all this cringing stuff is already happening in churches that are so accommodating for a fee. Funeral costings to consider are: 1) Hire a church for a nice family get together 2) Hire a vicar to give respectability to the lies he utters 3) Hire an organist to drown out any attempts at karaoki

10:18 AM  
Blogger Philip said...

I assumed it to be a parody, until an atheist friend confirmed its authenticity!


7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really must ask god about the afterlife the next time that I see him.When is he coming again?

4:39 AM  
Blogger Paulinus said...

Sooner than you think, boyo. Get praying.

11:24 PM  

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