Today (and tomorrow, curiously) is the Day of the Dead.
It’s a festival I’ve always rather liked the idea of, not too mawkish, but rather colourful, varied, and personal. The idea is that it’s the one day of the year when the dead can come back and visit the living, and people are therefore encouraged to celebrate in a way which their dead friends and relatives would enjoy. Of course, as a miserable old rationalist, I don’t really believe that the spirits of the dead come back to visit, but I still think it’s a good, and probably psychologically nourishing, idea to celebrate people who are no longer with us, and be thankful for the impact they may have had on us.
The day always reminds me of Grim Fandango, one of the best, most imaginative and stylishly told stories I’ve ever enjoyed. It happens to be a computer game. It’s set in the Land of the Dead, the story told over four days, each a year apart, and each of them falling on the Day of the Dead. This seems as good an occasion as any to plug this beautifully written and crafted piece of storytelling. If you’ve got some time to fill without wanting to spend much, you could do much worse than getting hold of it. Go down your local second hand games shop, and unless Shrewsbury is completely abnormal, you’ll find it at a criminally low price.
Anyway, happy (or perhaps not so much, in some cases) Day of the Dead.