I've suffered grief in my life. I've been so wracked with pain and despair that I've locked myself into a room and cried until there was nothing left. I've then sat there rocking back and forth - as the emptiness fills me.
What I haven't done is laid flowers next to a road. Nor have I gathered in the streets clinging to strangers as we wail at the death of people we've never met before.
I was in London not long after Princess Di was killed. I was horrified at the Grief Whores and their lack of dignity. People openly wept in the street. Total strangers wallowed in misery as they waited in line to sign a book of condolence about some dead lass they'd never met.
The shootings in Cumbria were grim. Lot's of folk died. Trouble is, I didn't know them. Don't get me wrong I am angered at the fact helpless old ladies live in a world where intelligent people can blast them out of existence for no reason. But I'm not going to cry about it.
Once a year every November I stand in the cold and rain and bite my fucking lip. Not a tear falls from my eyes as I think about people I did know and who are no longer laughing at the bar. I talk about the dead with my friends and we laugh over shared memories. It's what I want people to do when I'm gone. It's what Brits do...