Monday, 25 August 2008

Prologue to History

I got tagged on the blog-meme started by Iain Dale (via Tom Harris & Scottish Tory Boy). Where was I when the following took place? Here goes:

Princess Diana's death - 31 August 1997
I remember quite clearly playing football in the back garden on that particular Sunday afternoon. Mum was doing housework so hadn’t had the TV on all morning. When she put the TV on, she came out to the garden to tell us, just as I was rounding my brother to score another wonder goal. “Princess Diana died,” she said. At 13 years old, and not that familiar with the concept of death – especially a far removed death like this – we kinda shrugged, picked ourselves up and got on with the game. It was only over the course of the next week that we realised what a global event this was to be.

Margaret Thatcher's resignation - 22 November 1990
As a six year old boy, the only things I was into were football, getting muddy and sweets. So needless to say, Thatcher’s resignation didn’t quite top the list of must-see TV at that stage of my life. However, I do have vague memories of a black car rolling up to a black door, a woman with a huge handbag walking tearfully out the door and waving goodbye. And yes, my parents smiling delightedly.

Attack on the twin towers - 11 September 2001
This is one I do remember very well. In S6 at Keith Grammar School, it was a Thursday afternoon and we had PE in the Community Centre. After we’d finished, one of the guys who hadn’t been taking part had seen the news bulletin on the TV in the canteen, told us that two planes had crashed into the World Trade Centre. We had a debating contest in Aberdeen that night (STB played football, I did public speaking – go figure) and there were about 30 of us on the bus. You’ve never heard a school bus go so quiet when the news came on the radio as we all tried to work out what had happened. I remember the next couple of days fairly vividly too, when one of my friends brought a Stars and Stripes into the Common room which we put up on the wall; the three minutes silence immaculately observed by staff and pupils alike; the tears for those we didn’t know.

England's World Cup Semi Final v Germany - 4 July 1990
When I said I was six and only enjoyed football, mud and sweets – and that Thatcher didn’t fit into that I was telling the truth. However, Italia ’90 was the first football tournament that I really watched – vividly. I had a wall chart (that I still have!) that my dad helped me fill in. I remember the humbling defeat Scotland suffered against Costa Rica, a great but losing performance against an unspectacular Brazil and a win against Sweden which, ultimately, was not enough to qualify. I’d sit on the couch at home with my Batman slippers and pjs (I was a cool kid… honest) and watch the games – the eccentric Colombian keeper v Cameroon, Paddy Bonner saving a penalty against Romania, David Platt scoring against Belgium in the last minute and the worst final I’ve ever seen. Semi-finals weren’t much better. I remember wondering why it was that West Germany were playing in green and why Gazza was crying. Who was I supporting? I don’t remember…

President Kennedy's Assassination - 22 November 1963
As with so many of the respondents to this, at the age of 24, I was nothing like around at the time of JFK’s assassination. Indeed, my parents were only about 6 at the time as well.

Well that was fun. In blog-meme style I nominate the following to repeat this:

Ewan Aitken
Mr Scottish Unionist
Ideas of Civilisation

J. Arthur MacNumpty


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