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Why do we experience a sense of loss for people we’ve never met?

Our resident Queen Honcho talks about her relationship with the 90s legend Rik Mayall.

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Louise Jeffery

October 30, 2020

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Volume One: Rik Mayall

I was always drawn towards Rik Mayall before I even knew who he was… 

I remember sneaking down the stairs as a kid, while my parents watched The Young Ones. I’d sit as quietly as I could and watch through the banisters, drawn towards the comic book violence and anarchy with no idea of what the jokes were about. Until eventually, my parents would spot me and send me to bed with a clip round the lughole! You were allowed to do that in those days – it was the 80s after all.

Then Bottom came into my life…

I was a plucky young tweenager in the very early 90s just starting secondary school thinking I was much older and sophisticated than I actually was. I remember seeing the ads for it and instantly I was hooked.
Rik, handsome to me in so many ways even though he was playing this utter slime ball, and funny, so incredibly funny. The slapstick violence was back with stunts and fight scenes I’d never seen the like of. I used to love it in Bottom Live when he broke the 4th wall and you’d see how he’d show off to make people laugh.

This resonated so much with me…

I also wouldn’t, and still don’t care if I made myself look ugly or thick as long as it made someone laugh. I love an underdog and think that this is down to Rik playing the role brilliantly as Richie. Most of my childhood photos of me, much to my parent’s dislike, have me pulling a grotesque face with my Vs up after seeing Rik do this pose time and time again.

I kind of worshipped him in a weird way and wanted to be like him in so many ways – the fact that he was a forty-year-old man really didn’t bother me.

On the day that he died on 9th June 2014,I was unbelievably sad but didn’t really know why.

I didn’t know him but I felt like he was a huge part of my life, after all, he’d been with me for so long. He was like a friend’s older brother or an uncle nobhead, someone who’s just there.

I remember seeing his Wicker coffin covered in beautiful red roses (I even want to copy that and have the same when I die).
You could see the friendship and bond Ade Edmondson and he had.

I’d love for someone to talk about me the way Ade did that day:

“There were times when Rik and I were writing together when we almost died laughing. They were some of the most carefree, stupid days I ever had, and I feel privileged to have shared them with him. And now he’s died for real. Without me. Selfish bastard.”

Rik’s Legacy

Fast forward a few years – my son, who would’ve been about 15 at the time, called me an ‘utter bastard’ completely out of the blue. Just to point out, I wasn’t mistreating him, we were just chatting and messing around, it was in good humour. I promise.

If any other kid had said that to his mother he would have got a bollocking for sure but I instantly cracked up (I know weird, but humour comes above all else in this house.

It was at that moment I realised…

…hitting me like a Bottom-esq kick in the knackers, this is how we live on when we die. This is how we should celebrate the dead.

Talking about them, laughing about the things they did and how they made us feel when we saw them.

It’s not all doom and gloom and talking in hushed tones.

It’s crying with laughter and filling ourselves with happy memories and joy in our hearts.

Whether it’s a person you actually knew or a character on a BBC2 programme that you were desperate to watch (even if it was past your bedtime and you were risking a flick in the ear)!

‘Thanks very much all of you…now f**k off!’