Let me Die a Young Man's Death


This page written circa 14 January, 2024.

Let me Die a Young Man's Death

by Roger McGough

Let me die a youngman's death
not a clean and inbetween
the sheets holywater death
not a famous-last-words
peaceful out of breath death

When I'm 73
and in constant good humour
may I be mown down at dawn
by a bright red sports car
on my way home
from an allnight party

Or when I'm 91
with silver hair
and sitting in a barber's chair
may rival gangsters
with hamfisted tommyguns burst in
and give me a short back and insides

Or when I'm 104
and banned from the Cavern
may my mistress
catching me in bed with her daughter
and fearing for her son
cut me up into little pieces
and throw away every piece …but one

Let me die a youngman's death
not a free from sin tiptoe in
candle wax and waning death
not a curtains drawn by angels borne
'what a nice way to go' death

A friend, seeking moral and engineering support, asked me to accompany her to Max Black in King Street. It turned out to be a great place, friendly, well-stocked, and enlightening: the Hamley's of sex toys. The staff are boyant and helpful. Not at all the dark and dingy (and heterosexual male?) place of the 1980s.

Being an engineer, I was most struck by the advances wrought by technology in the decades since I last visited this shop that inevitably exists in the middle of King Street. Most devices are now equipped with lithium batteries, so more available power. Charging connections are better designed, inductive or magsafe or equipped with a decent seal, and mostly USB on the other end.

Most intriguing is a new style of… dildo? Vibrator? …that has appeared. The device, vaguely resembling a silky version of the infrared thermometers that fit in the ear, essentially contains a small electroacoustic driver within, and has a soft snout designed to achieve an air-tight fit with the subject body part. (Open in own tab for image close-up.)

There have been advances in materials too. The skins, particularly of insertables, are simply luscious to the touch. A silicon plastic, I think, but with a magical surface texture.

Many years ago, it occurred to me that neuromodulation could be used instead of all the mechanical parts. A vibrator could either be muscular, or bypass the vibration altogether and stimulate directly. Sort of a pacemaker for the clitoris. I was delighted to see that there is already a range of things that connect to a muscle stimulator! Sadly the dildo is a 2-electrode system. Sixteen would have been my choice….

My refrigerator is accumulating photographs all held on with magnets. The main theme, I realised, is dead people. Jane. Godfrey. My mother. My father. They simply seemed to need photographs, not being on my call list any more. I have great difficulty deleting Godfrey's contact, though I know I will never need it again.

There seems to be a contrast between sex toys and death. Perhaps not. As my friend Ms Q remarked "Yes we need to enjoy it before we get too old...". Every day above the grass is a good day.

Actually, the famous-last-words peaceful out of breath death starts to look appealing. Time to work on that final epithet.

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