Usually you can watch the new with a sense of detachment. Sometimes however the news affects you presonally, and you have to take notice.
At 6:37pm pm on 30th April 1999, a nailbomb exploded in the Admiral Duncan on Old Compton Street, Soho, London. Andrea Dykes (27), Nick Moore (31) and John Light (35) were killed, and many others maimed and injured. The week before a bomb had blown up in Brick Lane (a Bangladeshi area) and the week before that in Brixton (a black area).
That evening, I was thinking of going out, but changed my mind since I was feeling tired. This was fortunate, as otherwise I would have walked into a scene of devastation. A cute leafletter by the name of Rob would have normally been standing in front of the window, but not that day. Many people thought "It could have been me; I could have been there". Many other people were there, and would have preferred not to be.
The perpetrator, David Copeland (22) was arrested a few days later, and has pleaded guilty to manslaughter but not to murder. The trial continues.
Many floral tributes were placed around the area. To protect them, they were moved to a corner of Soho Square, and JJ set up a 24 hour watch to protect them from vandals, and to offer sympathy to those whose friends (like his) had been caught in the blast. He lived and slept in the square for more than two weeks, determined that they would not suffer the fate of Steven Lawrence's tributes. He was assisted in this by a few people, including a couple of old acquaintances of mine.
I had not fully appreciated Diana when she was alive, but one evening as I got home from a night out, I turned on the telly to see the story of the Paris car crash slowly unfold, and a sense of horror overtook me.
The sense of mass sadness was new to me, but swept me up in it, as I remembered all her good points and recast any foibles as being character building.
I was impressed with how quickly the funeral was arranged, with giant screens in Hyde Park for a rather large crowd, and an escort and a crowd that showed the breadth of her appeal.
Copyright © 2000, 2005 Carl Muller (firstname.lastname@example.org). All Rights Reserved.