In the wake of the Arena bomb, the city drew the creatives to itself, as though, in some act of self-healing catharsis, beauty was brought to counter the ghastly.
Along the city’s highways, and especially in St Anne’s Square which was fast becoming the focus for the people’s outpouring of grief and defiance, artists could be seen hunched over easels and pavement flagstones, etching hearts, bees and other symbols of resilience onto the bones of her wounded body.
Even now, on the eve of the anniversary, we turn to art to express our deepest responses.
In the wake of the Arena bomb, musicians could be found playing the music of their fellow Mancunians; recognisable core DNA transmuted through classical, reggae and ballads of bleeding. Mourners broke vigils with spontaneous outpourings of adopted anthems.
Even now, on the eve of the anniversary, we quote the words of some of her favourite sons.
Tomorrow is twelve months. The healing goes on.
The conception of ‘(He)art’ was created by my fellow blogger Laura Bruno Lilly. http://laurabrunolilly.com/blog/
(Things have got heavy here on City Jackdaw, understandably so. This will be, I think, my final post on the Manchester bombing. At least for a while. And here are some final photographs: some inspiring, some personal, some heartbreaking. Thank you for acting as witness with me.)
There are still many armed police on the streets. I saw one heading for the Gents toilet in the Arndale shopping centre. “Do you want me to mind that while you go in?” I asked him, indicating his gun. He laughed. I’ve seen other officers reassuring children, placing their helmets onto young heads for photographs.
Meanwhile, outside, still the flowers grow.
Then, somewhere beyond this transformed square, a lone piper began to play.
“I don’t want to grow up,” she replied. I can understand why.
Remembrance of the twenty two.
Victoria train station, through which the Arena (site of the bombing) can be accessed, has now reopened. Samaritan volunteers were present everywhere, handing out cards for anyone who may need help. Above the platform scaffolding shows where the damage is still being repaired, draped by one of the We Love Manchester signs that adorns the city.