Yesterday morning I found our Rik Mayall had died when Ben let out a mournful “Noooooooo!” as I was getting ready for work. To be honest it really got to me, I can honestly say he was one of my heroes. I grew up watching him in Grim Tales, Drop Dead Fred, the Young Ones, Bottom and Blackadder, in fact my sister and I were totally obsessed with the Young Ones, watching it religiously and quoting it constantly. Drop Dead Fred has to be one of my top 10 favourite movies (even though the ending was a bit naff), I defy anyone from around my age to say they didn’t want their own Drop Dead Fred! Perhaps it’s a testament to how much I appreciate funny people but I always had a bit of a crush on Rik, even though he played utterly repulsive characters. There was something about his manic style, the way he turned the most deplorable scumbag into someone almost lovable (albeit in a pitiful kind of way), that I personally loved. This Vice article sums it up really nicely actually.
I’ll always regret how close I came to meeting him in 2005 when I was living in London. I found out about half an hour too late that he was doing a book signing, if I’d just read the newspaper a bit earlier I could have rushed in and made it. I was so mad at my friend who knew about it but had only thought to mention this when I’d lamented how upset I was at missing out. I have yet to even read his autobiography, possibly as some sort of dumb protest because I didn’t get a copy signed by him. Fortunately Ben has a very well-read copy which I will start reading tonight. I’ll also never forgive whoever made the decision to cut Peeves from the Harry Potter films. Rik Mayall was more Peeves than Peeves was.
RIP Rik. Thank you for all the fart jokes.
This house will become a shrine, and punks and skins and rastas will all gather round and hold their hands in sorrow for their fallen leader. And all the grown-ups will say, “But why are the kids crying?” And the kids will say, “Haven’t you heard? Rick is dead! The People’s Poet is dead!” And then one particularly sensitive and articulate teenager will say, “Other kids, do you understand nothing? How can Rick be dead when we still have his poems?”