Like some I’ve no real time for public grieving and have been slightly irritated by the media-driven incidences of it recently over Diana…then I realised my own hypocrisy.
Back in 1989, I and three work colleagues were appointed from our place of work to drive to Liverpool and take the proceeds of a collection and lay a few flowers for the 96 dead of the Hillsborough disaster. As one might imagine, that particular matchday left a legacy in this city too as Forest were Liverpool’s opponents that day.
I still don’t regret doing that for any reason. Thinking about it draws me to examine what the difference in feeling was between that time and the Diana thing. There is a difference for me personally and it’s not all to do with being an anti-royalist (as I am). On that sorry occasion back in ’89 it was ordinary folk that suffered. Many, many, of them. It was senseless, avoidable and it affected guys just like me – people who were/are liable to be found doing something innocent like standing on a football terrace on a Saturday afternoon watching the team they love. Standing in a crowd cheering on ‘the lads’, the next moment laid out on a makeshift stretcher at the side of the pitch, devoid of breath and of life. I can publicly grieve about that because the situation is so crass. I don’t feel shame or any embarrassment in that.
In those days ‘public grieving’ wasn’t the industry it appears to sadly have become. The people who went to Anfield and stood four-deep in a queue hundreds of yards long outside the Shankly Gates did it because they cared for their fellow football supporters and regular guys. I firmly believe that. A couple of the lads I travelled with were huge Forest men and had no love for Liverpool football team whatsoever. They realised quite rightly that some things are much more important in life however – in spite of what Shanks said.
Just another slant on public grieving.
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