V is for Victoria Wood as Seen by Me

3600

I felt genuinely upset by the death of Victoria Wood last week. Other recent celebrity deaths, such as David Bowie or Alan Rickman, have also saddened me but Victoria’s shocked me. I think it’s because of how young she was and that she was regularly in my living room (via the TV, sadly not actually sitting on my sofa – or settee, as she would probably have said) growing up and so I felt like I knew her. Or at least I connected with her humour, her intelligence and her on-screen personality – and the fact that she wasn’t a skinny minny. I probably knew her better, or saw more of her, than many of my distant relatives, so when she died, it almost felt like a member of my extended family dying.

When someone we know, be it in person or a celebrity, dies, not only do we grieve for them, it reminds us of our own mortality. It makes us question our lives: ‘What am I doing? Have I achieved everything I want to? Or am I wasting my time?’

This really hit me when Prince also died last week. I wasn’t a huge Prince fan, although I liked all his 80s music, but I adored 1999. It was a huge song at parties when I was a teenager, when we’d scream out the lyrics, thinking how far away 1999 was and how successful and happy we’d be then. And now 1999 is 17 years in the past and life is moving so quickly and where does all the time go and WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!! (Sorry, yesterday’s post is still with me…)  I confess to shedding a little tear when 1999 came on the radio the day after Prince’s death.

We’ve gone through a boom time in the last twenty or thirty years, when TV, movies and music (and internet) have exploded, resulting in a lot more celebrities than in our parents’ or grandparents’ eras. But as we get older, we don’t tend to follow young music or know the names of young actors or Youtubers, so our body of celebrities that we know and love will keep getting smaller and smaller. And our outpouring of grief will probably continue to grow larger and larger as we feel the need to share our grief with others on social media.

For many people, this sharing of grief can help them deal with their own feelings; they want to feel that others are going through the same thing. Personally, I don’t need to read what other celebrities have said in 140 characters or less to know how I feel about someone’s death. In fact, it does sometimes feel like a race for celebs to get their vacuous and repetitive, ‘Wow, what a legend. The world is a poorer place today!’ tweets out there as quickly as possible for fear that the Daily Mail will run an article on how unfeeling they are.

360544_770_preview

Anyway, less of lesser celebs – back to Victoria.

Her clever and sublime way with words was easily on a par with Alan Bennett, beautifully observed and down to earth. I probably quote her at least once a month – I just have to hear the words Grouting, Woman’s Weekly or Hostess Trolley to burst into song, and I can’t say the name Kimberley unless it’s in a strong Northern accent. (I also do a pretty good Mrs Overall impersonation when drunk, which is improving with each passing year…) My husband still won’t eat prawns, thanks to Victoria, “Don’t have the prawns, they hang around sewage outlet pipes treading water with their mouths open.”

Quotes and songs have been all over the internet but here are some of my picks:

“I once went to one of those parties where everyone throws their car keys into the middle of the room. I don’t know who got my moped, but I drove that Peugeot for years.”

“People think I hate sex. I don’t. I just don’t like things that stop you seeing the television properly.”

“Jogging is for people who aren’t intelligent enough to watch television.”

“All my friends started getting boyfriends, but I didn’t want a boyfriend, I wanted a thirteen-colour biro.

She wrote some fabulous characters, such as Kitty, played by Patricia Routledge. Northern and proud of it, she speaks as she finds: “My three rules for a long life are regular exercise, hobbies and a complete avoidance of midget gems. I’m not one for dance classes, feeling if God had wanted us to wear leotards he would have painted us purple.”

But I think my favourite line was Victoria talking about the Pencil Test:

“They said that if you could hold a pencil under your boob, you needed a bra. Me, I could hold a whole branch of W.H. Smiths.”

I could relate to that, just as I could relate to Victoria’s warmth, wit and intellect, all of which seemed attainable for us ordinary folks.

wood

It seems appropriate to finish with a song.  Obviously it’s going to be Let’s Do It, but first, to say goodbye to Victoria, here are the poignant lyrics she wrote to the Dinnerladies theme tune.   Oh dear, this is going to set me off again…

Getting up, getting out, getting on, getting going,
Wears away at the dreams that you hold in your heart,
All the scared little choices you make without knowing,
Take away from the thing that you had at the start.

Day by day, drops of water wear the stone away,
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday…

All the dreams that you had when it all lay before you,
All the plans that you made, all the things you would do,
All the schemes that you knew time would bring to fruition,
Did they happen? Not so far, at least not to you.

Day by day, drops of water wear the stone away,
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday…

 

This is today’s post for the #atozchallenge.  Four to go…

Advertisements

17 thoughts on “V is for Victoria Wood as Seen by Me”

      1. I thought your post was as good as anything I’ve read in the papers or online. When are you going to start making money from your writing?

        Like

  1. She seemed to be a fabulous person who went to crazy parties. Thankfully I still like prawns after reading that. I just channel my inner Andrew Zimmerman to counter any side effect. When such personalities pass away, it always get us rethinking. Always. It makes we wonder if I’ve just been sitting on my ass my whole life. I would only be partly right. Brilliant post, as ever. 😀

    Like

  2. Until a few days ago I’d never heard of Victoria Wood. Watching this video I cannot believe I’ve not known of her before. OMG that was hilarious. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog so that I found you… and Victoria. Hilarious, did I say that?

    Like

  3. I’m sorry to say I’d never heard of Victoria Wood either, but I’ve been reading all the tributes. The prawn thing made me laugh out loud … but I’m afraid the memory will resurrect itself again one day and I too will be reluctant to ever eat another one :/

    Like

  4. Yes I agree that it’s become a competition now who can be first to react to a celeb death or a news item on social media. I don’t do it because I don’t think social media is for that, but If you don’t do it people think you don’t care. Someone told me off for uploading my holiday snaps onto FB the day that Prince died, said something like ‘don’t you care about anyone else?’

    Like

Anything to add?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s