Monday, February 18, 2008

Melly's Last Stand

I watched a BBC2 documentary on the last days of George Melly last night. Melly gave an heroic and colourful last performance as he lay dying of an array of fatal diseases (two cancers, heart etc.). His wife Diane was the star of the show however. As he lay in what would shortly become his death bed she escorted an array of former girl friends to say their last goodbyes. Included amongst them (for shame George) was that disgraceful old broiler Molly Parkin – dressed all in purple including an alarming purple cupola of a hat that added about 12 inches to her height. Parkin had tried to steal Melly from Diane many years ago and had suggested in print that Diane should be committed. (A dispassionate observer would put Parkin away these days.) Their doorstep greetings were less than warm but Diane explained that this was for George and her feelings were irrelevant. What a game bird. She also claimed that they hadn’t had sex since 1981. On the one exception to this Melly informed her afterwards that he had the clap so that was the end of it for her. She blithely informed us that he had plenty of girlfriends that looked after him in this regard.

The final scenes were very touching as they carried the old trouper on stage for a farewell gig at the 100 Club off Oxford Street. He gamely croaked a few valedictory blues but really it was a way for his fans to say goodbye – you could see it in the intent eyes of the audience. His spirit remained intact to the bitter kind. When asked how he felt by some well intentioned visitor, he retorted “How do you think I feel, I’m dying for fuck’s sake.”

I saw him at the Cork Jazz Festival about 10 years ago and he was hilariously scabrous. The nations will be less gay with his passing.