Some people just aren’t really that into music. I’m not one of those people.
It was music that fuelled my early teenage years, music that excited me and moved me and gave me that passion for life, so necessary during that awkward period of growing up. I’d go to severals concerts a year, any chance I could get to see my favourite bands and artists. I remember writing countdown charts in the corners of schoolbooks with my mates, excitement growing (and concentration waning, a source of much exasperation for my teachers) as gig day drew ever closer.
And in those earlier years it was my parents who took me to those concerts. It was my mum and dad who’d drop me off, and they who would wait patiently for me outside the venue after it was finished. I’d always tell them ‘I’m fine! You don’t need to meet me right outside, I’m old enough!’, but of course they always would.
Going to a gig was simply the most exciting thing I’d ever done, and with each concert that feeling never dampened. To be amongst hundreds of strangers, all sharing those same feelings, made me feel included. Powerful? Safe.
So for somebody to target this safe haven, this sanctuary and source of joy for so many following a concert in Manchester is nothing less than despicable. It’s an attack on what live music stands for, it rips it from its foundations and leaves it vulnerable. And today I feel it, weighing heavy on my heart – more so than anything like this has done before. It just hits close to home.
I don’t really have any advice to give in the aftermath of this. I don’t have any thoughts on why this happened, because I don’t understand it, nor do I have any on what should happen now as a result. And of course, we aren’t alone; the people of Paris, Brussels, Nice, and countless other cities know this feeling only too well. But I think it’s worth considering that statement in another light – we are not alone. Because in dark times we come together. The people of Manchester will undoubtedly come together, being made of stronger stuff than most.
In this instance, I’ll find solace in my love for music, in my memories of being part of a music community that welcomed everyone. A shared love of what we listen to has no boundaries – and I don’t think anyone will ever break that.
Thoughts and love to everyone involved.