Sadly, Still Valid: Never Grow Up

In May 2017 we here in the UK experienced the atrocity of the terrorist attack in Manchester after a pop concert by Ariana Grande, which took 22 lives, many of them youngsters. Five years to the day after I posted a piece in memory of those who suffered we get the news that the latest atrocity in the US, made possible by their ludicrous gun laws, has so far taken the lives of nineteen young children and two adults. I don’t want to get into a debate about the US and its uncivilised ways, but I do want to take a moment to think of all those who are affected by such tragedies. The circumstances were different – a pop concert and a school – but the feelings of raw pain are still the same. In honour and memory of those innocent youngsters who died yesterday, this is what I posted on 24 May 2017:


Watching and reading the news yesterday about the suicide bomber who had killed 22 (mostly) young people in Manchester, I was struck by how incredibly sad it all was. The images of those who had been killed or were missing included so many who were children and teenagers. The youngest victim so far identified publicly was only 8 years old, and seeing pictures of her adorable face was heartbreaking.

It brought back for me the memories of the first pop concert my daughters went to. It was 29 March 1998, when Katy had just turned 12 and Ruth was 6. They went with their Mum to see the boyband 911 at Wembley Arena and, as in those days I worked near to the Wembley complex, I drove them up there and we had a pre-show picnic in my office. I have two abiding memories of the day: Ruth taking great delight from the open plan offices in a square building and running laps around the desks, and the way both girls were so vibrant, buzzing with delight when I picked them up after the show. The date is an easy one to check, as it was the day Chelsea played Middlesbrough in the League Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, adjacent to the Arena. I hadn’t realised that on big match days the short road linking our office to the Stadium became one way only, away from the Stadium, to help clear 80,000 supporters as quickly as possible. So, what was meant to be a two minute journey became an absolute nightmare with three very impatient passengers getting ever more nervous as we inched forward in heavy traffic going the long way round and the concert start time approached. In the end they had to do the last two hundred yards on foot, as it was far quicker, but at least they didn’t miss anything. I took Katy to a couple of other concerts there, but we didn’t have anything like the drama of that first one. Given the ages of those we know about from Monday, I suspect that for some of them it would have been their first pop concert, and they will have been going through all the anticipation and excitement that our two enjoyed leading up to their first show. But their parents won’t have been able to share in the after-show excitement, like I did, even though I didn’t actually go to it myself. My memories of that are stored away in my treasure chest of happy moments, and the victims’ parents have been robbed of that.

Somehow, as the memories came back, this song came into my head, and I couldn’t shift it:

As you can see from the lyrics, the song is about how we have moments when we wish that youngsters could be preserved exactly as they are, in their innocence and beauty. Sadly, many went to a pop concert – a joyful event – and a cruel murderer decided that their lives would go no further. Taylor Swift may not be to everyone’s taste and she often gets a bad press, but the simple beauty of that song is, I think, a fitting tribute to those whose lives were torn away from them in such a horrible manner. They will never grow up, and all that their parents, families and friends will have are memories of moments like those in the song. That can never be enough to make up for the terrible hurt they must be feeling now, and which will stay with them forever, but I hope it will help them. Time passes, and memories fade, but I’m sure they can hold onto as many as possible and will treasure them. That is the least they deserve, to try to fill the huge void in their lives. None of us who has children can begin to understand how those poor families are feeling, and it would be wrong of me to guess – it’s not something any parent should ever have to deal with. I just hope they have happy memories of those ‘never grow up’ moments.



27 thoughts on “Sadly, Still Valid: Never Grow Up

  1. I almost passed by this post without commenting, and maybe you’ll wish I had when I admit I’m one of those who has become numb to the violence. IDK if numb is the right word but clearly my feelings are shared by some of your readers, and maybe even you, that it will not change no matter how many innocent lives are taken by guns.

    IDK also if Taylor speaks for everyone in her generation. Her lyrics have always seemed to do so and have matured as she has. Did you hear her NYU commencement speech? It’s hard for me to take in the fact that she’s now 32 years old.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure if numb is the right word either, but I know what you mean. I’m not American but I despair of things ever changing there, and of the helplessness so many seem to be feeling when politicians just ignore such a major problem. I can’t see any answers any time soon, as that needs a collective willpower which I don’t think exists there.

      Taylor’s lyrics have indeed matured with her – as evidenced by her two most recent albums. This song is heartbreaking. Yes, I did see that speech on YouTube – rather more appropriate than the one given by a Congresswoman recently that got some bad press!


  2. Pingback: Last Of May | Take It Easy

  3. Thanks for the song and your sentiments, Clive. I don’t want to live in a world where we become numb to this type of senseless violence. How many more tragedies will it take before we tackle this problem in sensible ways?

    Liked by 2 people

    • I needed to do this, Pete. What needs to change is the NRA to stop buying politicians, and for a common sense approach to the 2nd Amendment. I can’t really see either happening any time soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you, Clive, for both your compassion and for sharing a snippet of your own. These are sad times here … and naturally, rather than pulling together to try to find solutions, the two very distinct sides began drawing the battle lines before the smoke even cleared. Sigh. 😔

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A lovely post Clive and a reminder of a terrible event brought back into sharper focus by the sickening events in Texas.

    And a very sweet song by an artist I was completely indifferent to until the album of covers of her songs by Ryan Adams, 1989, showed me what a terrific song-writer she is.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Paul. I felt sad writing it, as we shouldn’t have to have such reminders.

      That Ryan Adams album opened a lot of people up to Taylor’s music, and her more recent efforts have probably reinforced that.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. i love your choice of video, Clive…I was reading only the other day about how many deaths there have been this year so far through guns and now these poor innocent kids once again…slaughtered…x

    Liked by 2 people

    • When so many of your politicians have been bought by the NRA I can’t see things changing any time soon. And the justification – the 2nd Amendment- doesn’t mean what most interpret it to mean.

      Liked by 1 person

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