Sunday, August 24, 2008

Blog Meme: What Were You Doing When...?

It's a long time since I started a Blog Meme, and what better time to do it than a very boring bank holiday Sunday. Every few years, there's an earth shattering event which you remember for the rest of your life - and you remember where you were and what you were doing when you heard about it. Here are five of mine...

Princess Diana's death - 31 August 1997
I was asleep in my flat on the Isle of Dogs when the phone went. 'Princess Diana's been in a car crash. Switch on the TV," I was ordered by my partner. I did so and kept it on. I had a feeling of foreboding. I was watching when Martin Lewis broke the news and broke down himself. I picked up the phone. 'She's dead,' I said to my very sleepy partner, who struggled to take in the news. he refused to believe it.

Margaret Thatcher's resignation - 22 November 1990
I was working in my office in 36 Grosvenor Gardens. I was in the process of setting up a lobbying company. There was no TV and no radio. Just a telephone. I was stunned and felt as if I was experiencing one of those 'what if' moments. Somehow it didn't seem real.

Attack on the twin towers - 11 September 2001
I was sat at my desk on the balcony at Politico's with a small TV on in the background. Out of the corner of my eye I saw one of the twin towers ablaze. I turned the sound up only to see the second plane hit the second tower. My first thought was that my best friend Daniel's Dad had an office in one of the towers. I tried to get him on the phone but all the networks were down. I feared the worst and was a mental wreck watching the rest of the coverage. He phoned a couple of hours later to say he was OK and wasn't even in New York.

England's World Cup Semi Final v Germany in - 4 July 1990
Gaza's tears. Lineker's signal to Bobby Robson to have a word with him. The two penalty misses. this game had it all. and where was I? Watching it with several hundred insurance brokers in Nottingham. I was covering their conference for my then employers Lloyds List. Three hundred insurance brokers and me in floods of tears. You had to be there.

President Kennedy's Assassination - 22 November 1963
I was in my pram gurgling and wetting myself.


So, as one does with Blog Meme's I am nominating the following five blogs to repeat the exercise.

Devil's Kitchen

Tom Harris
Donal Blaney
Alix Mortimer
Sadie Smith

UPDATE: Always nice to have a government minister as my bitch...

44 comments:

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Princess Diana's death. Sitting in my living room watching a man walk by with a newspaper headline saying, 'Princess Diana seriously injured'.

I also remember my reaction. Slightly saddened and not in the least surprised. She had pressed the self-destruct button some time earlier.

jamie said...

i was woken by my dad coming if from golf, shouting up the stairs that she and dodi had been killed. my very sleepy reaction was one of disbelief.

the twin towers i only found out about when i got home from work that evening, having been in blissful ignorance the whole day.

the rest i am too young to remember. altho i do remember John Major resigning in 1995 to trigger a leadership contest.

chris said...

Death of Diana, Princess of Wales: At a car boot sale. As people heard it gave the day a very sureal quality.

Thatcher's Resignation: At home as I was off-sick from work and sitting in bed watching rubbish day time TV.

Twin Towers: I was at work. The tragedy didn't really register with me until I got home. I didn't know what the twin towers looked like so couldn't really visualise the event until I saw it on the TV.

World Cup Semi-Final: In the basement of pub in Brighton (not far from the station). I was gutted and had so much tension in me the when I left I wanted to hit something or someone. Managed to resit but I can empathise with those who did overstep the mark that night.

Kennedy's Assassination: Before I was born.

Another significant moment in my life was the death of Freddie Mercury. I was staying over at a friends and I got up about 5am to go to work. Hered the news on the radio and it was like a major icon from my life had gone. I was gutted, couldn't believe it had happened. I was shocked at my reaction.

Anonymous said...

According to Tom Harris' blog, he is absent preparing to be reshuffled
What's happened to your harvesting???

Geoff said...

