Where Were You?

After Flesh’s recollections, here are mine. 

Princess Diana’s death – 31st August 1997

I was in bed in my house in Peterborough on a Sunday morning. I may have been hung over. I stumbled downstairs at about 11am and switched on the TV, to be told immediately, “Diana is dead”. I thought it was perfect timing, until I realized they had been repeating this fact since the crash early that morning.

The media responsewas OTT of course. That week, we had been buying the Daily Mirror, because they were printing tokens for a cheap EasyJet flight. The front page every day had been something like, “Diana Shames Us All With Son Of Discredited Egyptian Millionaire”. The all of a sudden, the Sunday edition was solid black, and the wailing began.

The funeral was planned for the following weekend, which was annoying because we had planned a trip to Brighton, which would turn out to be shut.

Margaret Thatcher’s Resignation – 22nd November 1990

I was rehearsing for the Manchester Polytechnic Drama Society Xmas Revue And Pissup. Amongst other things, I played a Santa who revealed he only came once a year, and that he did things with Rudolph to give him a red nose. This was clearly a highly intelligent political piece, lost on the proudly apathetic Poly students.

Attack on the Twin Towers, New York – 11 September 2001

I had been in a meeting room all morning and all lunchtime, so when I emerged, and saw people gathered round someone’s PC, I didn’t know what was going on. When someone mentioned the ‘two towers’ I thought they were perhaps demolishing Wembley early.

As the facts came in, and I spoke to my girlfriend at home, it was clear this was a pivotal moment. That evening, there was a farewell drinks party for a colleague. Poor chap, no-one was talking about him – everyone was talking about what they though would happen next.

“Uh-oh” was the conclusion, if I recall correctly.

England’s World Cup Semi-Final against Germany – 4 July 1990

Is this a sport thing? No idea.

President Kennedy’s Assassination – 22 November 1963

Before my time, somewhat.

I’ve added a couple of events to this list.

London Tube and Bus Bombings – 7 July 2005

I was working at an office above Paddington Station. It was an intense period for me – my father was very ill. The day before the attacks, I was on the phone to a consultant, while standing outside the office by a window overlooking the busy station concourse. Just as the consultant told me that my father had cancer, and that it would put him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life, a huge cheer rang up from the station. I looked out, and managed to figure out that London had been awarded the 2012 Olympic Games.

The next day, people were slow to arrive at the office, and slowly the news trcikled in that something terrible had happened. We sat around, craashing various nbews servers and worrying about friends and relatives, until 12.30 when the office was evacuated (due to its proximity to Paddington Station). We stood on the evaucation corner, wondering what to do, until I decided to walk home.

About a week later, my father died.

Labour Win UK General Election – 1 May 1997

I was working in Uzwil, Switzerland, designing SCADA screens for Kompogasplants. My colleagues were very intrigued by the result – those funny federalists and their cantons! I guess they were interested in how democracy was done elsewhere so they could compare it to their Culture-like direct democracy. I had had voted by proxy – my brother cast my vote for me.