If you think calling around for a coffin is weird, try asking for a body bag.

19 Dec


I have just completed the packaging design for my first recording since 2005. I figured after six years of silence a shot of me alive in a coffin would be a cool image for the cover. A sort of back from the dead thing.

You’d think finding a coffin for a photoshoot in the city of the ‘nearly dead’ would be an easy thing. I imagined every household in Oak Bay to have to have several on stand by for the occasion one of the residents expired. I figured I could make a few calls to the local funeral homes and get permission to use a floor model. Not the case. Turns out it is a sensitive topic. I did however find a home that would rent one to me. Apparently they had in the past for movie shoots. Turns out they have much higher budgets than I; $2,500 more. The funeral director was extremely helpful as well as serious about the proposition.

There are a few costs that I had not considered. The liner cannot be re-used. I said I would take my shoes off, he didn’t laugh. It’s a law. That makes sense since the temporary occupant may be a bit leaky. And there is the cost of transporting the coffin off site to do the shoot. They can’t have it done in their building. Fair enough, and for obvious reasons. Plus he would have to take in account that he is loosing potential revenue while the coffin is off site and unavailable to use for real corpses. He said he could probably swing it for me for just under $1,000. Since this is coming out of my pocket I had to decline.

I had seen a coffin for sale on UsedVictoria.com in October for $800 and that now seemed a fair price. I did some searching through my emails because I had to ask the seller questions back then because it’s not an item you find for sale every day. It had already sold. Damn. I figured I was now at a loss and I would have to re-concept. Then I got a new idea. What about a body bag? Way cheaper, and creepier. But where do you find one of those?

It’s really awkward. And I just didn’t know where to start. I called St. john’s Ambulance and had to leave a message. They didn’t return my call. I called the Coroner’s Office and they could even suggest who to call. A few places simply hung up.

It looked like I was stumped again. Then I thought, why not try my funeral director friend. He was helpful and didn’t act even the slightest bit phased. He said ‘Yes we do,’ and ‘yes we can.’ The cost? $28. And could I please bring exact change.

When I showed up to pick up the body bag he not only explained in detail how to use it but showed me everything else I could rent if I needed it: the hearses and the $1,000 coffin (which was sweet!). He seemed to want to give me a tour of the place. Maybe he just appreciated the company of someone alive.

Anyways, below is the finished image. Was it worth it?




11 Responses to “If you think calling around for a coffin is weird, try asking for a body bag.”

  1. Jody Beck (@jody_beck) December 19, 2011 at 11:29 am #

    Michael, this is not only creepy but highly entertaining. Good post. And congrats on getting back into the studio.

  2. Anonymous December 19, 2011 at 11:59 am #

    The crazy costs and intricacies of hiring a coffin did you a favor. A body bag is way cooler and edgier and I think it’s made for a stronger image with more intrigue. Entertaining story! — Amanda, CTV

  3. mtension December 19, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    Thanks Jody, feels really natural to be doing some music again. Cheers.

    Amanda, I agree. Things worked out better as it is. A coffin would suggest dead, body bag = maybe mistaken as dead.

  4. Stephan Rosger December 19, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

    Cool story bro.

    What’s the new band gonna be called?


  5. Michael Tension December 20, 2011 at 5:40 pm #

    No new band name Rosger, just doing the solo thing.

  6. Kristin Urbanheart Grant December 20, 2011 at 11:26 pm #

    Awesome.. love the concept of coming back from the dead to create a new album 🙂 Can’t wait to hear it!!

    The cover art totally rocks– love the smoke coming out of the body bag, and your piercing stare. Composition is great too with the tag in the corner 🙂 And the makeup I did is edited to perfection! Thanks for including me in the collaboration, I love working with eery concepts!

  7. Michael Tension December 20, 2011 at 11:36 pm #

    It’s all about the make up Kristen. Thanks for doing a great job. More creepy projects in the future, I promise.

  8. srosger December 22, 2011 at 1:12 am #

    I got your back!

  9. NicoleSorochan (@NicoleSorochan) December 22, 2011 at 9:56 am #

    Congrats Michael on an awesome new Album! Its been fun watching you put the pieces together this past year – seeing your creative genius at work – and by “at work” I mean, doing art for YOU – which is inspiring.

    Great post! I can hear your voice in the writing – or perhaps that’s because you read it to me before you posted 😛

  10. Michael Tension December 22, 2011 at 11:53 am #

    Thanks Rosger, I would love to do some more vid work with you. Get your ass back to the Island!

    Nicole, your idea to promote the record is awesome. Can’t wait to get started!

  11. Mary Harrison March 24, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

    Ola! Copelandcommunications,
    I know what you mean, well i ask this because (here are a few experiences iv had)
    1.2 weeks before the death of MJ, i was in a conversation with a friend,and out of no where, i just had this feeling ,also very few vision of MJ, i told my friend “I dont know why but i just got this feeling that MJ is going to die really soon” and so we started talking about it n chahnge subject blah blah~~
    then 2 weeks later, on the news said MJ has passed away! we both totally freaked out!
    2. 2 days before the death of a young cousin of mine, i had this dream, i was seeing that im(or who evers point of view i saw)im in a car, driveing on a road , i couldnt see the faces of people in it with me but i did know a female was driveing, and i just had this feeling they were my family, then i saw a coffin for some reason in that dream. i woke up and continue my day as i usually do, then 2 days later my family gets a call from our other family(my aunt called) members and how on the way to California, my young boy cousin passed away, its weird to here that because they where driveing to Cali.
    and last
    3.the other day walking home from school my bf and I stop by at his house because he wanted to drop off his book bag, i waited outside, then i just imagined?? or saw that when he got in his house he spilled his Arizona drink in his rooms floor wile putting his book bag down. when he finally came back outside from his house he told me “sorry i took long, i accidentally spilled my arizona in my room”and i told him what i saw and he said it happened exactly like that
    could i be psychic?

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