The moment I heard
On 4th March 2019 I was in Rio celebrating my Dads 60th birthday, we were sitting together having breakfast at Copacabana beach when one of my family shouted over and said “Vic – Keith Flint’s been found dead”. My stomach sank and I instantly got a lump in my throat like when you lose someone that has been a part of your life. The excitement of the celebration holiday faded and every day of this holiday I checked the UK news on my phone for any updates. I was completely overwhelmed and shocked with the news.
After seeing The Prodigy several times over the years and loving their concerts it dawned on me that this band and in particular Keith’s energy had really inspired me growing up and throughout my twenties and that I would never experience that again.
You didn’t know him you shouldn’t have time off
Once back home in the UK the news felt very real as the music industry and his loved ones paid tribute to him, these feelings coincided with the announcement that fans would be invited to line Keef’s final route to the church in Bocking where his funeral would be held for his family and friends. Every part of me felt I needed to make the four-hour journey to Essex to pay my respects, so I asked my employer for annual leave in order to make the journey to say goodbye and pay my respects.
Initially one of my manager’s said my request would be authorised but then the authorisation was retracted by another manager which made me really angry as I felt my employer took away my right to pay my respects and that made me realise that nobody not even your employer should try to control the way that someone processes or grieves the loss of a person whether they were a loved one or a celebrity. My employer made it clear that should I ignore their instructions then a disciplinary procedure would be followed so I did as I was told and sent a bouquet of flowers to the service instead.
The day of the funeral
On the day of the funeral I felt deeply troubled that I was unable to pay my respects and even though I sent flowers I just didn’t feel flowers matched the level of respect and admiration I had for this man not to mention the impact his band’s music had on me growing up. After leaving work that day I cried all my way home because I felt simply ashamed that I had not paid my respects in person. This day affected me so much that following this I never had the same amount of respect for my managers or employer.
I didn’t know Keith but through love of music I somehow felt I did and nearly a year on I still think about his passing nearly every day. I will always cherish and hold my gig memories and his music in my heart.
From that day on I made a pact with myself that in future no one will ever stop me going to pay my respects to someone that mattered to me and that nobody has the right to do that or to try and control your own grief no matter who it is.