Did I lock the door?

17 Aug

As famous last words go, it’s a bit understated, to say the least. But apparently that’s how 37 year old British TV series Last of the Summer Wine will come to an end this summer.

I happen to know this because these days I spend a lot of time listening to Radio 4. I suppose it gets us all in the end – sooner rather than later when your local commercial radio presenters have names like Jules and Bunker the height of their witty banter is “I can’t believe it, he’s thrown my toast in the bin” (this was actually picked out and replayed as a highlight of the flagship show last week).

Anyway the subject of last words was discussed at length on a programme called Front Row this evening. The grande finale, the money shot of any popular drama worth its viewing figures, is often more of a banal murmour than a big screaming crescendo, it was claimed.

Front Row was spot on. Either it was all a dream, or it was just fabulous (I still can’t quite forgive Sex and the City for that), or the even more dismal let’s get a coffee (way to go, Friends). How disappointing. It might as well be “cancel the milk”.

Come on screenwriters – you can do so much more! We all know it’s not what you say it’s how you say it – even Oscar Wilde managed something memorable and he was talking about his wallpaper.

But then, authors and poets tend to be much better at this sort of thing, perhaps because they spend more time thinking about it.

“Let us go in,” said Emily Dickinson, “the fog is rising”.

You see? That’s a bit more like it. Dramatic, poignant, atmospheric… although I guess it did back her into a bit of a corner, on the death front. She couldn’t exactly have gone on to live another 20 years after an ending like that.

I’m currently reading the autobiography of a flamboyant london artist called Sebastian Horsley. He says he had a little farewell performance all planned after spending most of his life contemplating his own demise.

In the end he died alone, of an overdose. I wonder whether he still took that final bow. I hope he did. He strikes me as the kind of guy who knew how to make both an entrance and an exit. The creative writers of the world have a lot to learn from people like him.


3 Responses to “Did I lock the door?”

  1. almost witty August 18, 2010 at 10:30 am #

    Front Row is an incredibly fab programme – one of the things I miss about an hour-long commute is the inability to listen to podcasts on the way to/from work…

  2. zskdorset August 18, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

    It’s stealthily becoming a regular part of my week!


  1. Tweets that mention Did I lock the door? | Zsk's Blog -- Topsy.com - August 17, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Zoe Kleinman, Gilbert Harding. Gilbert Harding said: RT @zsk: And now for something completely different… famous last words (with thanks @radio4) http://bit.ly/9fbTeO. Read it. Excellent. […]

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