An Acknowledgement: Draft 0.9
For much of the past thirty years, there has been a consensus that deregulated capitalism provides a just moral framework. One that promotes fairness, efficiency and social progress.
I have been a vocal supporter of this position. I have opposed improvements to welfare safety-nets on the grounds that they would interfere with the workings of the markets. I have advocated a ‘meritocracy’ in which we all enjoy the rewards of our enterprise and take the consequences of our mistakes.
For decades, I have stood by while millions of people who were not born with my material advantages have been forced to bend over and take it like a man while I have continued to enjoy the fruits of my advantaged start in life. I have always argued that poverty is, at least in part, the consequence of irresponsibility and poor judgement, and that to relieve that poverty would be to reward these shortcomings.
I have always reassured myself that the iron laws of the market show that there is no fairer way of organising human relations.
Furthermore, I have argued that taxation is, somehow, almost a form of theft, and that no situation is so bad that it isn’t made worse by government intervention.
I am now happy to concede that the leading lights of modern capitalism are the more deserving of the label ‘thieving bastards’ than anyone else alive. In a month in which people such as myself have received the kind of bail-out that I have refused to countenance for others who are less advantaged than ourselves, I am now willing to concede that I am - and have for a long time been - a worthless cheating parasite of the highest order.
If the families of the unemployed have suffered terribly over the years for their relatively minor lack of responsibility or good judgement, then in a fair world, I would be spending the next couple of decades up to my eyeballs in raw sewage for the wanton irresponsibility and stupidity that I have long advocated.
If I had even an ounce of honour, I would retire to my study with a generic bottle of blended scotch and a revolver in order to relieve those around me of the burden of having to gaze upon my hypocritical countenance for a moment longer.
But failing that, I now, at least, have the decency to acknowledge that a generous universal safety net funded out of general taxation would be a minimal concession to make given the huge bailout that democratic governments have handed to the leading institutions of capitalism.
Furthermore, I am now prepared to accept that the kind of market liberalism that I have advocated for many years is entirely impractical in a modern democracy - and that effective liberal democracy is the only thing that stopped the entire population of my country, and it’s neighbours, from suffering the consequences of my long-standing stupidity, greed and dishonesty. I now concede that elected governments, and not larcenous shitheads such as myself, should drive public policy for the forseeable future.
Name: ………………………………………. (block capitals please)
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Do you know "the elephant and the group of blind people" story? It goes like this: A group of blind people get the chance to touch an elephant. Afterwards, each describes the elephant. One person describes the elephant as being a long, wiggly thing that hangs down and has a soft grappling mouth at the end. Another describes the elephant as being like a tree trunk. Another describes the elephant as being like a long, sharp, smooth rounded tooth.
I think the global economic situation is like an elephant and bankers are blind people who only know their bit of an elephant. None of them understand the whole animal.
That's why no one can say exactly why we are in this stupid situation where we are having to give money to banks, or how we get out of it. The Human brain is too small to compute the entirety of the massively complex global financial system. The whole thing is a triumph of human co-operation, but that means that no one person, or group of persons, understands how it all works. No one person is in charge.
And at the moment it seems to me that no one is in charge of America - that whirlpool of financial chaos that's churning up the financial waters of the rest of the world. Bush is stuck because he can't take military action against a financial system, and for the country's next president there's a choice between a man whose voice has not long broken or one who pops his teeth into a glass of water every night and probably has bed baths.
None of them has the guts to tell America that it has got to stop being so scared of this 'sliding towards socialism' nonsense, bite the goddamn bullet and loan its banks billions of pounds they need. Americans would soon learn that it will not be the first step towards communism. It will be the first step towards mopping the fevered brow of capitalism.
I'll do it if no one else will. Although, if Hettie Jacques is still alive, I think she should.
