Wednesday, February 6, 2013
The discovery of King Richard III’s remains in a Leicester car park prompts me to wonder where (and how) each of us might be found in the future when time has had its wicked way with our material bits.
As a resident of the 21st century, I’m pretty sure my eventual remains will take the form of ashes or bones. It’s then up to the residents of the future to decide whether to snort my miserable ass through a narwhal’s weirdy pipe, cave my head in by accident with an archaeologist’s mattock (á la Leicester Uni Woman What Dug Up Dick Three) or distil the essence of my living brain — as Dennis Potter imagined so brilliantly for Albert Finney’s Daniel Feeld character in his paired 90s TV dramas, Karaoke and Cold Lazarus.
I flatter myself here, of course. If I end up like most bodies in most cemeteries and crematoriums, in a hundred years time it will be fortunate indeed if my rotted/withered bits and bobs are visited by so much as a curious tramp or squirrel — and even then, said visitation might take the form merely of a urine parabola.
King Richard III’s greatest stunt was to have gone missing from somewhere no one can pinpoint accurately on a map. Whirl Towers overlooks the Bosworth battlefield where the deformed monarch got deformed to death — at least, it does if I stand on tiptoes wearing size 200 shoes. Academics have argued for centuries about precisely where the Battle of Bosworth took place, and whenever I’ve dropped in on the presumed site’s visitor centre (whose café boasts a range of excellent teas which you can sup while listening to piped screams of Waaaaugh! Urgggh! and Yaaaargh!), the whole place has seemed to relocate itself to a different set of fields every time, almost as if it’s uncertain of precisely where the last Plantagenet King of England did or didn’t fall. That the miserable fucking Tudors then flung Richard’s corpse over the back of a horse and hot-footed it to the City of the Gok Foretold only adds insult to injury.
If Richard III has taught us anything (in addition to “steer well clear of Bosworth, wherever the hell that may be”) it’s that when it comes to your final curtain moment, it may be wise to see if you can wander a few steps from the metaphorical arras, if only to make things interesting for future generations.
How would you like to be to be discovered — and by whom?
[I had planned to end this post with a few enticing photographs of myself, posing avec beaucoup de la gaye roi malignement style in my Whirl socks at the gates of the now world-famous council car park, but I’m afraid I was waylaid by a flock of Chinese nuns who’d flown over to lick Gary Lineker as part of some bizarre Catholic pilgrimage ritual so you’ll have to make do with a shot of the war memorial in Leicester’s Victoria Park, taken last month in the snow...]