On this day in 1956. A. A. Milne dies and John Lydon is born. Co-incidentally we assume.
There are quite a few jokes about reincarnation associated with this co-incidence. As strange juxtapositions go, it’s perhaps less bizarre than the fact that Brian Jones died in a swimming pool attached to the house where Christopher Robin grew up.
When I think of A. A. Milne, I also think of Willy Rushton, whose readings from Pooh on Jackanory have never been dramatically surpassed. Willy Rushton’s Eyore was so perfect, so well timed and cadenced that Eyore still is Willie Rushton in my mind’s eye (or rather mind’s ear). Willy Rushton was absurdly young when he died – fifty something or other. Milne himself was not a presence in my life – just letters on the spine of a book. Christopher Robin, I recall, used to show up on Blue Peter every so often, a cheerful yet strangely haunting figure in his sixties who seemed oddly reconciled to his celebrity fate of staying six for ever and ever.
John Lydon on the other hand, will not die young, although it’s too late for him to die outrageously young of course (what with him being 61 and all). Lydon might be hit by a meteorite or be targeted by some sort of assassin I suppose, but his survivalist instinct is too strong for him to have ever taken any traditional route of rock and roll self destruction. No, John Lydon will live for a very very long time and deliver unexpected and withering commentaries on the state of the world for many decades. For half of the time he’ll be very wrong, but the rightness of the other half will more than make up for it.
A.A. Milne wasn’t one for a rock and roll superstar death either, although oddly enough, he owned a house that staged one.
So right now, my associative imagination has John Lydon, A. A. Milne, Willie Rushton and Brian Jones all floating around in my head. Milne, Rushton and Jones complain that Lydon isn’t dead yet and should not be permitted to form part of the confabulations of this celestial quartet. But then Lydon looks a bit ferociously at them and they shut up. Who cares who’s living and who’s dead?
Probably I should be talking about the parlous state of the world right now, rather than frolicking with Punk, Pooh, and Piglet. But other people are talking about the parlous state of the word rather better than I am right now, and I don’t want to obscure them. I want to listen to them for a while, learn something rather than just jabber, and in the meantime renovate a bit.
For I am a bear of very little brain, and long dystopias bother me.