Failing that, I think we should take the second home of every banker and give them to the less well-off who were priced out of their own villages by the wankers from the city. Then the bankers should be put in the stocks and have stale focaccia thrown at them before being dragged to the Halifax Gibbet (oh, the irony). Imagine how much fun we would all have distributing their wealth.
Then we should all learn the words to The Internationale and have a good old singalong ...
Arise, wretched of the earth
Arise, convicts of hunger
Reason thunders in its volcano
This is the eruption of the end
Of the past let us wipe the slate clean
Masses, slaves, arise, arise
The world is about to change its foundation
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Why hasn't Amy Winehouse been arrested? Her home is the UK's, if not the world's most famous drug den. Why is such latent illegal activity tolerated? Why haven't police raided her place and thrown all the rags of humanity found therein into the nearest jail? How much longer do we have to watch Amy's barely warm corpse running around London. Someone arrest it and put a stop to it, for all our sakes.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Today I spoke about who I am, what I believe and why I'm determined to lead this Party and this great country. Because together we need to build a fair Britain for the new age.
I give you this assurance - no ifs, no buts, no small print - my unwavering focus is taking this country through the challenging economic circumstances we face and building the fair society for our future.
Today I told Conference that from next year those fighting cancer will no longer pay prescription charges; that we will offer more free nursery places to two year olds; that a million families will be given financial help to get online; and that any child who falls behind in primary school has a guaranteed right to catch up tuition. And for the first time in our history we will introduce legislation that enshrines in law our commitment to end child poverty.
Never for get that every single blow we have struck for fairness and for the future has been opposed by the Conservatives.
At every stage they have opposed a fairer Britain - no paternity leave, no New Deal, no Bank of England independence, no Sure Start, no devolution, no civil partnerships, no minimum wage, no new investment in the NHS, no new nurses, no new police, no new schools - we did mend the roof while the sun was shining.
Their strategy is to change their appearance, to give the appearance of change, and to conceal what they really think - and when salesmen won't tell you what they are selling, it's because they are selling something no-one should buy.
Just imagine where we'd be if they'd been in a position to implement their beliefs - no rescue of Northern Rock, no action on speculation, no protection for mortgages, doing nothing to stop banks going under.
Everyone knows that I'm all in favour of apprenticeships, but let me tell you this is no time for a novice.
In these uncertain times we will be the rock of stability and fairness upon which people stand.
The fair society. Fairness at home. Fairness in the world - that's the new settlement for new times.
I know what I believe. I know who I am. I know what I want to do in this job. And I know the way to deal with tough times is to face them down.
Stay true to your beliefs. Together we are building the fair society in this place and in this generation.
The mission of our times - the fair society, the cause that drives us on - and we will win, not for the sake of our party, together we will win for the future of the country.
A fair Britain for the new age. OK. What does that mean?
Joke about being popular. Stop smiling Gordon. It's not you.
Now ripping off Sarah Palin's speech about why he was elected - for the people stoopid.
Gordon gets angry. He knows the difference between right and wrong.
Talking about his kids now. Trying to get us to see him as human.
The 10p issue stung him. Stung me too. In the pocket. Fair play for bringing it up though.
I think he should stop pausing for applause so often, it's breaking things up too much.
Camera on Miliband. Poor chap.
Uncertain times, we must be, we will be the rock of stability and fairness upon which people can stand. Hmm. OK.
Moral purpose - serving people on middle and modest incomes, we are on your side. Hmm.
Security for all, fair chances for all, fair rules applied to all. Hmm. Fair is new buzz word.
Judgement and values. Labour are pro things. Pro-market party.
Hard work, effort and enterprise. Doesn't sound much fun.
Is it me, or do he keep saying the word "sex"?
Markets cannot deliver it all on their own. Hasn't been to the Bullring indoor and outdoor markets then, you can get bloody everything.
Economy Economy Economy. Financial world to be rebuilt. Lots of meetings. OK.
Hard work, effort and enterprise again. Get the party started.
