To Westminster Abbey this evening for an event in support of Scope for Change including an after hours guided tour around the Abbey. I was hoping it would be like Hollyoaks After Hours and be a bit sexier than the day time tours. And I wasn’t disappointed. Ooo eee, Rick. (hope you’re digging my Mr Poopy Butthole ref). It wasn’t sexy in the traditional sense, but luckily I get off on being in close proximity to the dusty bones of ex-monarchs and poets, so I was in my element. And then I was thrown out of Westminster Abbey. Oh no, wait you know I was in Westminster Abbey. That joke doesn’t work.
Fellow Patron of Scope Cherie Blair was on the tour too and I thought this must be extra weird for her. Not only has she attended lots of state occasions here (she was able to point out where the Prime Minister sits), but also we passed a section commemorating ex Prime Ministers and she must have been aware that one day (unless he ends up in Strasbourg) her husband will be commemorated here too. Did I see her do a little skip of joy over the paving stone where he will be mentioned? No, I didn’t.
They don’t bury bodies in the Abbey any more (cos it’s so full of sexy dead king femurs), though ashes can be interred, but I promised my wife that they would make an exception for me and that one day my bones will be laid to rest amongst the great and the good and the frankly wickedly awful. She seemed sceptical, but I still have time to become the best Prime Minister ever, or become a poet or come up with a better theory of evolution. Or save the planet from an alien invasion. Or die in battle and lose my identification and get selected as the next unknown soldier. I might have a better shot at being buried as the Unknown Comedian. “This is the grave of Richard Herring, the Unknown Comedian. Just another death in a long line and by no means the worst”. Might make that my epitaph wherever I end up.
Anyway I am going to get buried in Westminster Abbey if I have to sneak in at night and bury myself (I will go in the tomb of Edward Longshanks, the longer the shanks the better for me. I’m going to hammer the Hammer of the Scots). You see if I am wrong.
It was a great tour and slightly spooky to be in a practically empty Westminster Abbey as the sun went down. What a privilege to be invited along. I particularly enjoyed the Cosmati Pavement If only the Cosmatis made all the pavements. The world would be a brighter place.
There is a scientists' corner too and Darwin and Faraday are in it and there’s a massive monument to Isaac Newton, celebrating some of his formulae and his ordering of the planets (and if Westminster Abbey had any style there would be a giant apple that descended and bonked you on the head every time you stood in front of it). It seemed a bit odd having these representatives from the world of science honoured in a place of religion. I believe Newton was religious, but Darwin was agnostic at best and his work was a huge challenge to the church, but apparently the Dean gets to choose who gets commemorated (that’s why I am going to try and buddy up with all the Deans of Westminster Abbey so they can make my dreams come true) and the one at the time of Darwin was clearly pretty cool to let the monkey-faced evolutionist in.
I said to my wife that there’s every chance that Westminster Abbey will survive once our civilisation has collapsed and gone and maybe in thousands of years time that Newton memorial can be deciphered by future generations (of evolved apes - one nil to Darwin over Jesus) and his knowledge will survive.
I was able to hand a cheque for all the money I have collected at my gigs since February, adding £11,000+ to the total for this year’s tour. There’s still a few gigs to go (though I can’t do the collection in Peterborough as the theatre is a charity itself and there is nothing that charities hate more than you collecting money for another charity, so it’s better than no one gets any money) but thanks to everyone who donated online or in a bucket. With a bit of luck we might get to £22,000 by the end of the tour and I think overall since 2004 when all this began we have now raised about £300,000, much of which I have counted out by hand into little plastic coin bags after gigs. If you want to help us push ever onwards and get your name in the next programme plus have a limited edition signed programme posted to you then donate at least £15 to the new campaign here.