Glasgow may be the UK’s fourth largest city but at the moment it feels like a small place. I’ll always be an east coaster but I’ve spent a lot of time there over the past 5 years, had a pint in lots of pubs, seen a few ska bands play. As the news of the helicopter crash at The Clutha broke on Friday night, I had several jolts of realisation that this was really very close to home as more details came out. Been in that pub, fuck. Seen that band play. Shit. Is anyone I know in there?
After a few anxious private messages with people, I watched the next morning as my facebook and twitter feeds began to fill up with worried friends looking for answers, or doing their best to help other worried friends, or like me expressing a general sense of the jarring feeling seeing this mundane familiar place on 24hr rolling news.
‘Have you seen big ——? He’s not answering his phone and we think he was in that pub last night’
‘This is ——, no-one’s heard from him since yesterday evening, please if you know he’s ok get in touch’
Gradually the ‘please look out for —–‘ messages and photos petered out as it became obvious that there just wasn’t going to be a happy resolution. We all watched hopelessly as the news got worse.
Later other chance near misses became apparent. A friend of a friend who works as a fireman nearby and often has a drink in The Clutha after finishing a shift. But not that Friday.
Brief glimpses of the lives of those who died are released by the press. Political poetry written by one of the last to be named is flying around the internet. I read it and think, what a sad loss. This is a guy who was really one of us.
The vast sudden unfairness of life is thrown into cold relief. How can you go out for a drink on a Friday, like any other Friday, and just not come home?