Rise in global population and rise in need of fuel - end oil dictatorship and something about the climate change. 80% cut in carbon reductions by some far off date. No problem. 1 million new jobs somehow.
The word "fair" again.
Mentions fuel allowance and insulation payments. Tories never did it.
Harry Potter joke. Ha ha.
Tougher choices to make. Value for money from our taxes. Good. OK. Economy again and public spending.
Stop smiling man! We don't need it from you!
"This can be a British Century" OK. What's that?
Economy again. But also about community changes. Anti-social behaviour. Ah! The Law and Order bit!
Now security and dignity for all pensioners.
Children, now. We will be the party of the family.
The word "fair" coming up alot again.
Challange of new times demands progressive government. Yup. This country needs a Laboutr government. Doesn't deserve it though.
Government record now.
Missing Tony Blair. Loved his speeches. He didn't raise his voice and pause for applause at the end of every other sentence.
Personalising Labours achievements, very good. Talking about dads and grans and taking people up the aisle. Very impressive. Finally feel he means it. Big long round of applause. Crowd thought so too.
Fairness is in our DNA.
Soul of our party. Love it!
Big applause again.
New wave of rising social mobility. Develop all the talents of all the people. I'm screwed then. I really have no useful talents.
Hard work, effort and enterprise again. Oh dear, must we?
Harriet Harmon gets a thanks. She seems v pleased.
Ed Miliband gets a mention too! Bless!
John Denham, Ruth Kelly, John Hutton.
Big change - punlic servies: must be unoversal, available but now also personal to each. Investing in children. oooh, what's this? excited! Beverly Hughes, Children's Centres in every area and free nursery care for 3 and 4 yrs old. Now will be taylored to needs of child. Starting in 30 communities, stage by stage, intriduce free nurswry care for 2 year olds. Thought we already had that?
Lifting children out of poverty. 2020 child poverty will be gone. Not if some parents keep spending child benefit on drugs and fags it won't.
Pace of reform ins chools to be kept up. Good.
Fairness again. Excellence demanded. Every child will leave primary school able to read and write. Gaurenteed right to personal tuition for cacth-up. Wow! Iam liking this.
Crap schools will go. OK
Internet - will fund over extra million families to get on-line,s o can take part in broadband future. What?
NHS staff are thanked. Hopefully not the shit ones I've come across in my time. Big applause and standing ovation. Not entirely sure what for. Must have missed something.
Labour is the party of the NHS.
Personal mission. His eye story again. His eye sight was saved by NHS. Mine too!
Lowest ever waiting times in whole history of NHS. Fuck you Tories!
In April, free helaht check-ups for evey one over 40. That is fantastic. That really is very good. Fuck you Bupa.
Now saying how it is easier to see GP because of longer opening hours. Always had my support that one.
Medical research now. Subject close to my heart. Billion pounds of investment to turn research into treatment and cures. Wow! Love it. Can think of two conditions I'd like him to look at.
From next yr, cancer sufferers will not pay prescription charges. OK.
The word's fair twice.
Heading towards abolishing prescription charges for everyone with long term conditions! WoW! Wow! Wow!
Equality for female pensioners now. Social care. New plans to help people to stay longer n their own homes> Excellent. The fairness older people deserve. Yup!
Our ideas are the ideas that will realise the hopes for a beter future. Have to say, on what he has pledged, would have to agree. There are casues worth fighting for. A future worth fighting for. Agree! Agree!
New responsibility now, a nothing for nothing thing. Every one who can should work. Boo! What if I win the lottery? Do I still have to work because I can? Don't like.
Justice system reform - putting victims first. Oh God. No. Don't like it. Whatever.
Freedom from persecution. Welcoming new commers but being tough about those who want to come here and doss about. Fairness, you see. OK.
Tory attack time. A list of all the things that wouldn't have happened under them, that happened under Labour
Love him Love him Love him! "We fixed the roof whilst the sun was shining".
