By Nick Duerden, © 2007 Q Magazine
Mourning glories with James singer Tim Booth
How have you checked out?
I nearly died when I was 23 (from a liver disease), and it felt blissful. If I get to choose, I’d like my heart to break while dancing on the cliffs at Big Sur, in California. My friends and family will all be singing in celebration. I’ll feel the straps across my heart unravel, and that which animates my body will depart as I look into the eyes of my beloved.
The last song playing in your head was..
Birdland by Patti Smith. It’s a song tailor-made for the occasion as it’s about the yearning to leave this existence.
Where did you first hear it?
The night I was told my father was dying from Parkinson’s disease, so it would make for a nice symmetry if that’s the last song I hear before I myself shuffle off.
Three other songs for your funeral playlist..
Rain by (Canadian singer-songwriter) Mary Margaret O’Hara, because there really isn’t anyone else like her; #9 Dream by John Lennon, because it’s a beautiful song; Across The Universe by The Beatles, because it’s perfection. I’m reappraising The Beatles at the moment. They are bigger than Jesus; they are our Shakespeare.
Who’s on your funeral guestlist?
Anyone willing to celebrate, and those I love and who love me. And yes, there are many.
The service will run as follows..
There will be a spirit orchestra, comprising the living and the dead who have touched me with song. The orchestra would include Mary Margaret O’Hara, Nina Simone, Angelo Badalamenti and Brian Eno. Doris Lessing will read and Robert Anton Wilson (late American philosopher) will take the piss and cast doubt on everything.
Burial or cremation?
Cremation. Arcade Fire can torch the proceedings, and my beloved and my children can scatter my ashes from a rowboat as the sun rises in the morning following the wild night.
First person you’ll call in the afterlife?
I’d call the council of religious leaders – Jesus, Muhammad, etc – and would try to get them to come back and dismantle the churches that claim to speak in their names.
One person you’ll want sent downstairs?
I don’t believe in a downstairs, but more that we will be confronted with a vision of truth that would make us laugh and cry at our own folly.
The epitath on your tombstone will read..
“See you later.” Because I probably will.