How the predictable can be sad

Who would have thought that some sympathy would cause so much agitation? When Amy Winehouse died on Saturday, we didn’t just lose one of the greatest singers of our time. Her parents lost a daughter, many lost a friend. Yet, most of Amy’s obituaries, along with endless angry tweets and facebook updates, were preoccupied by pondering the apparently surprising scenario that her death left thousands if not millions of people shocked, sad, almost speechless. Amy’s destructive lifestyle had been well-documented by the media: we shouldn’t be surprised, so we shouldn’t be sad. As if the death of a young person could ever really be comprehensibly predictable, because of addictions or depressions or self harm or long lists of tablets you...

Continue reading

Selfish, depressed fuckers

I sat on the tube the other day as an announcement came: “The Piccadilly Line will from now on run with some delays due to a person under a train at Arnos Grove. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.” In front of me: a row of tired, annoyed faces. Tutting and sighing all round. That particular day, for some reason, the absurdity struck me: it was an announcement like any other, a reason for delays like any other. Yet another voice mechanically apologising for the inconvenience of someone killing themselves on the particular tube line YOU depend on. People are in a hurry, you know. They have meetings to attend, emails to reply to, bosses to face. Almost everyone in the whole world is busy enough to get seriously annoyed...

Continue reading