Attacking what Tories would have done over economy.
Wow! The man is furious about Osborne! Just look where we would have been! Look at what they would have done! Yes! Yes!
"This is no time for a novice"
Wow! This man is god. He really mewant that. He really enjoyed that.
Tory ruthless strategy. Salesmen.
He's enjoying this.
Tory public spending cuts. £1 billion Labour are giving to the rural poor will be given byt the Tories to the rich estates. More axing stories. Tories will betaking Sure Starts from the children. Our greatest gift to children, they will taek.
Tory policies - have nothing to offer, Tories still prisoners of their past. We know it. Look beneath their surface. The Tories have changed their tune, nit their minds. This country has never been broken by any one or anything. Fascism, Cold War, Terrorism. British people arw great.
Olympics now. Pride.
Britain is the best country in the world.
He's really into his speech. He really means all this.
Armed Forces. The Best.
Europe now. Love Europe. Especially Paris.
Justice and democracy in Burma, Zimbabwe and Darfur. Peace in Middle East (good luck with that one).
Rwanda. Touching. Genuinely touching. Labour will not stand by. Children will not go unheard. We will speak up for them. Very touching.
Fair society. New times.
I know what I believe. I know who I am. I know what I want to do in this job.
Face tough times down.
All worht it, if doing this job I make life better ... wow, he's done it for me now.
Tough times strengthen our resolve.
Incredible now. Best speech I have ever heard from him. together we are building the fair society.
We will win for the sake of our country. Thank you very much.
Monday, September 22, 2008
I haven't eaten meat or poultry for about seven years now. I've noticed during that time that some people who do eat meat and poultry feel I owe them an explanation as to why I don't eat what they do. They also want to know why I eat fish. And how come I still consume milk and cheese. And are those leather shoes I'm wearing.
The thinking goes like this - does not eat meat/poultry - is a vegetarian - obliged to observe consistent ethical code - eats fish, drinks semi-skimmed, has leather boots - doesn't observe code correctly - owes me an explanation.
And so, for the first time, in writing, should you be interested, here's an explanation of why certain things for me are off the menu:
I don't eat meat or poultry because I came to realise that I didn't feel comfortable doing so. I noticed that I was choosing not to cook with meat/poultry and did not choose meat/poultry when eating out. I was only eating meat/poultry when others cooked for me, and in order to eat the dish, I found myself having to try really really hard not to think about the fact that I wasn't eating mammal or bird. I didn't like the idea (really really didn't like the idea) that I was eating something that once lived and felt.
On top of my own emotional responses, I was reading stuff about about animal farming, and the suffering inherent in it, and about how a meat diet was the cause of so many health problems in humans, and about how the unprecedented meat production of modern times was screwing up the environment in a massive way, and eventually I came to the conclusion that there was no reason for eating meat/poultry that was anywhere near as good as the any reason for not eating meat/poultry.
No, not even a bacon sandwich with ketchup squared up against animal cruelty, cancer and survival of the planet.
As for fish, I've pondered many a time why I don't mind eating fish. I can eat a fish and think about it swimming about and being caught and killed, and you know what, no emotional response. I chomp away. It feels entirely normal to eat yummy fishes. Sea Bream. Mmmm.
The reason that I don't have an emotional response, I think, is that fish, as far as I am aware, do not have emotions themselves. Fish don't feel maternal towards their young, they don't recognise kindness, they don't experience fear. Cows, however, and pigs and sheep and chickens and things do. Just the same as the cats who live as part of my family and the pet dogs I've loved over the years.
If you think about it, there are animals that you, dear meat eater, might not like to eat because of an emotional response. Perhaps you'd balk at the idea of eating part of a parrot, or an elephant or a horse, just because of some instinct that these creatures shouldn't be eaten. That's why in Britain Tescos doesn't stock Labrador mince. The British don't eat dogs.