Death of Diana: I was watching TV, and had a pain of a time flicking channels until I found something different to watch for the next few months. Never liked her - just another unemployed kindergarten teacher who married out of her league.

Twin Towers: In the office when the internet basically ground to a halt. I shouted at the IT bloke. When we worked out what was going on from CNN we bought a TV for the office, put it in the boardroom and closed the company for the day to all watch the news unfold.

Baroness Thatcher: Biology Lab B2 at school when my lefty Head of Dept came in and interrupted our class specifically to gloat at *me*. The TV in the Auditorium had no aerial but I had my archery kit in my locker so we stuck a metal arrow in the back of the TV to get a signal.

Anonymous said...

The Labour MP whose death forced the latest by-election to threaten Gordon Brown's premiership was suing the Government over its refusal to pay compensation for the illness that killed him.


John MacDougall, the former MP for Glenrothes, launched a court action against the Ministry of Defence (MoD) last November after the Government turned down his request for a £300,000 payout. Mr MacDougall believed his lung cancer was contracted as a result of working at the Royal Naval dockyards in Rosyth in the 1960s and 1970s when he was exposed to asbestos.

The disclosure that Mr Brown's government blocked the payment will be acutely embarrassing for the Prime Minister, who paid tribute to Mr MacDougall at his funeral last week. Mr Brown described the illness as the "cruel legacy" of Mr MacDougall's exposure to asbestos in the dockyards during his youth.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/mp-whose-death-sparked-poll-was-suing-the-mod-907206.html

The Oldest Trainee said...

I have followed your work for a while now and admire all that you do to make politics accessible, interesting, informative and entertaining. Something of a politics, history and public affairs enthusiast myself I have ventured into the blogoshpere but need to develop more links to and from the blog and learn more generally about the techniques involved. Much taken with your blos meme herewith mine for some of the events you mentioned: Princess Diana's death - 31 August 1997 I was involved with the devolution campaign in Wales with the LibDems (the Welsh party was the size of a postage stamp in those days) - the Yes for Wales campaign. All campaigning stopped for a week and we went into a kind of limbo - just watching footage on the TV and listening to commentary on the radio. It was a very strange time, outpouring of public grief and yet a reservation as well as to what we were all doing letting emotions rip as it were.
Margaret Thatcher's resignation - 22 November 1990
I was a student in the politics department at Exeter University and we were all in a lecture at the Amory Building on campus and the one of the professors came down from the departmental offices opposite to advise the suspension of the lecture because a momentous event was unfolding - we all crowded into the Sec's office to watch the television Parliamentary coverage - the end of an era for us who were very much Thatcher's children ariound 8 when she was elected and student when left office (although when a child during the elections of 83 and 87 was leafletting for my father who was a founder member of the SDP in South Wales and two-times Parl candidate). Extraordinary day - the poison unleashed by the wielding of the knife in quite that way affected the body politic of the Conservative Party for many years - to its own and the system's loss. am social-christian democrat with no real political home - merger between Chris Patten and Charles Kennedy! Attack on the twin towers - 11 September 2001 I was sitting in my then office in Cardiff working for a European research company and I had the radio turned on - I am a radio junkie - on when the news came through. Was transfixed and horrified as everybody else and was glued to the radio for some hours afterwards.
England's World Cup Semi Final v Germany in - 4 July 1990
I must admit this actual date does not stick in the memory as much as the Three Tenors who symbolised the whole competition - it was all remarkable and brought a whole new audience to some of the most sublime music the world has ever known - music and football had transforming moments. President Kennedy's Assassination - 22 November 1963
Was not about in those far-off days when the world changed but my parents were. Incidentally, a borrowed football meme is theirs - they were married on the day England won the World Cup against Germany in 1966.

judith said...

Princess of Wales: I'd got up very early, as I couldn't sleep for some reason, and went off to do some ironing; I switched on Classic FM and found myself listening to some vaguely familiar, and very doleful, Purcell. Not the usual stuff for that time of day, so I listened carefully. The music was then back-announced as the (?)Lament for the Death of Queen Mary, and then the explanation that Diana had been killed. I recall sitting there, with the sun pouring in through the window, absolutely stunned and unbelieving.

