A little earlier this morning, I looked at a news site and found myself face to face with a shocking account of the kind of events that seem like they belong in a much worse part of the past, rather than the present day. The worst terror attack on British soil since 2005. An attack on a concert hall in Manchester. For a while, I was completely lost for words. But then I felt that I had to say something.
Although I’ve only ever been to Manchester maybe once or twice and have never seen a concert there, I’ve been to concerts in other parts of the UK during my mid-late teens and early twenties. Concerts are wonderful things. They’re a space of pure excitement, fun and joy.
They’re somewhere where you can lose yourself in music and daydreams for an hour or two. They’re the kind of intense experience where you sing along until your throat is hoarse and listen until your ears ring. They’re somewhere where the songs that you listen to in the background during everyday life literally come to life in a way that is difficult to describe unless you’ve experienced it.
Concerts are concerts. Most people who have been to concerts by their favourite bands will probably have a similar joyous story to tell. Concerts are the kind of places where, even if you’re normally shy around crowds, it doesn’t matter because everyone around you is enjoying the music too and has something in common with you.
There is nothing else quite like a concert. They’re truly brilliant things. So, the idea that anyone would want to destroy or attack them is almost unimaginably horrific. The idea that anyone’s soul or personality could be so evil and twisted to see a place that exists purely for the purposes of bringing some joy and happiness into this drearily miserable world and then decide that they want to destroy it almost seems impossible to comprehend.
As well as being a disgustingly barbaric attack on innocent people (including children!), this latest atrocity (like the Bataclan attack in France) is also a disturbing attack on everything that concerts represent. Joy. Community. Happiness. Fun. Enthusiasm. Friendship. Imagination. Creativity.
Regardless of who the murderer turns out to be or what ideology he followed, one thing is certain. He hated these things. He saw somewhere where people went to have fun and feel happy and it disgusted him so much that he wanted to replace it with pain, fear, misery and death.
So, the only thing to do in this situation is not to let him win. To defy him. Even if you don’t feel like going to a concert or can’t go to a concert, get your favourite CD or click on your favourite playlist and turn the volume up as loud as you can – and make this vile murderer spin in his grave! Show him the utter contempt and disgust that he deserves!
Because, as shocking and horrific as the events of yesterday evening were, we can either cower in fear or we can stand up against the terrifying idea that there should be no place for joy, fun, happiness or creativity in the world. And, if there’s anything that the world needs at the moment, it is these things!
[Edit: 1:24pm, I’ve just made a very slight change to the phrasing of one part of this article since, in my haste, I got an expression slightly wrong. Still, the sentiment remains the same.]