Wooda #6: Death Is A Black Slotted Spoon

Sun’s out today & spring is definitely in the scurrying step of Wooda’s hilarious gossiping chickens. They are like a crowd of autograph hunters; Gary seems to be the main focus of their admiration. He certainly knows how to sing their tune.

Join The Dots
Nyman Score: 4/10

On the subject of tunes, yesterday I spent an hour or so hammering away at the upright piano trying to iron out a few melodic notions, which I’m glad to say are coming together, even though they smell a little of Michael Nyman, which in my book is not a good thing. I have always thought he’s over rated & certainly if an unschooled pianist like me can get quite close to his sound & technique then … either he’s a bit rubbish or I am a genius. The former seems more likely. I’ll admit that I can’t help but be something of an iconoclast. I respect the intellectual rigour behind structuralist experiments in music but, in the end, it lacks a sense of humour. Or rather, if humour is present, it’s the kind of  ‘in joking’ that prompts individuals in concert audiences to laugh aloud in order to show that ‘they get it’. This is excruciating & unforgivable behaviour – such people should be ejected from the auditorium & sent off to learn something grounding, like tap dancing. (You know who you are).

William Blake's 'Death's Door'
Blake's 'Death's Door'

Anyway, this fine & sunny morning I’m here to share with you my thoughts about Death. It’s an important subject & one that’s been, unsurprisingly, uppermost in my mind since I’ve been working on this film about my deceased Grandpa Eric. I’ve been going through some pretty dark times in my completely silent bedroom. I’ve not been scared, more awestruck. It feels as if Death has been lurking around a bit (hence my haiku triplet for Jade Goody). For many years I’ve had a kind of ‘standard’ dream in which I awake suddenly, pulling myself away from Death’s door – these feel like ‘near Death’ experiences but are probably more to do with snoring or having had a curry that night. The main thing with these experiences though is that I’m pulling myself back from some kind of brink. The difference now is that somewhere deep within my dreaming I’ve made a conscious decision to ‘take on’ the experience – you know, come on then Death, do your worst, let’s see what really happens.

Like This, But In Black
Like This, But In Black

Over the ages there have been wise sages & voyagers into the unknown. I can safely say that my name may now be added to those brave few who challenged Death to answer the question: Death, what are you? I got my answer the night before last – Death is a black slotted spoon.

Surely anyone can accept that? Fear mortality no more, all it amounts to is a kitchen utensil! Ok, so my dream also taught me that one needs ultimately to go through the slotted spoon, but I’ll figure that out when the time comes & I’ll let you know if I work it out before the alloted time. (Alloted? Slotted?).

Death Makes Noodles of Us All.

If the Wooda residency has led me to accept my own eventual & inevitable demise, then that’s worth it alone, isn’t it?

Next: Tarkovsky vs You’ve Been Framed!

Wooda #6: Death Is A Black Slotted Spoon

5 thoughts on “Wooda #6: Death Is A Black Slotted Spoon

  1. On the sense of fleetingness of life, I have always enjoyed the following image, courtesy of the Venerable Bede (and my very bad memory):

    ‘A storm is raging outside and a sparrow flies into a warm, well lit hall. The time it takes for the bird to fly through the hall and out again into the dark storm is like the span of human life – a brief illuminated moment.’

    The original Latin is more poetic, as was the writer.

  2. Matt Hulse says:

    Thank you Max, I didn’t know this song. It’s really quite menacing, particularly because I have the FEAR of most things dairy, cheesecake being, as far as I am concerned, the work of the Devil and his legion of … ladles. I have sourced a picture of some good cream cheese for you HERE

  3. Do you know the song Aiken Drum?
    It goes someting like –
    and he played upon a ladle, a ladle, a ladle
    and he played upon a ladle and his name was Aiken Drum
    and his boots were made of good cream cheese, good cream cheese, good cream cheese
    and his boots were made of good cream cheese and his name was Aiken Drum…..
    So now we know, Aiken Drum is none other than the grim reaper himself.
    (in the spirit of this blog I feel I should now insert a picture of some good cream cheese here —–)

  4. Dear Matt,
    Sorry to hear you’ve been having dark times, perhaps you need visitors. But not Death just yet, I hope.

    If death is a black slotted spoon, I feel I should give you a taste of the last act from from Peer Gynt – one of the oddest plays ever written. You have canonical antecedence.



    THE BUTTON-MOULDER Well met, old gaffer!

    PEER Good evening, friend.

    THE BUTTON-MOULDER The man’s in a hurry. Why, where is he going?

    PEER To a grave-feast.

    THE BUTTON-MOULDER Indeed? My sight’s not very good;- excuse me,-your name doesn’t chance to be Peer?

    PEER Peer Gynt, as the saying is.

    THE BUTTON-MOULDER That I call luck! It’s precisely Peer Gynt I am sent for to-night.

    PEER You’re sent for? What do you want?

    THE BUTTON-MOULDER Why, see here; I’m a button-moulder. You’re to go into my ladle.

    PEER And what to do there?

    THE BUTTON-MOULDER To be melted up.

    PEER To be melted?

    THE BUTTON-MOULDER Here it is, empty and scoured. Your grave is dug ready, your coffin bespoke. The worms in your body will live at their ease;- but I have orders, without delay, on Master’s behalf to fetch in your soul.

    PEER It can’t be! Like this, without any warning-!

    THE BUTTON-MOULDER It’s an old tradition at burials and births to appoint in secret the day of the feast, with no warning at all to the guest of honour.

    PEER Ay, ay, that’s true. All my brain’s awhirl. You are-?

    THE BUTTON-MOULDER Why, I told you-a button-moulder.

    PEER I see! A pet child has many nicknames. So that’s it, Peer; it is there you’re to harbour! But these, my good man, are most unfair proceedings! I’m sure I deserve better treatment than this;- I’m not nearly so bad as perhaps you think,- I’ve done a good deal of good in the world;- at worst you may call me a sort of a bungler,- but certainly not an exceptional sinner.

    THE BUTTON-MOULDER Why that is precisely the rub, my man; you’re no sinner at all in the higher sense; that’s why you’re excused all the torture-pangs, and land, like others, in the casting-ladle.

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