Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.
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Net-a-porter UK

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

The where were you meme

Handed over from Norm

Princess Diana's death - 31st August 1997

Woke up in the middle of the night, couldn't get back to sleep so I turned on the radio and listened to a Prom for about forty minutes, then during the interval they announced that Princess Diana had been injured in a car crash in Paris but had walked from the scene with only cuts to her legs [Conspiracy theory alert!]. About fifteen minutes later they interrupted to say she had died. Went downstairs and turned on the tv. Saw the first flowers being laid at the gates of Kensington Palace by two gay men. Looked along the darkened street and thought, am I the only person in the world who knows this?

Margaret Thatcher's Resignation - 22nd November 1990

In a queue at the greengrocer's where it was announced on the radio. People stayed silent, but broke into smiles.

Attack on the Twin Towers - 11 September 2001

At home. My sister rang me from Washington and told me a plane had hit the World Trade Centre and I should go and turn on the tv. Did, and saw the second plane go in. An American friend in London rang me hysterically crying after the Pentagon attack - her ex-boyfriend worked there and she had no way of finding out if he was ok. At the point at which the US closed its borders and declared itse;f in a state of war, I knew that the world had decisively changed. Looking at the sky, thinking, London is next.

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


President Kennedy's Assassination - 22 November 1963

Watching children's television. They interrupted the programme to announce it, and sensing this might be something important, went and told my mother.


Anonymous said...

The only two events on there that I can recall are 9/11 and the JFK Assassination(actually, I also recall where I was when I heard that RFK was killed as well). 9/11/01, I was at work and someone had turned on the tv in the conference room. I just had CNN on my computer and recall I had the thought, "This is not the end of this; I bet there are other planes as well." My eldest was working as an intern in Ted Kennedy's office in DC -- all the cell towers in the DC area were shut down so I was not able to find out about her for hours. My sister was at a meeting at a hotel about a quarter of a mile from the Pentagon; her husband was in London and she had to drive miles out of her way to a little convenience store, use a pay phone to call a co-worker to send her husband a message by email to tell him she was OK. JFK: I was in the sixth grade and we were being given our weekly 'dose' of culture, listening to a concert of "Til Eulenschpigel's Merry Pranks" over the PA system. The principal broke in to announce what had happened in Dallas. What really upset us was seeing our teacher, who was, to us an elderly lady(she was actually probably only in her late 50s but she had white hair and dressed in what was for the time a fairly elderly way), burst into tears and put her head on the desk, weeping for some time. I found out later that she saw the murder as part of a larger anti-Catholic movement.

Anonymous said...

Diana - I had just moved into a new flat and was thinking of dusting the skirting boards (which looked grubby) and heard the news on the radio. We sat on the carpet (no furniture yet) propped up against the dusty skirting boards and watched the BBC news.

Resignation of Mrs T - heard it at lunchtime on the radio in my final year at university so I ran across college to hammer on my best friend's door and tell her all about it. Got her very bleary-eyed boyfriend who switched on his radio, muttered something about it that being that and then kicked me out so that he could slump back into bed. Didn't do any more work that day (even though I had a supervision in the evening for which I should have been prepping) so that I could listen to PMQT (which was excellent). Was forgiven by my supervisor though who obviously thought that Great News of Our Time was more interesting than the rule against perpetuities.

9/11 - my carpenter told me about three hours after it had happened so I watched the news bulletins at home. They replayed the footage of the planes hitting the towers over and over again and showed lots of shots of people jumping out of the building. Symptomatic of news reporting nowadays: we know nothing more than we knew 20 minutes ago so we'll just speculate and replay the bits we do have until you switch off. Contrast 1991 where they told us that the PM had resigned and then there was nothing until PMQT, which was broadcast as usual, in the afternoon. The moment when I heard about 9/11 didn't have that big an impact as I was not at work, where I imagine that the atmosphere would have been febrile. People were calling their friends who worked in tall towers in the City and asking them whether they were evacuating, to say nothing of what it was like trying to contact friends, clients and colleagues in New York City.

Football - I went shopping on the King's Road, I think on the basis that the shops would be empty. They were, but football fans kept coming out of pubs where they were watching the game, pint glass in hand, to scream at passers-by, "we're winning". So I went home but they were still playing so I sat next to my flat-mate on the couch and chanted "miss, miss, miss" every time England took a penalty shot. He was unamused, but honestly, all that fuss over a game/the Germans. Can you imagine how bad it would have been if we had actually lost the bloody war? The only good bit was when wotshisname (Southgate?) missed the final penalty. The entire crowd at Wembley went silent and stuck their bottom lips out. The camera panned across their faces and there were Messrs Smug (aka Frank Skinner and David Baddiel) looking miserable and definitely not smug, and I thought, "hah, finally you've shut up".

JFK - before my time.

Anonymous said...

I can remember two of these events:

When Princess Diana died I was at the hospital where my three year old brother was sick with pneumonia. We had much bigger things on our minds, but I do remember watching the news and my mom being very shocked.

On 9/11 I was in middle school, and at the time my parents were trying an experiment in home-schooling me. Thus, I was still asleep when the first plane hit. As soon as my dad heard about it (which was slightly late, since we live on the West Coast) he woke me up to tell me America had been attacked. That was just after the second plane hit. In my typical teenage way said what? and went back to sleep. I woke up again just in time to see the towers fall on CNN. I mostly just remember being worried that we were going to do something rash to retaliate against Afghanistan.