Or perhaps you would. Perhaps you are one of that small group of humans who are so carnivorous that if all the animals died you'd eat your own hand if the only other choice for dinner was carrots.
Even so, most of us have animals that we will eat and animals that we won't. You might not eat a jungle animal, he wouldn't eat fido and felix, I don't like eating any living creatures at all. Apart from fishes.
I am not a vegetarian and I don't call myself one. I suppose you could call me a pescetarian, but any such labelling runs the risk of people assuming that I have an ethical code that I am obliged to answer hostile questions about at length.
I also don't eat celery, liquorish, marzipan and will avoid if possible almonds and lettuce, but no one challanges me on those choices. If you've managed to read a blog post of this length, why not let STS readers know what you like and don't like to eat. And no rude answers.
I was just watching New Life Down Under, or whatever it's called, when a British family get to check out what life would be like if they lived in Australia. In every case, life would be better down there. Better weather, better parking, better value housing, better education, better wages, better transport system.
The place seems safer, bigger, warmer, drier, more fun. City living, coastal town, country. All of it. Better than here.
So I was thinking, why don't I go and live there. Have come up with:
a) cats wouldn't like to travel that far
b) too far from Paris
c) would miss varied UK architecture
Deal breakers. Perhaps I'll go on holiday to Sydney one day though.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Right after the two hours travelling, the two hours wandering about, the hour queuing and the three hours waiting (as documented in my previous post), Madonna came on stage to the song Candy Shop.
The stage was too low. Most people on the pitch I doubt could actually see her on stage. We had to rely a lot on the screens, which seemed oddly small and low-set too. Suggestion: next time Wembley, make the stage higher and the screens bigger. Otherwise some people might as well just stand waiting outside their own houses for three hours before entering their living room to begin bopping to a Madonna DVD on their TV.
Well, not quite. Actually, I doubt there is another experience to be had on earth that is anything quite like a Madonna concert. No other human being does what she does.
It was incredible.
It's like she's finally figured out what she's about. No more silly lyrics and flashing her bits and courting controversy. She seems to have realised that she is actually some kind of human shop where people come to get all sorts of fun and tasty things. Slurp up those super human looks of hers, breathe in that air of pure pop, feel that injection of energy from a catchy tune.
So many highlights; The 'It's Britney Bitch' clip, the grunge version of Borderline, her playing the guitar on Miles Away, She's Not Me, when she pranced around tormenting versions of her formal self on stage.
Most incredible part of the night was the videos you've probably heard about. 'Bad' video clips (with John McCain), then 'good' video clips (with Barack Obama), before Timberland bursts onto the screens with the spine-tingling start to 4 Minutes. The crowd really lost it then.
As it happens, the 'bad' video clips were quite upsetting, with images of dead and dying humans and animals. I get what she was trying to say in this section, but do such images of real pain have a place at a pop concert?
Then she finishes up with Give It To Me, and we so have. The crowd has given it up to her to the point of exhaustion. Probably not enough to completely satisfy her ego, but then that's a good thing. It means that she has to go on and on and on and on.
(with thanks to Mr Scribbles for providing me with the best birthday present of my life so far. You must love me)
Do you remember when you were an teenager and you knew every song in the top 20? And do you remember when you found a song or an album that you liked and you would play it again and again and again until your mom banged on your bedroom door and told you that if you didn't stop, she'd throw your record player out the window?
I'd forgotten about that affliction until Madonna's Hard Candy album. Not for many many years have I come across an album that is so addictive that if I go more than three and a half hours without listening to it, I start to get the shakes. I have to get up at 3am every morning to have a sweet fix.
When I saw the set list for the Sticky and Sweet tour then, which was heavy with songs from her new album, how excited was I? I was going to get to listen to Madonna's Hard Candy album being played really really loud, and no mother was going to come knocking on no door.
Ace or what, man?
