Latest news on the bombings…

From the BBC new site – that’s a page that acts as a bit of a hub for the latest news on the bombing. The death toll has risen to ‘more than 50’ – they still don’t know how many are going to be pulled out of the Russell Square crash.

One of the odd things that happens with tragedies and disasters is that place names take on a different resonance – Columbine, Lockerbie, Hungerford, Dunblane, Burnley (forever tainted by getting a BNP councillor in a local election a couple of years ago), Aberfan, Faluja, Dresden, Hiroshima…

Kings Cross already has had a huge fire which took a lot of lives.

Now Russell Square and Tavistock Square – two of my favourite places in central London – have a new resonance. Russell Square is where I get off the tube when I go into town. It means that a) I get to walk through the lovely square itself, and round past the British Museum and b)I get some much-needed exercise, walking a mile further than I would otherwise walk.

Tavistock Square is a particularly tragic place for such an event, as it’s a peace garden. There’s a statue of Ghandi in the middle of the square, and I’ve been there for candle-lit peace vigils before now. You can’t get much further from peace than a bus being blown to bits. I can’t imagine what the people who saw it happen must be feeling. That’s going to stick with you a long time. We’re so used to footage of people in the middle east crying hysterically at the sight of buildings and vehicles that have been blown apart. When it happens in London, it all seems like a bad dream. But it’s the same pain, the same trauma, the same confusion. Maybe we’ll see the pain of bomb-footage from round the world with fresh eyes again after this… who knows.

here’s some eye-witness accounts of what actually happened – the reporting on this has been so mixed, with some news agencies being guilty of the most heinous speculation, like they are hoping it’s going to be a bigger and bigger story. The BBC news web-site remains just about the best place for up-to-date info.

SoundtrackKris Delmhorst, ‘Songs For A Hurricane’; Tom Waits, ‘Real Gone’.

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