9/11 – Why Gods Aren’t Great


As an atheist, people sometimes ask me why I hate god. The answer is easy: I don’t. I can’t hate something that doesn’t exist, however I do hate the lunatics who torture, maim and kill in its name.

At lunchtime in the Virgin Records offices on 11th September 2001, in total silence along with several colleagues, we sat and watched a surreal and horrifying drama on the office TV. Only it wasn’t a drama, it was the BBC news. And it was live.

Like New York, London is one of THE worlds greatest cities; a city also vulnerable to terrorism. That afternoon I had to go into Piccadilly for a meeting at Tower Records, and as I drove through the eerily quiet streets, I felt petrified. As it turned out I needn’t have bothered with the meeting as, like me, everyone else was in a state of shock. And anyway, discussing new album campaigns seemed churlish and almost disrespectful.

I didn’t go back to the office afterwards but went straight home where my flatmates and I watched the rolling news until the early hours. We all struggled to believe what had happened in the previous hours and collectively hoped that we’d wake up and it had all been a bad dream. Sadly, it wasn’t.

My first child was due to be born only three months after 9/11. I can clearly remember eventually crawling into bed in the early hours of the 12th and crying myself to sleep about what sort of world he was going to be born into.

Eighteen years on, I still struggle to watch footage of that awful day. I also still live in hope that humanity will suddenly wake up and realise that as we only have ourselves to answer to, we’d better start taking care of the planet and each other before it’s too late.