Only thing is, I'm not actually a teenager any more. I've just turned 36 years of age. Going to see Madonna at her Wembley tour date last Thursday would mean a lot of walking and standing around. Would these old bones be able to take it?
Wembley didn't help me out there. The doors were supposed to open at 5pm, but when Mr Scribbles and I wandered over to the stadium from a nearby pub at about 5.30ish, the doors were still closed. This meant that huge queues were already forming. Mr Scribbles had the additional problem that there were announcements saying that 'large objects' could not be taken inside the stadium and he said he feared he'd be stopped because of his large penis.
In the end, we stood for half an hour before the doors were open and the queue started to move. Mr Scribbles' penis passed unnoticed inside his jeans and he was allowed in. Once inside, I queued for the ladies loo. Then I queued for a drink.
We got about an hour's respite sitting on the pitch before the 'support act' started and we all had to stand up. DJ Paul Oakenfield played some songs. Whatever they paid him it wasn't enough. Not everyone would be able to stand there and play one song after another for half an hour. Breathtaking skill.
Then the lights came up again and all we had to do was wait for Her Madgesty to turn up. 8pm came and went. We carried on waiting. Nothing else to do. The skies darkened. We waited.
8.30pm came and went. The top tier of the stadium got a Mexican wave going. Then one of the other tiers got a slow hand clap going. Meanwhile, we carried on waiting. I started to get the odd impression that I had always been there, standing on that pitch, staring at those two great big M's either side of a black stage that heaved with lighting rigs. Had always been there, would always be there.
Despite the fact that the crowd were mostly British, people started talking to the strangers next to them, such was the desperation. Suddenly, at about 9pm, the guy standing next to me, who appeared to have come on his own, and whose picture I had taken for him with one of the great big stage M's in the background, turned in my direction and said in a tone of soul-shaking awe GWYNETH PALTROW IS BEHIND YOU!
I swear, dear reader, if Jesus Christ had risen out of the ground there and then amongst us all, there couldn't have been more reverence in his voice.
As it was, Gwyneth Paltrow was enough, and she had brought Kate Hudson with her. They had arisen out of a small tent just behind where we were standing. They stood there, like royalty stand in the royal box at the theatre so everyone can see them and adore them. And we so did. We all fell over ourselves to stare and take their picture and stare.
I was so excited I had to eat my Mars Bar to shore up my blood sugar levels. Kate Hudson, poor girl, looked terrified and soon sat down. Hollywood Royalty are used to space on a red carpet and polite paparazzi behind barriers, kiss-arse interviews and unknown people seen only through the black-outed windows of limos. And here, within touching distant, were thousands of tired, slightly hysterical British people. I felt for her.
Gwinny, however, looked right at home. I'm assuming that's because she has practice of such terrifying situations because of her husband's job. She kept standing up to greet new people to the tent of the rich and famous, and we all kept taking photos and staring, and she kept right on smiling and looking really happy to be where she was. She is incredibly beautiful. Kate too. Even had they not been famous, you would probably have had to stare at them. Such symmetry in a face, such sculpted jaws and cheek bones, such shiny eyes. That level of beauty elevates mere humans to demi-goddesses. Although Gwinny's hair needed a good brush.
Madonna was forgotten now. Rich people in a tent seemed the point of everything. I mused that lessons could be learnt from this. People obviously don't mind waiting if they have famous people to stare at. I thought perhaps Virgin Trains could have some famous people on contract to walk up and down station platforms when engineering works held up their services. Who'd care if you were going to be twenty five minutes late into Euston when you had Jodie Marsh or Phil Mitchell from Eastenders to gawp at? Just an idea.
Soon after the descent of the Hollywood Godesses however, the lights went down and a wave of vocal excitement rose from the crowd like a living thing. The great big M's lit up. She was ready to come among us.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
As you will know, tomorrow scientists plan to smash some 'particle beams' together, just to see what happens, with just a smidgen of a chance that what might happen is that the experiment wipes out our entire cosmos. Small price to pay for a bit of curiosity, I say.