President Kennedy - it was a Friday evening, and my mother and I were just going off the sing in the choir at the Sabbath service in our synagogue. My father had been listening to the news, and came into the hall to tell us. For an 18yr old, it was as if the world suddenly went back to being very old and grey. We knew nothing about the sordid background to the Kennedys in those days, and had believed the Camelot myth.

Giovanni said...

1. Working in a Caffe' Nero in South Kensington. I had already heard the news on the radio waking up but I was the guy who broke the news to a lot of my colleagues.

2. Uni student in Palermo, Sicily. It was on all the Italian news, with the left-wing-biased journos unable to quite keep their satisfaction at seeing this eeevul capitalist going down.

3. Working in the City, for a company called Telerate. I saw the first plane crash and we all thought it was an accident. Then I had a client meeting and as I as waiting in reception, I heard a receptionist saying that two other planes had also crashed, one into the other tower, another into the Pentagon. I dismissed this as wild rumours and speculations until I got back into my office and found out that reality had truly surpassed fantasy. Funnily enough I had a friend staying with me and her mother called her from Sicily, demanding she return home immediately. Took a while to remind her that UK and the USA were two separate and quite distant countries...

4. High School student, always in Sicily, finishing my final year exams. I can't recall if I had passed my last oral exam or not yet but I remember the game, the tears and the shootout. Italy was likewise knocked out by Argentina on a penalty shootout and the 3/4th place match was actually much better then the Germany-Argentina game...

5. I was a sperm in my dad's left testicle

Patrick said...

Diana - woken up by mum

Thatcher - eating a late breakfast. I choked on my sugar puffs. I remember looking forward to a man becoming Prime Minister. A PM had always been a woman up until then.

Twin towers - online at work - some fuzzy news report about a plane crash in some building i never heard of! Then someone put a TV on....

Anonymous said...

Should we be coming up with our own momentous moments rather than just embellishing Iain Dale's

Edward Taylor said...

Diana - being a restless seven-year-old, I was up at about 6am that day. I remember turning on the TV, seeing the news, and running upstairs to tell my surprised (and no doubt sleepy) parents.

Twin Towers - it was only my second week at secondary school. I was being picked up by my friend's mum, who had heard the news on the radio. We turned on the TV when we got to my friend's house, and saw the rest of the events unfold.

The rest - before my time (although I probably cried on the day Thatcher resigned, aged five months and a few days...)

Anonymous said...

Diana: Shocked at work.

The twin towers: At home after night shift. Pain and crying. I am an intitutionalised incompentent (as Iain knows) in the RUC/psni and have dealt with my own smaller ammount of, burning, and dismembered bodies.

Footbaall. I hope I spelt that right.

John Major: Yes I recall. Pity.

Kennedy: 25 years in the Police in Northern Ireland an I suspect that if someone suggested it (labour party members, sinn fein and teddy kennedy of someone of that ilk) then I was the man on the grassy knoll.

Cath said...

Diana - Rang my mum for our weekly Sunday morning chat and she said "Sad day" etc. I was surprised how upset I was and it was the first indication I had that I really was different from most Tories. Most of my political contempories seemed pleased she was dead. Taught me a lot actually and was the first time I really questioned my politics.

Thatcher - Was in the Leeds University politics department at the time and my lecturer came in saying "she's gone, she's gone" and everyone started running round in a bit of a frenzy. Except me of course, who kept as low a profile as possible. I was much less bolshy at 19 than in later life :-)

9/11 Was working in an awful job near LHR and the internet stopped and someone put the telly on and we saw what had happened. I remember saying, "that's thousands of people" and my boss looked at me with contempt and told me not to be hysterical. It was also eerie as there were suddenly no planes in the sky and we were used to almost constant aircraft noise.

