Grave Goods – Benjamin Myers

'And sparks fly up' Ben Meyers channelling an undetermined quality by a stream or possibly beck.
‘And sparks fly up’ Ben Myers channelling an undetermined quality by a stream or possibly beck.

Welcome to Grave Goods, a series of interviews in which the subject is invited to reflect on their belongings and select five items to accompany them on the Awfully Big Adventure. A complimentary pot of hazelnuts is included.

For today’s outing, we’re joined by the irrepressible Ben Myers. Ben writes fiction and non-fiction on subjects including, but not restricted to, nature, poetry, crime, mythology, music, occultist England, psychedelic visions, subterranean explorations, animalistic impulses and more besides. His books include The Offing, Beastings, Pig Iron, Under The Rock (an autobiographical work), Turning Blue, These Darkening Days and The Gallows Pole, which won the Walter Scott Prize, and is being developed for the screen.

Twitter: @BenMyers1


Tools of the Trade – a tool/implement without which you’d be lost, whether it’s a pen, trowel, notepad, bottle-opener or scanning electron microscope.

“A mirror. I think just because you’re dead / post-living / reborn in the afterlife, it should not be an excuse for not looking sharp at all times. Death should not mean sartorial or follicular shabbiness. A comb could always be fashioned from some bones, but a mirror is hard to manufacture, so mine is coming with me. Full-length, naturally. My mantra is: live pedestrian, die old, leave a good-looking corpse.”

Food for the Journey – a favourite portable snack, or a portion of something from your funeral feast.

“Man cannot live on watermelon alone, but I would give it a bloody good go. I’d need big pockets, of course.”

Memento Vivere – a memento of a companion/event to bring you cheer (can be an image).

“I’d like to take the collar and tags that are worn by my dog His Excellency, President For Life, Field Marshal Lord Heathcliff of Haworth, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth And Fishes Of the Seas And Conqueror of Canines And Empires And West Yorkshire In Particular. He is my constant companion, and has made me a better writer – and a better person.”

Ex Libris – the book or text you are least likely to tire of reading.

“I’ve have still not properly read Under The Volcano by Malcolm Lowry, so perhaps the grave would be a good time to finally sit down and complete it – not least because it’s set during the Mexican Day of the Dead. I’d also like to take Trout Fishing In America by Richard Brautigan.”

Lucky Deposition – a bonus selection chosen by the guest – can include transport.

“I’d like a bass guitar, with an amplifier and a PA system the size of a small country. I’ve been ‘playing’ bass for 30 years and have not progressed at all. I mean, in theory any idiot can play the bass (cf. the entirety of rock music), but yet here I am still ham-fistedly clunking away like a bear with a banjo. So I’d least like the chance to learn some Stooges and Dead Kennedys songs, then play them so loudly that they’ll rattle the teeth of the skulls I will inevitably be surrounded by, raise the corpses from their slumber and get those souls trapped in a state of bardo to shake a tail feather.”

A Message from Beyond the Grave – an entirely discretionary option – leave a note for a future generation to find.

“I’ve never used an emoji in my life, so perhaps now would be the time: ? ? ? ? ? ?”.

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