Life, Death and the Human Art of Undertaking
by Ru Callender
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Pub Date 23 Mar 2023 | Archive Date 01 Feb 2023
Death is not my friend, neither is it my enemy; it is my destiny.
“Rupert Callender hope[s] to redefine the funeral.”—The Telegraph
When he became an undertaker, Rupert Callender undertook to deal with the dead for the sake of the living. What Remains? is the brilliant, unforgettable story of the life and work of a radical undertaker—but it is also a book about ordinary, everyday humanity and our capacity to face death with courage and compassion. To say goodbye to the people we love in our own way.
In becoming known as the world’s first “punk undertaker” and establishing the Green Funeral Company in Devon, UK, Ru Callender and his partner Claire challenged the stilted, traditional, structured world of the funeral industry; fusing what he had learned from his own deeply personal experiences with death, with the surprising and profound answers and raw emotion he discovered in rave culture and ritual magick.
From his unresolved grief for his parents and his cultural ancestors to political and religious non-conformists, social outlaws, experimental pioneers, and acid house culture, Ru Callender has taken too an outsider “DIY” ethos to help people navigate grief and death. He has carried coffins across windswept beaches, sat in pubs with caskets on beer-stained tables, helped children fire flaming arrows into their father’s funeral pyre, turned modern occult rituals into performance art and, with the band members of KLF, is building the People’s Pyramid of bony bricks in Liverpool.
What Remains? is a profound, deeply moving, and politically charged book that will change the way readers think about life, death, and the all-important end-of–life experience.
“Death has shown me unimaginable horror, the unbreakable core of love and courage that lies at the heart of what it means to be human.”—Rupert Callender, from What Remains?
A Note From the Publisher
Callender, Phillips, Cauty & Drummond: Undertakers to the Underworld was established as a partnership between The Green Funeral Company and The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu (KLF) in 2017.
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