58 Following

Michelle's corner

Michelle Knight. Writer, photographer, programmer, truck driver and general, all round nut case. Life is a journey and that's what this blog will probably end up being. Let's see where we go, eh? ;-)

Currently reading

Zero Point
Neal Asher
Your Beauty Mark. All You Need to Get the Hair, Makeup, Glow, and Glam.
Dita von Teese
Progress: 208/256 pages

Review - Last Orders - 3.5 out of 5 stars

Last Orders - Mel Croucher

I tossed and turned about my final rating. 3 or 3.5. I ended up with three point five.


The book is a brave volume to write. In today's society few of us think of what will happen to our on-line yammer and chatter after we've snuffed it. This book is a brave step in to that world.


The majority of the book, however, still covers the more usual and mundane elements of death. It doesn't really enter the philosophical discussion and in some places it is already out of date.


Facebook, for example, will automatically memorialise the account if they get the heads up. Also, the "executor" will get one chance at a final post before it is locked for good. The only thing that the family can do then, is get the account deleted. Even friends can't terminate their relationship with the deceased. An interesting question is what would happen if the friend later deleted their own facebook account. I bet there is shed loads that Facebook itself hasn't thought of yet.


From Facebook's own page at the time of writing...

If Facebook is made aware that a person has passed away, it's our policy to memorialize the account.
Please keep in mind that it's always against the Facebook Terms to log into another person's account. We'll only be able to give you access to an account if we can verify that it’s your own account.
If you believe we've mistakenly memorialized your account, please let us know.

So even if you leave instruction in your will, there's very little in the way of effective orders you can actually leave; and you're going to have to keep your eye on it because you can bet your arse it'll change as further challenges are made in court, because I believe that society in general hasn't really sat down and thought this through.


I was also expecting more from the book in terms of humour. Croucher's a man of the world and has a wit to match. The business of tidying up your affairs is a very important one and a large number of us don't bother at all; opting to leave it up to those that follow.


It is a very dry subject and I was counting on that old Croucher magic to make the subject more palatable. Sadly, I was disappointed in this regard. There was the occasional bit of spice, but it was still very dry reading.  It also can't cover everything. One example is that if you happen to have authored works, for example books or photography that are generating income/revenue, then that needs careful handling as copyright exists for decades after the death of the author. (and even this is under relatively frequent review thanks to Disney who are loathe to let Mickey Mouse pass in to the public domain.)


In my opinion a physical vault is a damn sight more secure than a digital vault. I have people who come to me having put everything in the cloud and deleted their local copies of things, only to find that the cloud service has gone west. It's happened to me a few times as well; companies have gone bust and I haven't been allowed on to the server instances to get at my files. Also, some file formats go stale as codecs come and go over the decades.


It is a worthwhile book if you want to engage in the task of writing your will but don't know where to start. There are plenty of services out there who are willing to wheedle every last penny out of you. Corporates won't suddenly stop wanting to get hold of your money after you've croaked it... when you're not on this mortal coil you can't fight back. Mind... you're probably  not in a position to care either. Such is life... and death.


I would still recommend getting solid advice. If you're in a union, for example, sometimes they have resources for members that include free legal services. It's worth checking out.