7 years ago I was only a few blocks away from a terrorist attack

7 years ago I was in England for the first time, on holiday in London with my dad, sister and grandfather. 7 years ago there was a terrorist attack in London, 4 bombs went off the morning of 7th of July 2005, three in tube trains and one on a bus. Two of those bombs went off in the streets next to the hotel we were staying at. While we were there. I was quite young at the time, but this is what I remember of that day.

The day started as any day on holiday, with breakfast and talking about what we were going to do that day. Whether to get the bus, the tube or get a taxi, that sort of stuff. We were almost finished when a waiter came over and said “Please come with me, there has been an incident”. So we did, along with everyone else in the hotel we were led to a conference room and asked to stay there until they had further information. At this point we had no idea what was happening, no one did, it was probably within the hour of the bombs going off. So we sat, and waited. Talked to people. Everyone wondering what was going on. Trying to not get too scared or freaked out. Sitting like that waiting and not knowing what’s going on, while knowing that something bad actually has happened really freaks out out. It was clearly something serious since we were all put in the same room and asked not to leave, yet not judged dangerous enough for us to have to leave the building. Was it some kind of attack? A big one?  Was it over, or was this just the beginning?  Would it be more that would hit us? Who was it? Another country? Terrorist attacks? Just some crazy individuals? Were we in danger? At this point, these and other similar questions were running through the minds of everyone, as we had no idea what had happened.

After a while we were told that there had been bombs going off nearby and that the police was working on finding out what had happened. It was scary. The whole atmosphere in the large conference room was filled with worry and fear. Hearing what was going on wasn’t very reassuring, even though it made sense that it probably weren’t any more bombs, as there hadn’t been any more explosions for hours. Phones were brought in so people could call their relatives to let them know that they were ok, as at this point it was in the news all over the world and the mobile network wasn’t working properly. Probably overloaded.  Seeing people sitting along the walls talking in phones or waiting for a free phone, in all kinds of languages is something I remember clearly even now.

We were updated relatively regularly, as more information about what actually had happened was found. We were still not allowed to leave though, other than some people being allowed a quick trip up to hotel rooms to pick up books or something else to help the waiting. I remember my dad doing that, and even though there probably weren’t any danger at this point, I was so, so worried the whole time he was away. It felt like he was gone for ages. Of course he was fine and it probably didn’t take more than 10-15 minutes, but I still remember my stomach hurting because I was so afraid that something would happen while he was there and that he wouldn’t come back.

The streets nearby was closed for traffic, and so there were no food deliveries that day. While several hundred people had to stay inside the hotel, many of which hadn’t even had breakfast, or at least not finished eating it. Luckily there was supposed to have been a conference with lunch included that day, so there was food to serve us. Even so it was rationed out, so there would be enough for everyone. People with children first, meaning us, along with some other families. For me it was enough food, or at least I can’t remember being hungry afterwards.

Eventually, sometime in the afternoon or evening, we were allowed to leave. I don’t know how many hours we sat there, but it was the better part of the day. Outside the hotel, two of the streets  directly next to the hotel were blocked off. And I don’t mean a small fence, but a huge plastic sheet going from one building to the other. We could see reporters standing a block up the street filming and talking, as they weren’t allowed as close to the barriers as the hotel was.

We didn’t do much the rest of that day, other than having dinner and going to our rooms. With express command from my dad that me and my sister should not turn on the TV in our room. He didn’t actually command it, he never commands things, but it was a very strong suggestion, and as we both respect out father, as well as having no great wish of seeing the damage, in spite of curiosity, we didn’t turn on the TV. Even today I still haven’t seen any pictures or video of what happened, or even know more than the general story of what happened. And I’m ok with that. Even though we weren’t in any real danger at any point, we didn’t know that at the time, and it was still a frightening experience and I think not seeing news stories has made it easier to deal with it.

I don’t know how many were hurt or killed or how much damage was done, but my heart goes out to everyone who were killed or hurt in the bombings and I hope everyone who were hurt have recovered and have no lasting injuries today.

Rammstein!

I’m one of those people who like sort of metalish music, and a few weeks ago I got to see my favourite band of all time, namely Rammstein.  I’ve liked this band since I was 13-14 years old, and this was the second time I’ve seen them live. It was EPIC!  They were playing in several cities in England, and so I took the train to Newcastle as it was the closest option for me. I also happen to have a friend who studies there, which made it even more convenient, not to mention nice to see her again. I got an early train on purpose so I could spend the day with her, which was great.

As soon as I got on the train I saw some other people who were going to the same concert. How did I know? They were wearing Rammstein t-shirts of course, or a t-shirt of another similar band. When we were walking around in Newcastle I saw more and more (by that time I was one of them myself, having changed into one of my Rammstein t-shirts at my friend’s place) wandering the street. It’s a really cool feeling, seeing so many people dressed in a similar way for a day, just because you are all going to the same event. It feels like you’re all a part of an extended family, even if you have no clue who anyone else is. It feels like you’re not the only person who is different than “normal” people. I like it, and I like being different.

We went to Metro Arena where the gig was quite early, because really, that’s what all real fans do. Where I bought another t-shirt, because that’s what real fans do as well…and I also really like the designs. Eventually the warm-up band started, a Scandinavian (I think) band called Deathstar, which I’ve never heard about, but they were actually pretty decent. And then…they came on stage.

Rammstein is a German band and almost all their songs are in German, so I mostly have no idea what they actually sing about as I don’t speak German, but I don’t really care as I like the music anyway (and I bet it’s more interesting lyrics than, say, all mainstream music). Still, I sing along basically all the time, as I know how all the lyrics sound, even if I can’t pronounce it all or know what I’m saying.

I won’t say much about when they actually played, as it’s something you have to experience to understand, words just can’t convey how it was. Or at least I can’t, with my second-language English. What I will say though, is that they are great, and they do it so, so well.   If I could I would have followed their tour and seen them several times in a row, as they played in several other cities in England around the same time as I saw them in Newcastle, but unfortunately there is this thing called university classes and money which are sort of necessary.

This Rammstein concert and the one I was at two years ago when I saw them for the first time are the best gigs I’ve ever been to, ever.Partly because the music is fantastic and I know and really like all the lyrics which makes everything more fun and partly because they do it so well. They don’t just stand there looking bored and singing half-heartedly, they make a show of it and acts like they actually care about making it worthwhile for people to come see them.They don’t do silly, stupid things on stage just to get attention, but awesome things which fits really well with the music and just makes the whole experience better.  Such as in the picture here where they actually had this bridge coming down from the ceiling and walking across it to get to the stage instead of doing the normal boring thing of entering through the back of the stage, and also used it several other times during the gig. I mean, come on, a bridge, coming down from the celing, being just over our heads. Or like in the other picture here, during the song “Engel”, which means angel (no shit sherlock), when he’s wearing those cool wings. Maybe it’s just me being a bit of a pyromaniac, but it’s just awesome with flames used in ways like that.

It’s hard to describe in words how great it really was, especially for someone who hasn’t experienced a concert  with this kind of music, or someone who doesn’t like it to understand. It’s incredible, with the music, the show, the flames, the atmosphere, the occasional mosh pits, the people, everyone (including me) singing along whatever parts of the lyrics we could pronounce and just moving with the music…it was just fantastic, and I’m really looking forward to whenever I can get to see them again. Hopefully it won’t be too long.


What music do you like?