One More Time

Like you, I was horrified to wake up last Tuesday and discover 22 people had lost their lives in a bombing at a concert in Manchester.

The fact that the artist performing, Arianna Grande, appealed to teens and a younger audience made the casualty list all the sadder to contemplate.

But for my family things were made more alarming by the fact our daughter goes to Manchester University, lives in the city, and could have decided to go to the venue with her friends for a night out. She may have forgotten to tell us, or it could have been a last minute decision to join her mates and sing along to the hits in what should have been a safe environment. One frantic call reassured us that she was fine, though upset as her friend who does some shifts at the Manchester Arena had proved harder to get hold of. In the end, thankfully, she too was safe.

A lot of nonsense is spoken by well meaning people after a saddening event like this. An hour after waking up I had my first social media request to buy Grande’s hit song One Last Time to “get this song to number one for those who died.” Now there are several daft things about this idea, not the least being that those who passed away don’t listen to the chart show wherever they are now, so how it’s supposed to give them a feeling of solidarity is beyond me. Were the songwriters giving their royalties to the families to help support them? No. So, what was the point?

I guess the point is the same as those hundreds of balloons and more than 4,000 bouquets of flowers in Manchester’s St Anne’s Square. We want to do something to make things better, but we don’t have a clue what that should be. It shows a togetherness during a period of fear, and we have to hope that it gives some solace to relatives left devastated, and those still in hospital.

Two days after the attack I went to Manchester and took my daughter out for dinner. The town was packed, the restaurants full, pubs overflowing, and it looked like any other busy city basking in the evening sunshine with people drinking outside and carrying on.

And perhaps that’s the only tribute that matters. Remembering those who have died whilst sending the message that, no matter how evil, these warped idiots just cannot win.