World Cup 1990 - was in the US on a post A' level holiday. I felt very removed from the whole thing. I remember Euro 96 and the disappointment of that much more.

Kennedy - I'm glad to say predates me by a few years.

Anonymous said...

Where you were after Team GB came 4ths in the Ranking of golds and medals won in the Olympics - after record amounts of state and Lottery funding? where were you? oh yes - slagging off labour, gordon, state funding and failing to congratulate our sportsmen and women for their fantastic achievements.

Anonymous said...

Princess Di - chatting on Yahoo in my Flat in London - I passed the news on to the astonishment of others chatters.

Margaret Thatcher - My birthday. In London celebrating I think - Not sure where exactly, even the best can choose the worst possible time to deliver bad news. I didn't vote again for 15 years.

9/11 In Kent at home. Phoning my ex boss after I had resigned from a job. He told me to switch on Sky. Gobsmacked as the second tower was hit, then the Pentagon was hit. I was glued in awe to the TV for days after.

England's 1990 Semi-Final. Watching it at home I think. remember the Gazza thing and Lineker's signals to the bench but not much else. Less devasted than other times (see below) and I remember I didn't watch the quarter final but still well hacked off.

JFK Assination - My 4th Birthday and my first ever (if vague) memory. There I was playing in the front room of our flat over my Grandparents shop in London with my new presents. My father and Grandfather went out for something. The family was unsurprisingly in good spirits, I think. When they came back it all had changed JFK was dead. The mood was sombre. Being four, I didn't understand why......

Other Football memories:

World Cup Quarter finals 1970 England 2 Germany 3.

At home in Kent, 10 years old Mullery's Goal - Rngland 2-0 up at half-time and then despair. Ramsey makes dumb substitutions (Charlton & Mullery off Bell and Hunter - both donkeys on to save theformer for the semi-final against Italy) Beckenbauer took control of the game (played with a broken arm in a caste ?). Bonetti flapped Mueller scored. It was all over. Absolutely distraught, I went up stairs in tears and ripped all the football posters off my bedroom wall.

England 0 Brazil 1 1970 World Cup.

The Gordon Banks save from Pele, the Jairzinho goal and the sitter Jeff Astle missed in the second half. Down but not out.

World Cup 1966 - 6 Years of age - my first memories of football - 'They think it's all over it is now' still resonates, Geoff Hurst's hat-trick including that goal. Martin Peters Goal. Nobby Stiles dancing with no teeth. Everybody was in a good mood that day!

Euro 96 England v Germany. Three Lions playing all over. On Holiday in Orlando Florida. In the Hotel Bar full of English at 10 AM. We had whip rounds so the Barman would open up for each of the England games. One table with Germans on it (they left at half time). 1-1 Full time. Golden Goals Anderton hits the post and then with seconds remaining Shearer rolls the ball across the six yard box.

If Gazza hadn't eaten all of those Mars bars he might just of reached that ball and there would have been no need for penalties and perhaps no extension of the 'Thirty Years of Hurt'. With his goal against the Scots as well he'd have been a national hero for life. As it was another defeat on penalties, I was devasted again!

Anonymous said...

Thatcher Resignation: At Exeter University. I remeber Rob Halfon and Tim Montgomerie were besides themselved with grief. As one of the few Northerners I felt quite isolated - but loved every minute.

Diana's Death: At a car boot sale in York. The burger vans all had radios on that were playing sombre music.

9/11 - stood in the school office watching the TV when second tower come down.

Anonymous said...

I read on CEEFAX Page 150 about Princess Diana being involved in a car crash which was followed by several newsflashes before BBC1 abandoned its film.

I stayed up for a couple of hours and had a very uneasy feeling even though nothing was being said about her condition, just the same news being repeated endlessly.

