all my heroes

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what's getting my attention

It’s been a bad week for my heroes.  Hell no, it’s been a bad year, eh?

First the incredulity we felt when the words “David Bowie has died..” filtered through on 6Music, my husband and I looking at each other in utter shock, jaws slack.  He was my sound track, I WAS the girl with the mousy hair.

Then there’s been another host of sad news in between, this week followed by Victoria Wood.  A school friend emailed a group of us with that news, the unspoken significance right there.  We’d spent hours quoting her lines, one liners chucked between usual sixth form banter, friendships bonded over Wood and Walters.  When my friend Ju did his work experience in the local estate agents, his descriptions of “mardi gras peach” bathrooms were totally said and heard in a Wood/Walters kind of way.  I felt genuine sadness at the news.

And now Prince.  WTF?  Another sound track to my youth, this time the slightly older part of my teens and early twenties.  So it took my mind to all the public outpourings of grief.

I do get it. For the reasons I’ve just clumsily tried to articulate.  But at the same time, I don’t get it.  They were huge influencers, much loved and will be sorely missed.  But they weren’t actually part of our families nor inner circles of friends, as much as they may have felt like they were.

Is it in part, that their deaths also remind us that we too are ageing, and will never get our youth back? I’m really not asking this to be controversial, nor callous – I feel it. With every internal mutton-ometer check when trying on clothes, I miss my youthful self. I spend a disproportionate amount of time worrying about my mortality and being around “long enough” for the kids.

But I won’t be martyring my heroes because, after all,  they have all left us with their legacy. Their amazing creativity and music.

Don’t get me wrong I am hugely sad at their passing.  But my genuine full-on-crying-with-snot grief is still reserved for the family and friends I have lost, rather than my creative heroes, who actually will always live on, because in reality they were always untouchable. Their lives and their creativity were documented forever. And they’ll therefore always have a presence, just like they always did. Whereas, simply put, other than some fading photos, those who I have held dear in my life, won’t – just the memories of them and the way they made me feel…which adds to the heartache when I think of them.

So I leave this post with the words of Prince; as I’m determined to celebrate their lives rather than mourn their deaths.

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today, to get through this thing called life…”


  1. Anneka says

    Hmm interesting one this. On hearing the news of Bowie’s passing (also on 6 Music) I burst into tears. I wasn’t sure where that emotion came from, as I’ve never considered myself a huge fan. I have danced the night away to his classics, can recite sections of ‘Labyrinth’ and always admired his work but could definitely not claim to know him intimately. Yet, I was profoundly moved to hear of his death.

    And then when I heard about Prince, I was 6000 miles away on a paradise island, and the first thing I did was turn on 6 Music and listen to the fantastic Shaun Keaveney deal with his death in the most sensitive and celebratory way. When he played Stevie Wonder’s ‘Love’s in Need of Love Today’, I cried. In a full on crying-with-snot kind of way.

    I don’t think that by feeling emotional I am in any way suggesting that these icons were as close to me as family. But they fit into some other category. They are almost ‘otherworldly’. I don’t mean in the sense of celebrity status – but more that they appeared immortal and always managed to be there for us in times of trouble with their incredible music. So the fact that, in the end, they really are just as vulnerable as us and that their unique spirit has been stopped so abruptly in its tracks. I think it was that, that saddened me the most.



    • Thanks Anneka I love that you’ve engaged with this and yes I can totally understand this other view point! I do feel gutted they’re gone, just not on the same level as loved ones because the heroes really live on through exactly that, their amazing legacies. Thank you SO MUCH for getting involved xx


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