Darren Smiley: An Obituary 2020 – 2021
Darren Elsietanner Smiley was not a nice man – on the contrary, his misadventures and misdeeds are numerous and well-documented. From stealing his neighbour’s antihistamines and filling her house with cats to being banned on individual occasions from contacting every member of 5IVE, all the while somehow avoiding jail, Darren was a… complex character. Nevertheless, it’s sad when people die, even if they are less ‘people’ and more ‘conceptual motifs’. We mourn him appropriately, as we would a goldfish or a lost shoe on a wet day.
We first met Darren outside Stalybridge train station, where he was eagerly snarfing down a tray of Donner Meat and Chips. Without prompting, he told us it was his third portion in a row. After a brief and unwanted chat in which he discovered we were a band he offered to manage us, which we politely declined. This was our only face-to-face meeting with Darren who for the last 6 months has repeatedly taken over our social media platforms and assumed numerous promotional duties for our debut EP ENDLESS UNSTOPPABLE PAIN which, incidentally, is still available to stream on all platforms. We don’t know how he did this. He had no passwords, he is not an admin on any of our accounts, I don’t even think he knew what social media is. He just did it. It caused us a great deal of distress, but he did it anyway. That was our Darren.
Darren was known for his firebrand political activism and died as he lived – shouting anti-vaxx slogans through a megaphone at passers-by outside a primary school. While doing this he fell face-first into a puddle and drowned, a situation brought about by his lack of arms, legs or body. He would have wanted it that way. He was also a keen Capri-Sun drinker and consumed it in copious amounts, using it to fill the void in his soul where some unknown pleasure once dwelled. His main passion in life was the unprovoked harassment of low-level celebrities, and before he met us he mainly filled his days sending threatening letters to various former Big Brother contestants, shopping channel hosts and any other such person who, for reasons best known to Darren himself, drew his relentless ire. He was a complex man.
Darren Smiley leaves behind only an estranged son whom we have been unable to trace, which is the reason we’re doing this obituary instead of literally anyone else. Darren often referred to his son in his letters as ‘that mustard boy’ and repeatedly said he wanted nothing to do with someone who ‘reeks of Dijon’. We don’t know what that means, but not having a name for the junior Smiley made it hard to trace him, or indeed know if he was real. So here we are.
Darren was malevolent, mean-spirited, intensely obsessive and cruel. And yet, we will miss him. Our time in his crosshairs was ultimately enjoyable and he admittedly did his job as an aesthetic centrepiece well. In a roundabout way, he leaves the world a richer place than it was before he arrived. Isn’t that what we all want in the end?
So yeah, let’s raise a toast to the Hate Machine himself. Thanks for nothing.
Right, now that that’s over with, let the march begin…