Scientists, eh? Scamps! Gotta love 'em.
Just on the off-chance our universe is destroyed though, I would like to take this opportunity to say cheerio and nice knowing you.
(Can't help thinking that this fatal turn in Earth's history will become the plot of many a film on the Planet Zog, with lots of CGI and smart quips from their equivalent of Will Smith)
Saturday, September 06, 2008
News from over the pond. One side gave a choice of a black candidate or woman candidate, and now the other side have put up a man and a woman together. Wow. Black people and women in the Whitehouse. Wonder if one day they will let atheists in. Probably not. Belief in sky spook mandatory in American politics for the next 120 years at least.
Friday, September 05, 2008
On the floor of our kitchen, by the back door, I often find snug/snail tracks when I come down in the morning. This morning, at 3am, unable to sleep, I slipped downstairs to have a cheese sandwich. There were two slugs on the floor. One was sucking on a cat biscuit.
Did the slugs come out at night, and hang out by our back door because that is where the cat bowls are, I wondered? Do they feed on left over cat food? Do they eat meat?
Well, seems possibly so! They love cat food: "I discovered a good way of catching slugs (not snails) when the introduction of a third cat into our household made cat number two decide she would only eat outside. Uneaten cat food proved an incredible draw for slugs of all sizes if left out overnight."
Well, I never.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Thanks Peter! Love these things:
Where was I when I learnt about:
Princess Diana's death - 31st August 1997
In our first little flat, on the phone to my mom. It was really early and I had panicked getting out of bed to answer the phone. Good news can wait, bad news can't. I had thought of my nephew, then of Tony Blair. I was always sure Blair was going to be assasinated because he seemed too good to be true. Mom was crying when she told me about the Princess, then I did too.
Margaret Thatcher's Resignation - 22nd November 1990
Oddly, I don't remember the actual resignation, but I remember one of the votes of 'no confidence' or whatever it was that shoved her towards the end. I was in a mini-bus with my sixth form friends, coming back from the theatre in Warwick uni where we had seen a very inspiring production of Volpone. Mr Lester had the radio on and they announced the results. It felt very momentous. It was.
Attack on the twin towers - 11 September 2001
In a hotel room, in mid-town Manhatten, New York. I was pretending to be asleep so that Steve would have to start the packing (we were flying home that day), and he put the TV on to wake me up. ABC showed one of the towers on fire. They were speculating that it was a serious gas leak, or maybe even that a light aircraft had hit the side. It was surreal, because we had been up there just the night before. It wasn't until claims that the second tower had been hit that the wonderment changed into fear. No accident. And no light aircraft either. Passenger jets? I went down into the hotel's lobby to use a phone to call my folks, just to say we were OK, but everyone in the hotel had got there before me. The look on everybody's face. The young people crying down the phones in various languages. My mom, when I eventually got to speak to her, was surpringly chipper, right up until the moment she realised that Steve and I were still in New York.
England's World Cup Semi Final against Germany - 4 July 1990
At home with my mother and one of my brothers, who kept chanting stupid things as if a win depended on him saying the right things at the right time. He never bothered with football normally. I was in love with Toto Schillaci. I stopped talking to my History teacher because he had said he was a car thief. The summer of 1990 is my Summer of '69.
President Kennedy's Assasination - 22 November 1963
Nope, sorry, before my time. But I like to think I'd have been drinking soda in a five and dime store, wearing a pretty dress and crying really hard.
*Villefranche, France. I was there.
MONDAY: light rain, followed by rain
TUESDAY: heavy rain, clouds, rain
WEDNESDAY: heavy rain, followed by light rain, with clouds
THURSDAY: spells of rain, with cloud
FRIDAY: heavy rain storms with risk of flooding
SATURDAY: weather warning, torrential rainfall
SUNDAY: light rain with sunny spells
no vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end