Time Has Proved You Right

April 14, 2014

Tomorrow is the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. I’ve written about my experience before (Where There’s Blame There’s A Claim), and again shortly after the Hillsborough Independent Panel had published their finding (Vindicated Or Vindictive).

When the inspirational Anne Williams passed away I wrote a song – it was the only way I could think of to deal with what I was feeling (A Mother’s Love)

I began to get a bit frustrated by the lack of progress and the fact that the police service STILL seemed to be stalling as we learned that documents were coming to light that had not been made available to the HIP. (A Year And A Bit On)

On Wednesday, I am meeting with a civilian investigator from the new inquests to discuss the statement that I gave to West Midlands Police 25 years ago (actually on 19/11/1999 – 7 months after Hillsborough). There are things in the statement which I remember saying and happening, and a number of things which I don’t. Of course, 25 years on, my memory is blurred – as is my memory of much of the day itself – but I hope this will be an opportunity to set the record, as I remember it, straight.

There are others who have written and performed songs to try and express feelings and keep the events of that day in the present rather than have it consigned, unresolved, to the dustbin of history.

Cathryn Craig and Brian Willoughby wrote a song shortly after the HIP results were published. It says what I wanted to say far better than I ever could. Brian kindly sent me an MP3 of the song so that I could post it. It is far better quality than the video I posted a few days ago from when I met them both at Llyn Acoustic Guitar Festival last year.

c&b

Time Has Proved You Right

The song can be downloaded from iTunes – it’s only 79p – and a healthy percentage of that goes to the Hillsborough Families Support Group. Not only is it a great song, but it’s helping to make a difference.

Cathryn and Brian are performing at the Liverpool Acoustic evening on April 25th at the View Two Gallery, Matthew St, Liverpool,  L2 6RE.

It’s from their “Real World” album…please think about buying the song – or the full album; it’s full of great songs.

I hope that I only ever have to write one more blog post about Hillsborough – and that one will be titled “Justice – At Last”

#JFT96


jft96

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The First Palm Sunday

April 8, 2014

palm sunday

 

It was, as it usually was, a blazing hot day in Jerusalem. There were a fair few more people in the city than usual as pilgrims came from around the country to celebrate Passover and the streets were busy. The crowds were swelled by those who were hoping to catch a glimpse of the latest winner of the prestigious Temple (Wood) Turner prize for Carpentry, a certain Jesus from Nazareth, who was rumoured to be coming to the city to collect his prize.

The competition, whilst prestigious, was also mired in controversy with a number of previous winners having been discredited. Noah had been awarded the prize for his sculpture ‘A Big Boat’ but the general feeling was that, as the judging panel consisted of his wife and sons (due to nobody else being alive) the voting was possibly biased in his favour. Joshua was discredited when his sculpture ‘A Tree in wood’ turned out to be, well, a tree that had just grown rather than been carved.

Still Jesus’ entry into the competition “Loaves and Fish in Olive Wood” had been generally well received by the judging panel. The workmanship was naïve, certainly, but that lent a certain air of authenticity to the piece and, so long as he didn’t make a meal of winning…

Anna was polishing the buttons on her uniform. She was proud of the fact that she was the only woman currently serving in Blue Watch of the Jerusalem Municipal Fire Brigade. Actually, she was the only woman serving in any Watch of the JMFB and she knew she had to work twice as hard as a man would in order to be accepted but she had proved her value time and time again.

Her shift had started mid-morning and had been unremarkable so far. A couple of flat-bread ovens that had been left unattended had needed attention but, other than that, attending to her uniform was all that was occupying her time. And it needed to look good because, traditionally, the JMFB provided the guard of honour for the winner of the Temple (wood) Turner prize for Carpentry as he (or potentially she – but it had always been a ‘he’ for as long as anyone could remember) arrived in the city to receive the plaudits and the Golden Lathe trophy.

Just after one o’clock, she gathered with the rest of Blue Watch and marched in formation down to Lion’s Gate. It was certainly hot and uncomfortable in her full dress uniform and she was carrying the ceremonial bucket which was heavy but, thankfully, not as heavy as the ceremonial hose that was being hauled along on its trolley by Samuel and Aaron.

When they reached Lion’s Gate the crowd was even more populous than it had been in previous years – ten or fifteen deep in places with people hanging out of windows and on rooftops, too.

As the Watch members stood to attention it was clear that some of the crowd were being overcome by both the heat and the occasion, with ladies swooning quite regularly. If the situation carried on, and the crowd numbers continued to swell, it was quite likely that Jesus would be damned with fainting praise as he walked to the Temple to collect his prize.

And it was not just the crowd who were being overcome – after the exertions of hauling the ceremonial hosepipe through the City, Aaron and Samuel had been given leave to go and refresh themselves as they were looking decidedly peaky.

Captain Fadi, a wise and experienced man, knew that the crowd needed to be cooled down. He could hear the cheers of the crowd as those further down the slope of Mt Moriah got their first glimpse of the prize winner and the excitement reached boiling point. He ordered Anna to splash the crowd with water from the ceremonial bucket to cool them down – but it was having little effect.

“It’s not enough, Captain,” cried Anna, “we need to do more.”

Captain Fadi knew that the situation could quickly get out of hand and took a brave decision – despite Samuel and Aaron not being back yet, and although Anna was, as yet, untrained in its effective use, he yelled over the tumult “Hey, Anna, grab the hose – we’ll use that to spray the crowd.”

As is often the case in these situations (Matthew 18.2, John 6.9) there was a small boy nearby and he took up the Captain’s cry: “Anna, the hose”… soon all the crown joined in yelling

“Hose, Anna, Hey Anna, Anna, Anna, Hose, Anna Hey Anna, Hose, Anna”

“We need to get the spray over more people, Anna,” cried Captain Fadi, “climb onto the roof of the tallest building and spray from there”.

Once again, the crowd echoed his cries “Hose, Anna, in the highest!”

And THAT’s when Jesus entered Jerusalem.

So now you know.