Cliff Richard. I guess he’s been there all my life. At first his songs were good pop songs, from before my era, then in my era. Then he started with the god stuff, forcing Christmas to have a badly sung pile of vocal pooh at Number One in the charts. The more recent denial of his god rubbish to get into the Number One location is thanks to the Devil Incarnate, Simon Cowell and his “X Factor(y)” of oldies sung by new people. Seemed like a fair trade-off to me.
Then he blatantly couldn’t sing properly any more. But old ladies loved him. He could do no wrong. The sun shone out of his bottom and he was the son they wanted to mother, or the lover they wanted 40 years ago when they were young.
Apart from his annoying god-bothering warblings, he became of comic value owing to his sexuality. Or rather, his shyness about it. His memoirs are full of love and affection about the man he lives with and goes nearly everywhere in the world accompanied by, ex Catholic priest Father John McElynn. Apparently he’s his ‘companion’. Yet, Cliff Richard would neither confirm nor deny he was gay.
This public haziness was similar to the smokescreen put out by Jimmy Savile. After Savile’s death and the subsequent quite horrific revelations, a lot of people, myself included were not only shocked by the revelations, but also shocked that he didn’t seem to have been exclusively homosexual. I’d always assumed he was. So had most people. Yet, Savile wasn’t. He was awful.
Cliff Richard surrounds himself with an almost identical haziness to Savile’s.
Ok, a person’s sexuality and private life is, well, their business. Yes. Were I actually in the public eye, I would shelter mine. I kinda do anyway. However, I’m fine to say that I’m straight and in a relationship. I’d be fine saying I am gay, if I was gay. Yet, for some reason, Cliff Richard makes a big issue of not saying one way or the other. Maybe that’s because of his age and the era he was brought up in when unmarried men hid their sexuality, especially if it wasn’t of the heterosexual variety This public procrastination flags up his sexuality issue more than if he just admitted his gayness or his straightness or his bisexualness or nonsexualness.
So, when the rumours started about child abuse, drinking the blood of new-born babies, and all the other outrageousness that freely dumps itself on t’internet, I wasn’t surprised. Again, not because I believed Cliff Richard was part of anything or had done anything, but because his profile on these sorts of things was identical to Savile’s and so attracted the trolls.
And then, actually to my shock, the police raided one of his homes, gathering evidence for a claim that dated back decades. And, allegedly, he’s been interviewed about the murder of Jill Dando. Or maybe he hasn’t. Anyway, one of his homes was definitely raided by the police.
This raiding of a home decades after an alleged sexual abuse offence is a strange one. What evidence would remain there all these decades later? Surely, he’d have had cleaners in. No giveaway dna on Kleenex under the bed, surely? Or would there be some keepsake boxer-shorts, or Betamax videos? Heck, I could understand a raid the morning after but well after a Millennium prayer, why?
But, what would I know, I’m not the police, and ultimately I’m not the jury in any Court case.
Importantly, the truth is that none of us can actually know what went on, can we?
Yet, it’s very interesting watching Facebork and t’internets as those who hate him and those who love him battle over his innocence.
Old women will frantically post and re-post anything that appears to profess and confirm his innocence. Bitter old men will frantically post and re-post anything that appears to profess and confirm his guilt.
Yet, none of them actually know, do they?
It would make more sense for these people who don’t know Cliff Richard to say, “I hope that…” or “I don’t know”.
Instead they write angrily and adamantly as if they have studied surveillance tapes from the last 40 years, or been part of Cliff Richard’s inner circle, or even one of his, er, shadows. They haven’t. They don’t know him. They are either besotted fans or besotted haters. They are just guessing about the facts, and coming to conclusions based on how they feel about him, his music, his career, and his public persona.
One thing they are not, is in possession of any actual facts.
Why do they pretend they are?