I eventually went to bed, my radio comes on at 07:00 usually and its clock is set from RDS so is very accurate. I woked at 07:00 as Radio 4 played the National Anthem followed by the formal announcement of her death.

Exile said...

Go on - I'll bite:

Diana: Sat having breakfast with the family over in Veracruz. The wife bought el Dictamen which is the local rag and the news was on page three. Shrugged my shoulders and had breakfast, but the wife never stopped going on about "pobre lady Dee".

Maggot: The sight of it with a tear running down its face. Couldn't stop laughing.

WTC: Watching the whole thing live on Mexican TV and translating the commentary into English for all those Americans who had seemingly emerged from nowhere to that eating house. Not getting my bloody breakfast, but being supplied with all the tabs that I could smoke just to keep the translation service going.

Footie: Yeah, Gascoigne having a weep. Soft sod.

JFK: Just returned home with the parents after doing some Xmas shopping in Manchester. Dad switched on the TV and the news was coming through that he was injured in a shooting. Only later was it announce that he was dead.

norman said...

Diana's death: I was working late and kept the LBC station on, did not sleepafter that.
Twin towers: A friend of mine in New York rang me to watch the news in Britain.
Thatcher's resignation:Again LBC station was on when working from home.
Kennedy's assassination: was in Far East and turned the radio to listen to the BBC World Service on a day I had nothing to do.

Gazzas tears: Sitting at home with the TV on as my radio did not behave.

Nicholas Bennett said...

Death of Princess Diana.

My sister knocked on the hotel room door at the Ibis in central Brussels and said; “Turn on the TV I think Diana's died". The hotel had BBC2 on the set so we saw the news about 7 am British time. My wife and I and my sister and her husband were on a Daily Telegraph Eurostar offer. If only we had chosen Paris instead.

Resignation of Margaret Thatcher.

I knew the night before that she was going. I was up early on the Thursday as I had to appear on BBC Breakfast an hour before it was announced I was a Tory MP at the time. I managed not to let the cat out of the bag. Met Theresa Gorman MP as I arrived at House of Commons and told her that Mrs T was about to resign. Went to a meeting at the Department of Transport where I was a PPS. Cecil Parkinson adjourned the meeting to go to the 9am Cabinet. John Buterfill MP and I went over to the House of Commons. We were in the Members Cloakroom when the news came over the teleprinter. When we went back to the DoT for the resumed 'Prayers' (Ministers meeting) Cecil gave us a detailed account of the Cabinet meeting.

World Cup 1990 dunno.

1966 World Cup

On a train between London Bridge and Forest Hill coming back from my Saturday job at Kardomah's Coffee Cafe at Tower Hill. Having no interest in football I went swimming and had the pool to myself.

Assassination of President Kennedy.

Met my mother in the street (I even remember the precise location) on my way back from Church Youth Club. She was in tears as she told me. We had no TV so have no memories of the coverage that night. It is true that anybody of a reasonable age (I was 14) does remember where they were when they heard the news.

Nicholas Bennett said...

Death of Princess Diana.

My sister knocked on the hotel room door at the Ibis in central Brussels and said; “Turn on the TV I think Diana's died". The hotel had BBC2 on the set so we saw the news about 7 am British time. My wife and I and my sister and her husband were on a Daily Telegraph Eurostar offer. If only we had chosen Paris instead.

Resignation of Margaret Thatcher.

I knew the night before that she was going. I was up early on the Thursday as I had to appear on BBC Breakfast an hour before it was announced I was a Tory MP at the time. I managed not to let the cat out of the bag. Met Theresa Gorman MP as I arrived at House of Commons and told her that Mrs T was about to resign. Went to a meeting at the Department of Transport where I was a PPS. Cecil Parkinson adjourned the meeting to go to the 9am Cabinet. John Buterfill MP and I went over to the House of Commons. We were in the Members Cloakroom when the news came over the teleprinter. When we went back to the DoT for the resumed 'Prayers' (Ministers meeting) Cecil gave us a detailed account of the Cabinet meeting.

