Monday, June 09, 2014

Rik Mayall - my teen idol - how can he be dead when we still have his poems?

This house will become a shrine, and punks and skins and rastas will all gather round and hold their hands in sorrow for their fallen leader. And all the grown-ups will say, "But why are the kids crying?" And the kids will say, "Haven't you heard? Rick is dead! The People's Poet is dead!" And then one particularly sensitive and articulate teenager will say, "Other kids, do you understand nothing? How can Rick be dead when we still have his poems?" And then another kid will say...
If you're of a certain age you can recite whole chunks of the Young Ones off by heart. Certain conversational triggers owe a debt to that incredible cult TV series. Only this week a mate said on Twitter he was outraged enough to want to write to the lead singer of Echo and the Bunnymen.

I am genuinely shocked and upset to hear that Rik Mayall has died at the stupidly young age of 56.

They say you should never meet your heroes, but I've never had any truck with that. When Rik Mayall did a support gig for the Miners' Strike at Lancaster Sugarhouse in late 1984, I reckon, I got to hang out with him and Ben Elton afterwards. As well as being brilliantly funny, he was also hugely generous and painfully shy. He chucked a ton of money in the bucket for the Blyth NUM lads after the gig, he signed autographs and posed for photos - as you can see - but he was totally unlike his character.

Let the tributes begin. We have lost a national treasure here. 

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