Let’s try a little thought experiment. I need you to take three ideas on board for this to work:
Firstly, I have died.
Secondly, there is life after death and the dead can watch the living (although, just to keep it calm, let’s say they go off and hang out at the beach while we have sex and stuff).
Finally, that one of my daughters is phenomenally talented and has landed a recording contract and released a couple of great albums, one of which has been really successful.
(Actually, post-finally, I am actually grouping myself with all of you when it comes to the point I’m making here.)
Anyway, my daughter, let’s call her Amy (which, in fact, is similar to one of my daughters’ names) has just released this second album, which is doing very well. I’m watching all this – I’m dead, remember – from heaven. I’m pleased for Amy and I’m also really pleased with you all for buying her album and going along to her concerts and cheering and buying tour merchandise. (I’m also watching Amy to make sure she shares her good fortune with her siblings. But that’s not really relevant.)
So, just to recap, I’m dead but watching, Amy’s doing very well and you are all supporting her. Brill.
Now our thought experiment darkens: it transpires that Amy has a drink and drug problem. Not just a drinking more than she should and occasionally dabbling problem but A Proper Problem. I can’t help from where I am (heaven, I would hope) but she has lots of fans and people at her record company looking out for her not to mention the members of her family who are still alive, so, despite my impotent position, I’m relieved that the issue is out in the open and someone will help.
Actually, though, it’s not quite panning out like that. Things seem to be getting worse for Amy now. It’s breaking my heart to see the situations she’s getting into but, much as I’ve always hated the gutter press, they are following her and taking photos of her dreadful state and splashing it all across their front pages, so at least all the good people – the people who buy her records and who love her and who don’t work for the tabloids – know she’s in trouble, so she’s not suffering in secret, all the drinking and the drugs and the self-harm.
Still, reassuring though that is, I’m still worrying because no one seems to be grasping hold of the situation, getting hold of her.
Now she’s played a concert where she can barely dance, let alone sing. I’m watching her, my beautiful girl, and something is dreadfully, dreadfully wrong. The film of her performance is on YouTube and seems to be watched by everyone. Now she’s in all the press. It seems that there isn’t anybody who doesn’t know that my girl is in trouble.
And I’m here, behind this impermeable screen that let’s me see all and hear all but do fuck all, wanting to help and wishing somebody would.
EVERYBODY knows she’s in trouble.
Why is nobody helping?
Why did nobody help?