On the 8th of December 1980 Mark Chapman shot and killed John Lennon just outside his apartment in New York. It was close to 11 pm local time. Approximately 3 hours later I heard the news on Dutch radio. It was the first time I cried about someone I didn’t know personally. I was 11 years old. At that time I was very much in love with The Beatles, they were my first musical love.

That morning I arrived at school practically crying. It was a Tuesday and pretty cold for early December. I think it was even snowing. It was definitely dark when I cycled to school, but actually the whole day felt dark and gloomy. Funny how you can have such strong emotions at the age of 11. After school I listened to the radio. It played John Lennon and Beatles songs non-stop. The next day there was an obituary in the newspaper, and that was it. Done, dusted, gone.

Today it’s all different. Today we witness Twitter storms when someone famous or influential dies. Everyone wants to post their emotion, their memory, their picture with the celebrity in question. Sure, this can all be pretty honest and authentic, but often it has the smell of obligation, often it feels like the thing that has to be done. Post your memory and move on! 36 years ago news had a 24 hour lifespan because of technical limitations, today we literally run from one event to the other, without a lot of real emotion. Real emotion is a rare good on Twitter.

David Bowie and John Lennon wrote the song ‘Fame’ together. It is about the shallowness of fame. One of its lines reads: “Fame, puts you there where things are hollow”. Funny that these days hollowness manifests itself through social media.