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Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Candles in the Wind


Apparently 2016 has been a really horrid year in terms of losing celebrities, there has been a steady stream of them since David Bowie's candle went out in January, the year seems to have taken a large number of celebrities from my generation, wind extinguishing famous lifes seems to have turned to a slight draft putting them out of the game of life. Back in August, Kenny Baker the man who brought R2D2 to the silver screen, one of the most famous robots in the universe died, I had the pleasure of meeting Kenny on a couple of occasions and thought he was a lovely man, but I didn't know him. The latest celebrity loss was Carrie Fisher yesterday, as a huge Star Wars fan, the death of an iconic character is hard, it made me sad that a light went out but I'm just a fan. Carrie was a mother, a daughter and so much more, her family and friends know the loss, what am I to her?

I'm just a 'fan', she didn't know me, same as so many other people, but I'm hearing lots of can't wait to see the back of 2016 comments, and comments that 2016 has taken too many famous people, the can't wait for 2017 to arrive, in the hope that their will be less celebrity death! Why are people wishing their life away? Yes we have seen a lot of iconic people die this year but many everyday people have died as well and whether we like it or not, the grim reaper comes for us all one day.Is this huge out pouring of bugger off 2016 really about the celeb's lost, or fear that you're close to their age and maybe it will be you next?

Losing public figures isn't going to get any better in 2017 and beyond, and no I haven't turned in to Mystic Meg, its a simple fact. We live in a time when we have many more 'stars' and celebrities than our great grandparents did, they had just a handful of iconic figures. Today we all too easily put people up on a pedestal, we even have A list stars, B list stars all the way to Z list stars, the number of 'famous' people seems to be climbing exponentially, so its only logical that their demise will follow the same trend, the more 'celebrities' we have, the more deaths we'll witness.

I remember back to August 16th 1977 when Elvis Presley died, the world stopped, Elvis was my first crush, I loved his music and his movies, it shook me to the core that such a famous person could die, at 13 in my innocence I thought if you were famous you lived longer. Then one month later on September 16th Marc Bolan was tragically taken from us in a car accident, both events were on the news, the radio and in the papers. The year of 1977 also took Bing Crosby, Charlie Chaplin, actress Joan Crawford to name but a few. 1987 wasn't any kinder, that year we lost Danny Kaye, Fred Astaire, Rita Heyworth, Lee Marvin, Liberace, Patrick Troughton, Andy Warhol, Fulton Mackay and John Huston and again many more.

So was 1997 any more gentle as far as celebrity deaths went? Nope, the reaper of that year took James Stewart, Robert Mitchum, Burgess Meredith, John Denver, Princess Diana, and Michael Hutchence. 2007 wasn't any kinder either, it took Deborah Kerr, Anton Rodgers, Jane Wyman, John Inman, Luciano Pavarotti, Marcel Marceau, Mike Reid and Ike Turner. All those people if they weren't iconic to you, they were iconic to your parents or grandparents.

If you look at the IMDB index for celebrity deaths 1967 it lists 1,190 celebrity deaths and if you're a 50 something like me you'll remember some of those celebrities who died that year like Jayne Mansfield, Vivien Leigh, Spencer Tracy, Basil Rathbone, Brian Epstein, Ann Sheridan, and Claude Rains, back in the days of 3 TV channels, no internet and not so many movies and TV shows being made we found ourselves watching the stars of our Grandparents and parents eras, like Gone with the Wind and Sherlock Holmes there weren't as many celebrities so when a star was eclipsed it was like a supernova, now its a damp squib, because before you've come to grips with their loss, the public are demanding to know who will be next?

We even have websites dedicating to predicting who will die in the year, check out the Deathlist, some people must be so proud of the fact that they cleverly predicted the death of Zsa Zsa Gabor, Muhammad Ali and Nancy Reagan, some people are even placing bets on which celebrity will die next, get a life people! As an aside the Deathlist rolls over to the following year until the famous person on the list dies and then they do a little post celebrating the fact that they got it right, eventually we all die, its not a thing to be triumphant about! ::facepalm::

In 1977 there were 1,331 celebrity deaths; 1987 = 1,704; 1997 = 2,076; 2007 = 3,283; 2016 so far 3,641. Now keep in mind that I've used IMDB and they list only people in the fields of movie, TV and music, so famous sports people and professionals like politicians aren't included. But thus far the decade of 2016 is 358 up on 2007 and there had been 1,207 more celebrity deaths in 2007 than in 1997 so this year hasn't been as bad as we think.

The point of this ramble? We live in a time when we have more celebrities than we did 50 years ago, reality TV stars and You-Tubers are quickly given celebrity status in our frenzy to escape our own lives that we perceive to be mundane and live vicariously through our celebrities. Heck even I've been stopped and asked for my autograph in a supermarket because I've been on Robot Wars, I don't consider myself a celebrity, but to a fan of the show I apparently am.

The more celebrities we have, and the more people are on the planet, coupled with having access to instant information about them, then 2017 onwards isn't going to go light on famous people popping their clogs, their will be more of them. So can we all get a collective grip and can we see less of the 'not cold yet, lets be the first to report they've died' kind of twitter tweets and facebook posts, to the extent that celebs are being reported as having died when they haven't. Lets stop subscribing to the death wish list that the media is pumping so it has something to report, its rather unnerving!

People die all the time, its a fact of life, and for every celebrity that has died, hundreds of everyday people have died whose name is known only by their family, and some don't even have that! A celebrity is a person just like you and me, in the rush to take selfie's with a star in the background, see photos of who they're dating, what they're eating etc we lose sight of that. We forget that somewhere and to someone they are just a person; they have/had parents, loved ones, pets and do mundane and ordinary things, their loss when they are gone though mourned by the public is no different than the loss felt by Eric the postman's family when he died, its a loss people and a bloody painful one whoever you are.

We need perspective and to stop dwelling on lives that stopped and look at those that soared in 2016, look at the positive things that happened in the world, outside the bubble of social media and the news empires pushing negative news and gloom and doom at us. Amazing things have been happening in the world, those same amazing things will continue in 2017 and will become more obvious if we stop looking for the doom and gloom and learn to look for the positive stuff that happens in the world. There will be new actors, new musicians, new sports stars, its the cycle of life that stops things becoming stale and allows for new talent and fresh approaches and ideas.

If 2016 has taught me anything its that life is nothing to be taken for granted, we should learn to cherish people whilst they are there, tell them what they mean to you, don't leave it unsaid because you think they know what you feel. Sometimes they don't, we're not all mind readers. Love is important, its the kind of love that we hold most sacred that defines us, for example, I love the music of Rush, I love chocolate but those forms of love pale in to insignificance compared to the love I have for Simon or my Dad. I will be sad when the members of Rush shuffle of this mortal coil, and if the world ran out of chocolate I may feel a bit bad for a while. But when I lose those people that I really love, that mean the world to me that's something to mourn. Let's put more love out in the world people, the planet and people need it!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Debs well said. We have to make the most of the time we have. Things can change so quickly. I hope you have a wonderful new year. We have our daughter's wedding to look forward and all the prep that is going into it. Take care. Hugs Jackie

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for your comments on my cards and posts, they are very much appreciated, I'll get back to you as soon as I can if a reply is required. Hugs - Debs x