This weekend I had planned to post reports from the Louder Than Words festival in Manchester in which I took part, but somehow that all seemed a bit trivial compared to the awful events in Paris so I never got around to it. The horror was intensified for me by the fact that a rock concert at the Bataclan was targeted, and that this attack – where 89 people died – was the bloodiest of the four atrocities carried out on Friday night. It later transpired that among the victims was a music writer called Guillaume Decherf, there to review the band playing, The Eagles of Death Metal, whose most recent album he had just reviewed for the French magazine Zipper Down. Since 2008 Guillaume had written for the magazine Les Inrockuptibles with which I am familiar.
Of course I did not know Guillaume but I can feel a real sense of loss because he and I clearly chose the same way of life, albeit it 25 years apart. According to reports I read on the Internet, Guillame and a friend had made a dash for the exit of the music hall when the shooting started. “When he [the friend] turned around, Guillaume was not with him so he basically walked around looking… and couldn’t find him,” another friend Talia Soghomonian told the BBC.
“His wife later reported Guillaume was missing… and the police said you will just have to wait until we are able to find everybody. Earlier she got confirmation that his body had been found at the morgue.”
Another report said that Guillame was “43 going on 23”, and was married with two young daughters who kept asking where their daddy was. “His passion was music and writing and he lived off that,” said Ms Soghomonian. Which just about sums me up really, expect that I’m 68 going on 28. The difference is that I’m still alive.
My heart goes out to all those who are bereaved by this senseless, pointless, murderous attack on innocent people enjoying a Friday evening at the end of the week, and in particular to Guillame’s family, and to the families of two other music industry professionals killed in this attack: Thomas Ayad, an international product manager for Mercury Records, and Nick Alexander, a Briton who was selling merchandise at the Bataclan.
These three tragically unlucky victims, all part of the same industry in which I have now worked for 45 years, ought to be back at their place of business this morning; Guillame putting the finishing touches to his review, Thomas working on a marketing campaign for some new Mercury signing and Nick reordering new stocks of merchandise from t-shirt manufacturers.
I’m so lucky to be sat at home typing this.