Dead fish leave disappointed anglers, that’s all

I wasn’t going to be drawn into the gnashing of teeth surrounding the demise of Britain’s most famous carp. Let’s just say that ‘Benson’, to me, still means an American sitcom.

That’s not an invitation to class warfare: there’s no sneering here. Carp fishing might leave me cold but I take my hat off to those who do it well and I regard their angling vocation as no better or worse than my own.

To hear someone banging on about a dead carp’s ‘legacy’, however, blows pure oxygen on a touchpaper that has been smouldering with me for some time.

‘Legacy’ is one of those grating buzz words of the moment that no-one in his right mind would have bandied around thirty years ago, for fear of being thought rather pompous.

In this era of rampant self-aggrandisement, however, ‘legacy’ is now routinely seized upon by every mundane Joe as the latest sop to his vanity. Politicians, sportsmen and now even fish must apparently have a ‘legacy’, presumably to go with their ‘brand’ and their ‘mission statement’.

So in the hope of introducing a little perspective here, let’s get this straight: once or twice a generation, there comes a human being (my italics) who, through his/her achievements and the impact they make, can genuinely be said to have left a legacy.

The rest of us leave a happy memory or two, a dripping tap that we never got round to fixing and some old clothes that are taken to charity shops by people with tears in their eyes.

And that’s it. Get over yourselves.

All guff aside, au revoir Benson. After sixty losing bouts with the bent pin, the words ‘rest in peace’ are offered with genuine feeling.


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