The story of a woman being arrested at Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport the other week after trying to check in her dead husband for a flight to Berlin, brought to mind the time fading snooker star Jimmy White’s brother Martin succumbed to cancer. His siblings decided to drink to his memory, as you do, only they took his remains with them on the tear.
Though possibly worse for wear at the time, Jimmy clearly recalls stealing the corpse from the undertakers and bringing it on a pub crawl. He later ‘explained’: “We were so sad. We’d been drinking in the pub the night before the funeral and the bill came to £4,600. It was a proper drink. We were all crying and so I told my sister we were going to get Martin.
“I kicked the door of the undertakers and the lock fell off. Just like that, it opened! I went in, there was no alarm. He was there, in his suit, so I phoned a driver and we took him out and carried on drinking. We felt we had to spend more time with him.
“We were crying, laughing, crying, laughing. It went on for about five hours. The driver going back realised my brother wasn’t alive, so he refused to take us. We had to get a taxi. On the way, the next driver looked in the mirror and said: ‘He don’t look too well’. We put him back and then the police came. They sympathised with me, there was no damage done. We lost his hat somewhere, but no charges followed.”
A strange, slightly unsettling experience by the sounds of it. But MBE White, 48, who’s impressed by Barry Hearn’s plans for the sport having had a decent enough 2009-10 season, despite not qualifying for the Crucible (not to mention coming third in ITV’s I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here) can smile about it now. “Martin would have laughed too. It’s a good memory of a sad time in my life.”
The legendary late comedian Bill Hicks namechecked Jimmy in a spiel about a trip to England during the LA riots in 1992, the year the left-hander led Stephen Hendry by six frames in the Embassy World Final but couldn’t close the deal.
Trying to find out what was happening on the streets beneath the Hollywood Hills, whenever Hicks looked at a television there was ‘The People’s Champion’ playing snooker. Which prompted him to wonder, “Does the man not have a home to go to?”
Only sometimes. And others it might have been a funeral home.