World Cup 1990 dunno.

1966 World Cup

On a train between London Bridge and Forest Hill coming back from my Saturday job at Kardomah's Coffee Cafe at Tower Hill. Having no interest in football I went swimming and had the pool to myself.

Assassination of President Kennedy.

Met my mother in the street (I even remember the precise location) on my way back from Church Youth Club. She was in tears as she told me. We had no TV so have no memories of the coverage that night. It is true that anybody of a reasonable age (I was 14) does remember where they were when they heard the news.

mutleythedog said...

Princess Diana - in Whitstable. Margaret Thatchers destruction? In St Thomases Hospital watching my son being born. I could see the lights in the committee corridor. Twin Towers? Birdwatching at Grove Ferry near Canterbury... football thing absolutely no idea. Dont remember it...

Johnny Norfolk said...

I have no idea to be honest. I can tell you where I was when I had news of my parents deaths. To be frank I just think Diana should be left alone. I found the whole thing morbid and un British.

Anonymous said...

Princess Diana's death -
In my bed

Margaret Thatcher's resignation - In my bed

Attack on the twin towers - In an office on the internet

England's World Cup Semi Final v Germany in - Working in a bar

President Kennedy's Assassination - A twinkle in the milkman's eye

Auntie Flo' said...

Diana: I was on the phone when my uncle told. It seemed surreal. When it sank in I was heartbroken for her and for her boys.

Pres Kennedy: Was shot on my birthday, I was so upset.

Maggie: I was a Liberal then and felt she'd become so arrogant that she had to go, though I was shocked by the savagery of the night of long knives stuff.

Twin towers: In my office, saw it on BBC and was Horrified.

England semi: To be expected, spoilt brats.

Ross said...

9/11, had been working a nightshift the day before so I didn't find out until the afternoon when my brother rang me. Initially the fact that they had hit the Pentagon shocked me more than the Twin Towers.

Diana Came downstairs put the telly on and saw them droning on about Diana and Dodi so I switched channels and they were all talking about them, so I turned on Ceefax and realised that they had died.

Thatcher, was 11 years old and at school. Either a history or geography lesson was about to start when boy in my class broke the news having heard it himself from some teachers a few moments earlier. At first I didn't believe it, she had been PM all my life and as a budding political geek I had followed the Heseltine challenge and thought she had defeated it.

World Cup 1990, missed it, had to attend the open day of the aforementioned school.

Yak40 said...

Attack on the twin towers - 11 September 2001

I had just arrived at work & someone said a plane had crashed in NYC, gradually we realised it was a lot worse than that.

JFK 1963
I was at home trying to get Radio Luxembourg 208mtrs for some pop music but they put on mournful stuff instead, I wasn't happy !!

Anonymous said...

The England Germany semi final - what was I doing oh yes I remember I was watching a video of Scotland beating England 3-2 at Wembley in1967 - a fine vintage.

JuliaM said...

Princess Diana's death - 31 August 1997 - asleep, woken by my father calling to tell me about the news of the crash. Switched on the tv just as the death was announced.

Margaret Thatcher's resignation - 22 November 1990 - at work, having lunch in an Irish pub in Stratford with a work colleague, watching it on the pub tv. Oddly, thought there'd be cheers & whoops from the patrons, but it was quiet, everyone watching raptly as she left 10 Downing Street...

Attack on the twin towers - 11 September 2001 - was working in Southend, trying to organise a training event for the next day. The consultants we had hired were useless, and we broke for lunch and I told my colleague that if they didn't get better after lunch to dismiss them, and we'd do the event ourselves. Got back to my desk to a phone call from my mother, who'd just rurned on the tv and seen the reports of the first plane crash (they were saying at that point it was a 'light aircraft' pilot who'd been dazed by the sun). As she was on the phone, the second tower was hit - she, like the tv presenter, thought at first it was a reconstruction of the first plane. Then there was pandemonium - the internet crashed, we found a tv in the office and watched the rest. As I walked home that afternoon, each electrical shop with TVs had a big group of people outside, watching the scenes in slience...

