Friday 22 September 2017

Memories are made of this .... well maybe

Cliff Richard
Cliff Richard

John Masterson

Memory has always interested me. And frankly, I don't set a lot of store by it. Ask three people about something they all witnessed and you get three stories. When somebody tells me that they are absolutely certain about something, I go on my guard. There is little in my memory that I am absolutely certain about. Memories are forever being modified, and the way that we recall an event in one year may be quite different from the way we recall the event the following year. Our memories become influenced by photos, by conversations, and by the very act of recalling them in a variety of circumstances.

This was in my mind when I saw interviews with Cliff Richard after it was announced that he had no case to answer re an accusation of sexual abuse. I do not in the least mean to make light of sexual abuse when I say that to be wrongly accused must also be a horrific experience. And the longer the lapse of time between the alleged event and the accusation, the more difficult it is to feel confidence in anyone's story. I say this fully aware that for many victims the reason they do not go to the authorities is because of the fear instilled in them by the perpetrator.

We all have things that remind us of people, relationships, events, places. Any time I am at a level crossing as soon as the train passes I have an image of Tom Courtenay in Dr Zhivago travelling across Russia at speed spreading mayhem.

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