May 8, 2007


I know that this topic doesn't really have anything to do with either Pigtown or design, but I was reading the obituary of Isabella Blow in the UK's Guardian newspaper. I also just read a hilarious book about the new form of obits, and this all tied in. The book has the wonderful title of "The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries". Obituaries are one of the most widely read sections of the newspaper, and with this new form, they are even more popular. Instead of thinking of reading obits as being morbid, think of them as mini-biographies of people who are now gone.
I am from a family of newspapermen, and my sister's first job at the paper was writing obits. This was many years ago when obits were dry and purely informative, with no indication of the personality of the dead. This new wave in obit writing is telling the story of the dead. Here's a line from a New York Times obit written in the new way: Selma Koch, a Manhattan store owner who earned a national reputation by helping women find the right bra size, mostly through a discerning glance and never with a tape measure, died Thursday at Mount Sinai Medical Center. She was 95 and a 34B.

The final line in the Guardian's obit for Isabella Blow is "She is survived by Detmar [Blow] and a considerable hat collection."


  1. I always read the obits- I find them fascinating. And poor Isabella Blow- she was quite a character.

  2. My first job out of college, at lunch the girls would read the NY Times obits and we would cut out the best ones. I think I still have my had a line in it from a friend of the deceased and it said "the man was a saint!" We would tape them to our page-a-day desk calendars.

    I loved that last line of the Guardian obit. Thanks for sending me the link. Sounds like she was battling depression as well. At least she had a colorful life the short time she was here.

  3. I was wondering if anyone would be blogging about her. Britain cherishes it's eccentrics. They don't seem to flourish with the same flare in our soil.


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