One year. 100 articles. So we're having a Reader's Party. Come along to Upsidecrown.
12 October 2000
Neil was killed shortly after midnight on Sunday in a routine and wholly avoidable road traffic accident. Eye-witnesses report that he made a few audible groans lying on the patch of moist tarmac that the collision had thrown him to, making it unclear at what exact point brain-activity ceased but no speculations have yet been made as to what thoughts may have passed through his mind between impact and death.
The accident, being described by the ignorant and lazy as 'tragic', brought to an end a life distinguishable from the thousands of others scattered about it with remarkable population-density only by a close examination of the minutiae. It will come as no surprise to many that eclectic, emblematic and visceral were amongst his favourite words or that his hobbies included walking the streets at night, acting weirdly on train platforms and scratching till he bled.
Life was genuinely exciting for Neil until it was brought to his attention that the intense emotions of his early years were no work of private magic but the trite and cliched experiences of millions of cosmetically-different others spread across axes of both time and place and in addition simply the product of hormonal imbalances. Shortly afterwards he also discovered that the intelligence he had always been credited with was simply a trick of the smallness of his pond, he was talentless as regards the dreams he had always clung to and the friendship groups that were so special to him were replicated in subtly altered but basically similar patterns a hundred times over in every town around the country.
He continued to delude himself that he had the potential in him for great good or for great evil, just as he continued to delude himself that there was good and evil, but despite devoting himself to attempts to resolve the conflict between the rational and the instinctual, a process which convinced him that to be right is not to be happy, his life made no impact whatsoever upon the global human consciousness, with the possible exception of his recent experiments in the field of two-tone hair.
Treating life with a sensible, if ultimately hollow, distancing irony, Neil was easy to please- constantly finding pleasure in the the formulaic repetitions of long-established phrases which carried esoteric amusement for a narrow group of acquaintances, in representations of fictitious lives which engendered false ideas of closure, fulfilment and nobility and in other, similar distractions. Like so many others before him, despite the plentiful evidence to the contrary, he continued to idealise non-evolutionarily dictated intimacy as a path to contentment but, although he possessed all relevant body parts and overflowed with the milk of human contact, never found this to be the case.
With him dies a lifetime of thought and human experience, all of it banal, which the rest of the world can now never share in and the majority of which, despite the desperate attempts of diaries and photographs, was already lost to himself. His monotonous daydreams of fame, love and other forms of attention are surely no great loss although some collectors may mourn the passing of his recurring fantasy of cooking omlette for Michael Winner. A soul offensive in its eagerness to avoid offense, although as a convinced Christian and life-long atheist his attitude to the soul was ambivalent, friends will be gladdened that Neil's recent anxieties about becoming too old to enjoy the glamour of dying young have finally been laid to rest.
His last words are believed to have been: "Well fucking indicate then."