A few years ago, I used to run a Celebrity Dead Pool, a complete pain-in-the-arse of a website in which over 200 punters sailed as close to the wind of bad taste as humanly possible, hoping that their list of ten famous people would hurry up and die.
Everybody scored points when Princess Margaret died, and I'm glad I'd closed the place down by the time the of the Pope's unfortunate demise at the hands of a shadowy group of Ninja Nuns.
I remember standing in a chip shop on the Portland Road (since changed hands, I wouldn't bother now) one Saturday evening when programmes were interrupted by the National Anthem and the announcement of the Queen Mother's death. My only thought was of the amount of work I'd have to do on the website that night, sorting out who'd won The Queen Mother Champion Hurdle. The selfish old moo.
I was particularly proud of my gushing obituaries:
Jan 12th 2003: Maurice Gibb: World famous member of the Bee Gees singing group, sadly taken from us following a heart attack during emergency surgery. "How deep is your love?" they sang. About six foot deep.
It's been a slow start to the year for celebrity deaths. Perhaps the death of dear old Ronnie Barker has bucked up a few ideas in the elderly celebrity camp, and shocked the old devils into staying alive; but perhaps the untimely demise of Sheikh Maktoum recently is just the start of something big.
The received wisdom is that Fidel Castro is the bookies' favourite this year, although Saddam Hussein (expected to be swinging from a rope just before the US mid-term elections) is coming up on the rails.
Who, then, are you rooting for this year, dear reader? Let's make this competitive. I'll print off the comments for today's post - prize for the first corpse. One entry per poster, please. And I've got first dibs on notorious pie-smuggler Ariel Sharon*.
* I've published this last thing Wednesday evening. All I can say is that he'd better not cark it overnight. That'll show me up as a right old sick bastard. As usual.
And a Thursday lottery-o
Go on, make me do some work tonight.
I have six completed Friday Scary Stories and a further 25 in production. In lieu of a vote-o, simply think of a number between 1 and 31, and by a complex system of bistromathics, I shall spend a frenzied evening writing said tale for publication on Friday. What could possibly go wrong?
A few titles picked at random from the stuff-pile include, for your titillation:
* Meld - "Don't worry, I've never seen a grown man naked either." But then, even in her lightly-oiled state, she was a nun.
* Stiffy - In a previous life, he decided, he had been David Bowie. God forbid if he should ever meet himself.
* Nose - "Hey! Anyone like The Carpenters?" Gay night at the Army Barracks was one tough gig.
* Hairy palms, again - She was an excellent musician. Also, she had passed Grade 8 in the Pink Oboe.
Number-o! Dead person suggest-o! O!