On Childhood Icons

Yesterday the death of yet another of my childhood heroes was announced; David Bowie, so soon after Lemmy from Motorhead and even Ed Stewart has finally left the building. I used to look forward to Crackerjack on a Friday afternoons, and that is not a euphemism. But as was pointed out to me very recently, I am now at an age where my childhood heroes, being at least twenty years older, will be disappearing all too soon.

Even so, I have never been someone who gave a public display of grief, and whilst I appreciate that many people feel it a necessary thing to do, I simply don’t understand it. I respect the right of others to visit significant sites or lay flowers, but I feel very awkward when faced with it, because I just do not feel the same way. It’s not that I don’t miss people – I do, often very deeply – but even where family members are concerned, grief is something I keep behind a closed door.

There may also be a certain amount of jadedness creeping in, as quite a few of my childhood heroes now have blackened reputations – yes, Messrs Glitter and Harris, I’m talking about you – so I find it very hard now to feel anything other than relief that they’ve gone. I’m not sure how I will feel when Rolf Harris finally leaves us; I always used to watch his art programmes when I was growing up, but it doesn’t feel right now to grieve over a convicted sex offender. But he was a key part of my childhood and I shall miss him.

This is very hard for me to write, because I don’t want to trample on other people’s grief – I know it is very real for them, and I do respect it – but I simply don’t feel the same way any more. Perhaps I’m just getting old, and the loss of my heroes is something I’m now becoming much more used to. One thing is for certain – they may have left us in body, but in their work they will live on.


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