We went ahead with the event on our own the next day at the room we'd booked at a hotel next to Southend Airport. All day we could hear planes coming in, having been diverted due to the chaos...

England's World Cup Semi Final v Germany in - 4 July 1990 - probably reading or shopping. Who won? ;)

President Kennedy's Assassination - 22 November 1963 - not born yet!

Cinnamon Marine said...

Diana's death - Mum came bursting into my bedroom and woke me up early in the morning having just heard the news. I said 'Oh' and went back to sleep then spent the next few weeks getting increasingly angry about the ridiculous, hysterical and utterly out of proportion reaction over some tart getting killed in a car crash.

9/11 - at work when I saw the news flagged up on the BBC website. My best friend was in New York. Spent the next few hours frantically trying to find out if he was alright, feeling a huge amount of relief when we heard from him. The general stunned feeling over what had happened stayed with me for a long time afterwards.

Baroness Thatcher's resignation - heard the news on the school bus on the way home. We were all stunned. I remember one of my friends saying "She can't go, she's been Prime Minister forever". She was the only PM we had really known.

World cup semi-final - haven't the faintest idea but certainly not paying any attention to it.

Kennedy's assassination - well, I wouldn't be born for another 14 years.

Islington Neil said...

For what its worth, as it raining and I shall never be 'tagged'...

DIANA'S DEATH - Had fallen asleep with my radio on, and absorbed the unfolding news reports of her 'serious injury' then later death, from my sleep. Not sufficiently bothered to wake up before I'd a had a few more hours of sleep.

9/11 -In Methodist Central Hall, Westminster. Not on my knees in prayer, but in the basement office suite of the Ken Clarke Leadership Campaign HQ. Officially the last day of the campaign but the votes were already in. With about the only TV in the building at the end of my desk, half the building had soon arrived to watch as it happened. Outside coachloads of police soon arrived to clear the area around 'Big Ben' etc .

MARGARET THATCHER RESIGNATION - Sitting in St James' during my 'year off' working for a lobbying company (not the one I.Dale was setting up that day). A Labour colleague took a call from a mate in the lobby. I knew as soon as I heard her screech with joy. Ugh.

ENG v GERMANY '90
In the 'Cock & Bottle' pub in rural Herts, where, in varying states of sobriety, I spent the summer after my 'A' levels.

JFK SHOOTING
Just a twinkle in the eye of a 22 yr old bank clerk from Pinner.

ScottishToryBoy said...

http://scottishtoryboy.blogspot.com/2008/08/bossed-about-by-tom-harris.html

JessTheDog said...

The two I can remember:

Death of Princess Diana: I was in bed with a stonking hangover, and my fiancée phoned me from Japan to tell me. Even at the time, I was sickened at the sinister over-reaction, which has poisoned society, and saddened at the stupidity of her death and the whole hypocritical trash media circus which caused the tragedy, which led the mawkish mourning, and which has profited from it.

World Trade Center attacks: I was a RAF officer, working in air defence and communications, at work in the UK/NATO command centre when it happened. Utter chaos ensued, and we felt deeply for our US colleagues, who bore the shock with dignity and professionalism. Anyone who thinks it was a conspiracy is utterly deluded – the air defence system in the US was taken completely by surprise, and a lot of attention was suddenly (and belatedly) paid to this area of the military, neglected in the wake of the Cold War. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan started on that day and have not yet ended. It's not on the list, but I don't think the Iraq invasion was such a surprise even for those not in the military - it had an air of inevitability, given the political rhetoric.

The rest didn't register with me, not even Margaret Thatcher's resignation. Kennedy of course I wasn't around for.

