Very Mick – Very Catholic!

Very Mick Mono“…three years earlier I extended my father’s eulogy to the point where mourners demanded an intermission…”

My 88 year-old Mum had been worrying herself to death over what I might say in her eulogy. I said, “Mum, you can’t hear me when I’m standing right beside you, so what makes you think you’ll hear anything through a padded coffin six metres away?” But no, Mother wasn’t about to relinquish control of anything… while she was alive… or dead. So what better way to overcome the problem than have her write her own eulogy… an exercise in creative writing that gave her a new lease on life. So, much to the family’s relief, Mother’s eulogy was signed, sealed and only needed to be delivered… well, so we thought.

The Catholic Church had other ideas. Bishop Christopher Prouse, head of Mother’s local Diocese, immaculately conceived a new set of funeral service guidelines, thus burying Mother’s best laid plans. Chris deemed the new guidelines were necessary to stem the influx of modern, secular activities into the funeral mass. No longer would heathen paraphernalia such as loved ones’ video clips or favourite poems be permitted because this was making the ceremony too long, presumably affecting what was once a lucrative churn and burn ritual.

Chris decreed that in future, the ‘Eulogy’ would be referred to as ‘Words of Remembrance’ and should not exceed five minutes. This gave Mother great cause for concern given she had just penned a six volume manuscript detailing her life’s journey. She was also cognisant of the fact that three years earlier I extended my father’s eulogy to the point where mourners demanded an intermission. And to think, all that valuable church time devoted to a chap who spent more time doing his tax than paying homage to God.

The new guidelines stipulated that only appropriate hymns were to be sung during the funeral service. Mother now feared her final two minute anthem, Kamahl’s soulful rendition of ‘Sounds of Goodbye’, might not be acceptable to the ears of The Lord, thus negating her 88 years of religious devotion. My suggested alternative, Led Zeppelin’s Stairway To Heaven, failed to gain favour, not just because she was unfamiliar with the tune, but because God hadn’t specified the number of flights. This was not surprising since Mother was a pragmatic soul. Two years prior, I suggested travelling from Byron to Melbourne to see her before a hip replacement, just in case she didn’t pull through. She replied “Don’t worry about it, you saw me last month”.

And Chris’s list of changes didn’t stop there. No longer were we permitted to refer to the upcoming service as a Celebration of Mother’s life, but rather ‘A Requiem Mass for the repose of her soul’. ‘Repose of the soul’ has always been a bit antiquated for me, a bit girt by sea. But in the Church, it seems tradition is sacrosanct… surprisingly it still doesn’t burn spinsters at the stake for promoting Witch Hazel for warts. This constant deferral to the past is incredibly trusting of one’s fellow man to accurately relay the word of God. Who knows who penned what, way back when? Why only fifty years ago as a kid, I forged my Mum’s signature so many times my mates called me Phyllis.

Of course there was no surprise with the Church’s inability to cope with the words ‘Celebration’ and ‘Life’ in the same term. The very idea leaves no room for guilt, the bedrock of the Catholic faith.

And while The Church continues to look backwards while purportedly driving forwards, its Gen Y market share is grinding to a halt. Admittedly it’s a big ask… convincing this faction of the flock that funerals are not always about them, and that Skyping the deceased is not cool. And so, while Mother Malloy continues to outlive us all, The Church continues to write its own Eulogy.


Very Mick – Losing the Byron Name Game

Very Mick Mono‘Just what is the attraction to names pilfered from ancient cultures, cultures as relevant to Byron Bay as a ‘Swim Between The Flags’ sign is to the citizens of Atlantis?’

When we arrived in Byron Bay ten years ago, the de facto, Prue, phoned a local computer crowd to discuss her bits and bytes. The dude she was dealing with, called himself Sagaro. Prue, who harbours an overly inquisitive nature, stated ‘That’s an interesting name. Where is it from?’. He simply replied, “It means Ocean”, leaving her none the wiser as to whether he was one of us or something related to ET. A week later we found ourselves at a ‘Sunnyasin’ party where we met an entire flock of ‘Sagaros’. Whilst Varij, Pavita and Roti were all very friendly, we felt like The Murdoch’s at a Truth Convention. We learnt then that the Sannyasins were followers of the Indian guru, Osho (a Jesus with baggage), and that they came to the area for The Nimbin Aquarius Festival in the early 70’s. In search of free love, enlightenment and sizeable chunks of prime real estate, it’s debatable how much enlightenment they found, but they certainly paid nothing for their love or real estate. Continue reading

Very Mick does Social Media for Dummies

Very Mick Mono“…it appears I’m about to spend this entire class just trying to log on.”

My very first ‘Social Media For Business’ class at the ACE Community College in Mullumbimby, and of course, out of ten students, I’m the bunny who knows bugger-all about Facebook … the bottom rung on the social media ladder. What’s worse, I’m in front of a PC for the first time and unable to find the button that turns the damn thing on (a sad reminder of my first dating experience). My pain is exacerbated by a competitive streak wider than Ian Thorpe’s fin-span. I don’t do classroom-loser well. This can be attributed to chocolate, for in my primary school days whole blocks of the stuff were the learning enticement to win at everything from Times Tables to Let’s Find Wally. Even now, in my fifties, I’m convinced being first to finish a yoga class will fast-track my enlightenment. Continue reading