Barry on Repatriation -
Death and loss, Barry reading from W H Auden
Don't Drop the Coffin!
Don’t Drop the Coffin! tells the story of Barry Albin-Dyer, who runs one of the UK’s oldest family firms of funeral directors, in Rotherhithe, South London. At times funny, at times bizarre, at times moving, this is a rare insight into the profession of death. We learn about cryonics, gangland funerals, removing bodies from suicide and murder scenes, eccentric morticians, spooky happenings, fights in cemeteries and countless other remarkable incidents. In the life of this undertaker truth really does seem stranger than fiction. As well as explaining the tricks of his trade Barry, a Roman Catholic convert, ponders the meaning of death, the afterlife and the process of grieving, and refutes the claim that funeral directors prey on the vulnerable.
In Final Departures, Barry leaves the boundaries of his beloved Bermondsey to take us on a whistle-stop tour of death around the world. He introduces us to an astonishing variety of attitudes and practices of dying: some gruesome, some bizarre and many quite beautiful and moving. Barry’s unique journey takes us from the mummies of ancient Egypt to the techno-funerals of modern-day Korea and into the future, when it will be possible to have your ashes sent into space. He tells of famous deaths that have affected millions, such as those of Elvis and Diana Princess of Wales. And those less well-known but equally unique such as the woman whose body is now stored in a glass coffee table in her husband’s living room!
Bury My Heart In Bermondsey: Memoirs of a Funeral Director
F. A. Albin and Sons provide solemnity and dignity without mawkishness or sentimentality… meticulous professionalism… remaining courteous even when dragged out in the middle of the night to pick up a body!’ – Victor Lewis-Smith, Evening Standard” on Bury My Heart In Bermondsey.
Strong Shoulders is the final book in Barry’s acclaimed trilogy of memoirs (following Don’t Drop the Coffin and Bury My Heart in Bermondsey). Similarly packed with astonishing true stories from the little-understood world of undertaking, Barry’s particular aim with this book is to help people not to be scared of death, but to understand it and even find some comfort in what must one day come to us all. Amongst the anecdotes and Bermondsey memories the book includes chapters on planning your own funeral, and how to make a will (including a form which can actually be used for the reader to record their last wishes). Barry also sensitively describes his firm F A Albin’s involvement in recovering the bodies and organising ceremonies for some of the British victims of the Asian tsunami disaster.