I've been listening to an album by Milow on Spotify that includes a track called "Herald of Free Enterprise" (don't ask me why, I stumbled over it by mistake).
I have to admit to laughing out loud when I first heard the lyrics; an uncomfortable "something feels wrong about this" kinda laugh... Usually my favourite of all the types of laugh. What will he sing about next, I thought.The Hatfield train crash; Lockerbie; Myra Hindley?
But this isn't a humourous song and I genuinely feel uneasy about it. I actually disapprove!!! (Yes, I'm getting all Daily Mail about it). Perhaps it's the clumsy attempt at creating pathos, perhaps it's the overly simplistic, almost documentary style lyrics. But probably it's that The Herald of Free Enterprise was the first big disaster I watched closely and, being young at the time, it had a major affect on me.
I remember watching it pan out on TV and discussing it at school the next day. A few years after it happened I remember travelling to Holland on holiday and meeting a guy that had been responsible for boarding the boat before it left that fateful day. He was a lovely guy, but his life had been destroyed by guilt. He'd lost his wife, kids, job, everything. As well as the many dead and injured on the night, there must have been many others psychologically affected like him. All very sad.
Now, I enjoy off colour humour and lets be honest, I make a lot of off colour jokes, everyday, about any subject. If this had been a joke about selling a car that had fallen of the back of a ferry, I wouldn't have had an issue. I remember laughing at exactly that joke just days after the tragedy. So, it seems I can accept humour based inappropriateness but not poor quality serious efforts at portraying tragic events in song.
Mind you, I don't have a problem with The Boomtown Rats - I Don't Like Mondays. Hmmm...