I watched a wonderful, sensitively done, moving, based on true life drama, called A Song For Jenny. It's based on a book of the same name. It's about a female Vicar's experience of losing her daughter on her way to work in the bomb at Edgeware Road tube station on 7 July 2005. It perfectly shows how those suicide bombers ended the lives of many people they didn't know and therefore affected hundreds and thousands of others with that grief.
I cried, almost non-stop from start to finish. There are some very powerful scenes where she goes to the tube station where the bomb went off. She sees the police photos of her daughter's body. There's a wonderful scene where a taxi driver takes her all the way from Edgeware Road station to her family in Reading. She asked for a taxi to Paddington station, where she could have got a train to Reading, and once the taxi driver hears why she was in London, he says he'll look after her and take her all the way to her destination. He says she probably thinks there aren't many nice people in life, but he wants to show here that's not the case. So beautiful.
On that day, I was 1 month into my first central London job, in Victoria, before that having worked in outer west London / Middlesex, depending on how you view London.
Here's an extract of my diary from that day: [additional comments I've added now in brackets]
Very busy packed journey into work. Piccadilly line is delayed. Feel a bit pissed off – but arrive at 8.40 ok. Then it emerges a bomb has gone off at Liverpool Street. Go into week ahead meeting video conference with Leeds [office] – no one there seems arsed. After the meeting at 10.30 get back and there are reports of bombs at stations all over central London. Not knowing where, I ring BF's office, the phones aren't working as they're overloaded. Start to panic. Ring BF's mobile and he answers, which is such a reassuring feeling. [There was a lot of emotional mobile phone calls in the office that morning as people received calls from family, or called loved ones working in other parts of London]. We are advised to stay in the building, especially as they find two suspect packages at Victoria station.
Sit watching it unfold on the TV in the office. There were bombs on trains at: Edgeware Road, Kings Cross, Aldgate, Liverpool Street, Russell Square and a bus bomb in Russell Square. Initially we [me and the boyf] still plan to meet for a meal then shopping but by 1.00 it's apparent that everyone's leaving by car. Office manager goes around and does a brilliant job at organising shared cabs by geographical location. I leave at 2.30 with Dan, James and this girl Rachel and Jenny. Jenny freaks out and runs back – she's Australian and regretting moving to London. Dan runs back to retrieve her but had lost her.
On the way back we discuss going to The Birdcage [gay pub] together. Dan goes home first as he wants to change. James and I go straight to The Birdcage and start drinking cosmopolitans at 4.00! Dan arrives at 6.00. James and I bonded over eighties music and films, Dan arrived and talked about work and how hard he worked at our conference. We disagreed on unions and lots of other stuff. He likes to go out in the week and be tired at work. MAD. Dan leaves at 7.00. Speak to [my friend] Dean who had his graduation ceremony [for uni] – glad he avoided Bank and Liverpool Street stations. He starts his new job on Monday.
At 7 James's boyf Paul and friend Susan arrive. Susan [is a nurse and] works at University College London Hospital and helped out in today's atrocities. [She didn't want to talk about it, which is why I didn't write anything in my diary. She had a keep calm and carry on attitude to the whole thing which I think is admirable.] Paul is very friendly and they are a lovely couple. Go back to their flat on Chiswick High road. Watch Erasure and Human League music DVDs – a concept I will invest in. Have Nando's food – chicken with chicken! Get very drunk on Pimms with gin...
The next day I got right back on the Tube and went to work again. Because you must. You must continue living.
A few weeks later I received an email from a man who was due to meet me and my team in Victoria. He apologised but said he couldn't come to London from somewhere in the Home Counties, since what had happened, he was worried about his safety and he'd be in touch. He said I was so brave for travelling on the Tube in London.
My colleagues and I found it patronising to the highest degree. I, and millions of others weren't brave for travelling on the Tube in London, we had no choice. I lived in London, like 8 million other people and I worked in London like many more. I had to get on with my life.
And I think that's the best two fingers up to the bombers, to continue with your life, to not let their disgusting behaviour affect your life, and how you think about the many millions of other people – of all nationalities and backgrounds – and most of them being good kind people, like the taxi driver.
Spare a thought for all the families affected by losing people in the bombings ten years ago today.
Liam Livings xx