In early November 2015, France shook on its foundations as its very heart, the center of Paris, was the scene of some of the most gruesome attacks on innocent lives in Western Europe since the second world war.
People drinking coffee on a terrace, people watching a rock concert, people attending a football match. Each the last thing they would ever do. Their last seconds must have been in utter amazement, how their relatively peaceful, safe lives were invaded so violently. The damage that they witnessed was so beyond comprehension, that they might have thought that the world was coming to an end.
France responded predictably, despite many people’s hopes that it wouldn’t. Not just roaring in pain, but offended at the attackers’ judgment on our way of living, they redoubled their involvement in the mind-blowingly naïve “war on terrorism” by sending boats and airplanes, to bombard tactical hotspots from a distance, pointed out by informants who may or may not be personally involved with the people who never saw the rockets coming.
Fighting fire with fire, hatred with hatred.
My colleagues and myself feel personally involved because of the nature of the crimescene: Many attacks took place on our turf, the entertainment industry. Stadiums, music venues and bars is where we operate. If those nutjobs would have chosen Brussels as their target, there is a high chance some of us Belgian crew would have been a witness.
At the Stade de France, the bombers got turned away by security. They were about to get caught and from the rumors that I heard, they had to make a run for it and detonated prematurely because they saw no way out. The human loss in their actions is tragic but imagine if security had been slacking on the job? Those few men and women saved dozens of lives inside that stadium and I suppose next time, I’ll think twice before picking a fight with difficult security.
Brussels is in a state of alertness: Threat level 4. To paint the picture: Threat levels only go up to 4. It means that the threat is immediate, and serious. Level 3 is level “probable”. So judging from their scale, it would appear that both the people and the equipment to fuck us up are present in Brussels.
This decision was made just as I was trying to get my car out of the garage (I’ll need to discuss that slippery ramp with my land lord) to spend the weekend in Antwerp, on a 30-hour job for both Night of the Proms and The Scorpions as crew chief.
Both my backpack and pockets were thoroughly checked as I came in. I understand that they didn’t trust the tube-shaped bag that I was carrying, which turned out to contain helmets, neatly stacked on top of each other.
“Don’t do anything stupid, the damn army are patrolling the hallways,” I was told. And so they were: commandos at the gates. I passed on the message to my colleagues, some of which have slightly anarchist tendencies at inconvenient moments.
I realized that, with Brussels on lockdown and all events cancelled there, anyone with ill will might choose to relocate to the next big thing. And the venue that I was walking into, happens to be the biggest thing in Belgium. If bad shit were to happen, it was to happen then and there.
But it didn’t. Life went on. Still does. The commandos left, their weapons that I recognized so readily, pristine as they were before. I rolled my eyes at the urge to salute them.
It would almost seem like nothing had happened and our government is just making a big scene again.
The Eagles of Death Metal, who don’t play death metal at all (do your fucking research), had their show at venue Le Bataclan, where the attacks took place. Jesse Hughes, lead singer, gave an interview with Vice that they are putting on their website some time next week. And of course, they had to make a trailer about it. Google and ye shall find.
Let me know the gist of it later, because there is no way in hell I am watching that pile of bad luck. The trailer alone destroyed me. I haven’t got the slightest how the band members -or anyone present for that matter- will ever get over this.
Remember the names: Nick Alexander and Nathalie “Nathalight” Jardin, merchandise manager and light designer respectively. They were colleagues of ours, murdered by sick bastards on November 13th, a Friday night like any other.
Thomas Ayad. Marie Mosser. Manu Perez. Managers of Downtown Records, were in the crowd. They too were killed.
Make no mistake: Our sense of family goes out to all people across the world. But when it involves people we’ve met face-to-face, in the environment of our job, we raise our glass and bid them farewell.
If by nothing else, by re-thinking what happened, and realizing that bombs are not the answer.
Here’s to the victims of our madness.
“Last Friday, at the Bataclan, among the victims of the outburst of hate and violence, was Nathalie Jardin, our lighting designer…she had joined the Fatals Picards family on March 14, 2014, and ever since that day, she always gave us her very best. We have lost a buddy, a friend, a little sister, an adorable person whose professional conscience, integrity, joie de vivre, sweetness, strong character, and sensibility we will greatly miss.
We also remember Nathalie for—and the list is far from complete—her passion for life, her love of music, her new interest in surfing and the sea, her “Grenoble,” her “Dave Grohl,” her talent for making punch before a concert, her capacity to eat an entire bowl of fruit salad, her murmur of disapproval when we decided to change the set list at the last minute…
The enormous pain we feel is in keeping with the love we have for her.
Nathalie, we miss you.
We send our thoughts and most sincere condolences to your family, and your friends, as well as everyone who knew you one way or another. Our thoughts also go to the family and friends of all the other victims of such barbaric acts, no matter where, no matter when.”