Liverpool fan Christian Swalinski writes song in tribute to those who died in Hillsborough disaster
Singer-songwriter Christian Swalinski remembers the '96 Lives' lost at Liverpool's iconic Cavern Club
By Fraser Dainton
Last Updated: 20/04/14 10:38am
It's a tourist magnet these days - a Paul McCartney impersonator (complete with mop top hair style) bangs out "Get Back" on the main stage, to the joy of the dozens of visitors who have made their way down the many stairs in to the low-ceilinged darkness.
But in a smaller adjacent room, away from the madding crowd, an expectant hush falls, as Liverpool fan Christian Swalinski, formerly of Ormskirk, picks up his guitar and introduces himself to a much smaller gathering.
He was only seven years of age when 96 Liverpool football fans lost their lives at Hillsborough, but having grown up and become a singer-songwriter, he's paying tribute to them in the best way he knows. The chords are melancholic, the voice is haunting...
"Ninety six lives were taken, we were shaken to the ground. But the people never gave up, cos there was justice to be found."
Swalinski decided to write the song after the results of the first independent panel came out in 2012. Living in London at the time, friends were asking him what it all meant. "It sounds like a cliche, but it just came out.
"It was hard to do - it's an emotive subject. The fact someone like me has written this song all those years later shows it's something that's never going to go away. But for me, the strength in adversity shown by the families in the wake of the tragedy, that's an inspiration for me, every day."
One of those watching as Swalinski strums his guitar is Reds legend Jamie Carragher. Proceeds from downloads of the song will go towards his 23 Foundation, a charity which helps Liverpool kids improve their lives through community projects.
"It's emotional, in this week of all weeks," he said. "It's a significant anniversary, 25 years. I think the only thing that makes it better is the fact that it looks like we're coming to a conclusion that the families have wanted for so long.
"It's a big part of the city, both Reds and Blues, what's happened over the last few years is that a lot more people in the rest of the country have realised what fully went on. The families have been going to these services for 25 years. The longer it goes, the worse it feels for them, but it finally looks like we're almost there."
Outside the city, football neutrals are looking at Liverpool's title push, and willing them on, feeling it would be a fitting tribute to those who died if they were to bring the Premier League trophy to Anfield at the end of the season.
Carragher would love that to happen, but understands why others would disagree. "It"s okay people having those feelings, but you've still got to go out and win the games, and Manchester City and Chelsea will still make it as hard as possible. But Liverpool are in the driving seat at the moment, so it's up to us."
Swalinski finishes his song with a line for the families who continue the fight..."Ninety six lives were taken, ninety six lives were gone. But the spirit, it never wavers, because the ninety six souls live on."
Copies of 96 Lives can be downloaded at itunes or spotify