Presumably everyone has heard Sam Smith’s Bond theme Writing’s on the Wall by now. He claims it only took 20 minutes to write, but it sounds more like 10. His boast smacks of over confidence. It sounds more like he’s satisfying a Bucket List ambition – Write a Bond theme – than making an effort. Not only does it lack a chorus but it has the sexual swagger of a Tinder profile without a single swipe.

A Bucket List is all the things you failed to do in life, but wanted to, and I don’t mean the washing up. It’s the hope that listing ambitions might bring you closer to achieving them, like buying a map brings you closer to a holiday.

It’s desperately listing things which never occurred to you at the time because you were too busy watching TV, or sleeping off a hangover. If it was truly a list of things you intended, but neglected to do, then telling parents you loved them more frequently should make the list instead of ‘Airboating across an alligator swamp,’ whatever that is. Mind you, with some parents this might be the same thing.

Timing is everything, and it’s essential to consider a bucket list only at a point in life when it’s too late to do most of them, otherwise you might actually end up visiting all the Harry Potter locations dressed as Fridwulfa. Achieving it too prematurely might result in the inclusion of

  • Get to sit in front seat of car
  • wearing a dinosaur costume to bed.

Bucket Lists are a last bid attempt to achieve some semblance of a life by parasailing and then bore anyone still listening with what happened (i.e. you para-sailed, which is actually a surprisingly difficult thing to expand upon.)

There’s a website for people lacking enough personality to even have ideas for a bucket list. It suggests things they never knew they wanted to do, like Send a message in a Bottle (27) or had already done, like Stand in a Red Telephone Box in England (43), without realising it was a life defining experience.

Swimming With Sharks (3) is a popular choice, but if you wish to complete the list, this is probably best left until the end. Meanwhile, Studying for a Degree (56) can inadvertently lead to the afternoon naps that a bucket list, with its I’ll sleep when I’m dead ethos, is endeavouring to avoid. After all, nothing screams you’re studying like waking up on the sofa surrounded by text books on the floor.

And that’s the problem with Bucket Lists, people who’ve happily spent their afternoons sipping tea suddenly want to do so while jumping from a plane. Besides, like Writing’s on the Wall, any close look at a Bucket List, will reveal the strange absence of sex. I guess Chasing a Tornado (18), or Walking the Abbey Road Zebra crossing (37) is easier, but surely all anyone really wants is hot group sex that doesn’t involve Essex cul-de-sacs with a hot tubs contravening current EU health and safety standards.

Actually, one of the most entertaining things on the Internet is a webcam of Abbey Road’s crossing, where local motorists out-do each other by running over Beatles fans. Discovering that they are also people aiming to complete their Bucket List will only increase injuries. Mind you, Save a Life (14) is also on the list, which perhaps kills two birds with one stone – which strangely doesn’t feature on many lists.

Anyone pressed for time will be pleased to find Watching the film Bucket List (64) included, but probably the most annoying thing on the suggested Bucket List is Write a Novel (20), like it’s something you might do while queuing for the Abseiling (32), mind you, some self-published efforts read like they were written while actually while abseiling.

Frankly, anyone with any sense will spend life doing what they want to do, without it needing to look like a still from a Red Bull commercial, because for most people it’s sighing contentledly at a cup of tea, listening to a new album, or reading a novel. The most important thing missing from the Bucket List is, don’t try too hard. Unless you’re Sam Smith.

My debut novel, The Life Assistance Agency – selected by WHSmith Fresh Talent 2017 –  is available here – . It features a great deal of music.

and here,thomas-hocknell-9781911129035

and on ebook here –