finished the authorized biography of Kenneth Williams and I have to
agree with it that, against much common opinion, his death almost
certainly wasn't suicide. He was a man in great physical pain and with
little common sense, who didn't think through necking his regular pain
killers on top of the xanax for his stomach. For a 'suicidal' man with a
great pile of pills at hand, it's odd that he didn't swallow tons of
them and, indeed, that he had arranged an appointment with the doctors
the next day. And the infamous last note in his diary? 'Oh what's the
bloody point?' is a phrase he regularly uses in his diary from the age
of 21 onwards.
But why has the nation--when it cares to think
about it--clung to the notion of a suicidal Ken? Doubtless the 'tragic
clown' is a magnetic idea, one reinforced by K's pal Tony Hancock. But
also one has to remember this was the end of the eighties, with the AIDS
epidemic and coarse Victorian values wrapped in Thatcherite clingfilm.
On some ugly subconscious level, perhaps the nation believed this was
how a homosexual man should die: alone and full of self-hate. I hope
not, because it's a mean way to treat someone who dedicated his
existence to entertaining us so well.