Monday, 9 June 2014

Rik Mayall

I was sad to see that Rik Mayall has died today. I found out when I was surfing Twitter on the train home after work. Rik was only a couple of years older than me and that brings mortality close but I never thought I was in the same generation as Rik - he was up there on telly being irreverent and doing things. I was a student watching him on telly. It seemed as if punk had worked it's way out of music and into another art form and 'alternative comedy' was born.

I didn't watch the Comic Strip stuff but I do remember Kevin Turvey, one of his earlier creations. And I loved 'The Young Ones' - he was the character I most identified with, annoying as he was (and I suspect I was too). I never really got into 'The New Statesman' and didn't like 'Bottom' but that's not the point. The point is that Rik did these things and somehow managed to be on mainstream channels doing ridiculous, lampooning and anarchic stuff. How on earth did he get away with it?

I think my favourite images of Rik after 'The Young Ones' are when he turned up in  'Blackadder' as Lord Flashheart, always over the top and saving the day, making Blackadder's life a dreary misery. And I saw him in 'Jonathan Creek' last year, whizzing around in a wheelchair solving the puzzle.

But I'm not going all #NameOfChoiceRIP on him. I never understand that, people just posting the name and RIP. I suspect that anyone I feel sufficiently strongly about to say 'rest in peace' would tell me to fuck off since resting in peace is the last thing they want to do. They'll want to rage rather than meekly give up. It reminds me of the song 'In My Mind' by Amanda Palmer that has the lines, 'And when they put me in the ground I'll start pounding the lid, Saying I haven't finished yet...'

In my mind Rik won't go 'oops, that's it then...' and go along quietly. He'll find a giant frying pan to bash down on someone's head, swear loudly and expect Adrian Edmondson to join in. The internet is awash with tributes but my favourite is Ade's:

"There were times when Rik and I were writing together when we almost died laughing. They were some of the most carefree stupid days I ever had, and I feel privileged to have shared them with him.

"And now he's died for real. Without me. Selfish bastard."

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