I remember the news of Lockerbie and the Dunblane shootings vividly. The Berlin Wall coming down and the Falklands War should definitely be on any list of memorable moments (the latter case shows how a war can flare up over ill-judged military cutbacks, cack-handed diplomacy and poor intelligence). The death of Freddie Mercury has been mentioned by another poster. This shocked me at the time, very sad as such an icon.

McChatterer said...

Dear Iain. Are your tagees not supposed to reveal their own memorable moments in history?

Iain Dale said...

That was indeed the idea, but you seem to be the only one who has understood it!

McChatterer said...

I succumbed, but being honest, don't seem to come out very well from my reaction to Great Moments in History:

http://mcchatterer.blogspot.com/2008/08/do-you-remember-where-you-were.html

Anonymous said...

Diana
Woke about 8am and turned radio on. Thought for a few seconds that the Queen Mother had died.


Thatcher
Remember more vividly the night before when she came down the embassy steps behind John Sergeant and Bernard Ingham rudely shoved him our of the way.

Arkangel said...

Di...I was on nights and had wandered down to the TV room for a quick cuppa when I saw it...must have been about 1-2am I suppose.

Twin Towers...I was in the shower when my missus shouted that someone had crashed into the WTC...Meant nothing to me until I put CNN on.

Harry Barnes said...

My version after being tagged down the line -
http://threescoreyearsandten.blogspot.com/2008/08/searching-my-memory.html

Anonymous said...

Diana ~ working when some supervisor or other in hushed tones announced her death. I thought to myself 'So f*cking what?' he went on to say that anyone who was upset could have the day off. Did the best fake blubbing of my life.
Ergo, her death meant something to me, that her life never did.

Anonymous said...

Where were you when the London 7/7 bombs went off?

Late for work, I tried to get on the tube at Bond Street but they were closing it, citing a "major electrical fault". Hopped onto a bus, which kicked everyone off just past Oxford Circus with no explanation :) Started to walk to the city, and was listening to BBC London on my mobile phone (which had stopped working as a phone by then) and people were calling in to describe seeing smokey stations and that bus in Russell Square explode. Wow. Got to work at the Bank of England and was the last person in before they closed the doors, "invacuation", as a security precaution. The interest rate announcement still came out at midday on the nose.

I remember radio and web reports of people being shot by the police around the city, could hear Police helicopters buzzing around, sirens, and could see dark figures on rooftops...

We finally were allowed out of the Bank sometime mid-evening, after first resigning ourselves to sleeping there overnight. Without public transport, I walked home from the city to Marylebone, and every pub on the way home was full! - there was a real war "blitz" spirit going on.

Anonymous said...

Di: On holiday in the US with the parents; we were packing to go to the airport, and my mum kept walking out of the room *just* as the newscasters read the headline. And then walking back in as they went to other news, so she thought we were ribbing her.

Why does it stick in my memory? Because in the hotel restaurant the night before, my dad had said, "I'm glad we're in the States, can you imagine if the Queen popped her clogs? Wall-to-wall bloody TV coverage." To which my mum replied, "It'd be worse if Diana died."

Maggie and the World Cup didn't really register for me as I was too young, and didn't give a toss about football. And too young for Kennedy, obv.

9/11: On a day off from my holiday job at the municipal golf club bar; I read about it on Yahoo! news. I thought it was a Cessna at first, then (weirdly) thought it was anarchists or anti-capitalists or some such. And then the second plane hit.

rpjs said...

Diana: I was up late and just before I turned the TV off the newsflash came that she'd been seriously injured in a car accident. I remember thinking to myself "she's dead" - don't know why; I just knew it.

Thatcher: working in local government. We all celebrated.

Twin Towers: working for a new media agency - news came through on the BBC ticker applet I had installed. Then my American gf (now wife) called in tears "they've blown up my country". Her best friend worked in Manhattan at the time very close to the towers but thankfully was late leaving for work and never made it into Manhattan at all.

Footie: sorry, couldn't care less!

JFK: not even born