Sunday 21 June 2009

A Sheltered Life

If you've blogged, you must have done it. Thought something would make a great article, but having done the research, realised it just didn't work (that is unless you're Mary Honeyball or Paul Flynn, of course, they just write any old crap).

Well, MSN were running with an article yesterday entitled

When the whole world turned on the TV

... there are moments when television switches from servant to master. When it demands to be watched, no matter what we're doing, no matter where we are.

Starting with OJ's slow-motion car chase, they listed all the times we have been glued to our sets ... before explaining why we weren't actually doing so at the time.

I reckon it might work well as a meme though, so here's MSN's stuff and what I was doing, side by side.

OJ, June 17th, 1994

MSN: As such, the chase became a textbook 'where-were-you?' moment.
Dick P: Where was I? Haven't a fucking clue.

Death of Diana, August 31st, 1997

MSN: It being a Sunday, virtually the entire nation was having a lie-in.
Dick P: So was I, having worked late the night before.

Challenger disaster, January 28th, 1986

MSN: It being a Tuesday, this meant that the first report of it on British television occurred at 5pm in an edition of the BBC weekday children’s programme Newsround.
Dick P: It being a Tuesday, I was at work, or just finished and on the way to the pub (before pubs had TV). Don't remember watching much after that.

Resignation of Thatcher, November 22nd, 1990

MSN: Even so, for those at work or school during the day, word of mouth had to make do until a television set could be found.
Dick P: Heard something about it while I was working (again). No chance of turning the TV on in an engineering company though. Next.

England v West Germany, July 4th, 1990

MSN: It was said even Princess Diana, attending a social function in London, was being kept in touch of the score by telephone.
Dick P: Woo hoo! I watched one. I still say Shilton should have saved it.

Queen Elizabeth's Coronation, June 2nd, 1953

MSN: The coronation was the first event in British history to be seen by a mass audience on the small screen.
Dick P: Not by me it wasn't, not having been born and all that.

Iranian Embassy siege, May 5th, 1980

MSN: Their dramatic rescue attempt took place in full view of the ITN cameras. Footage, however, was not broadcast live.
Dick P: Nor did I watch it live. It was a bank holiday and there was a fair up the road.

September 11th, 2001

MSN: It was a weekday afternoon, so most people didn’t see pictures of the attacks until they got home from school or work.
Dick P: I was at work, so didn't see the pictures until ...

Assassination of JFK, November 22nd, 1963

MSN: It wasn’t until 11pm that the BBC was sufficiently organised to broadcast a proper tribute programme.
Dick P: Not born but heard about it years later from Mr P senior who was entertaining an air stewardess at the time. Mrs P senior wasn't happy.

So, not really 'The whole world turning on the TV' at all. Or is it just me?


Ian B said...

I remember where I was when the WTC was attacked. I was working as a mobile engineer at the time, and it was the one time I bunked off work. I'd been on the way back from a site in Kew, and we'd been having a problem getting this damned Ikea sofa, so I called my girlfriend from the train and said I'd sneak down to Croydon to try the Ikea there. Unfortunately it took me much longer to get to the howling wasteland which is Croydon than I expected especially the ride on that miserable fucking tram thing, but I found the sofa, but then discovered that unlike the North London Ikea, you had to wait for it to be handed to you at a counter thing.

So I waited and waited. My mum happened to phone me up, and I had a chat with her, and then waited and waited, and then they switched on a telly over the dreary counter, and it was the WTC attack. Thought it was a movie at first.

I finally got my sofa and trundled it around to delivery- that's right, you had to wait for hours to be given your purchase, just so you could trundle it round a corner and hand it back to Ikea, and then I tried to get back to the West End as fast as possible, terrified that the company would put out a call to engineers to participate in some kind lock down of all our office buildings or something, on the one day working for them I'd taken a risk of being nowhere near where I was supposed to be. By the time I got back to our base site at Portland Place, the towers were down. That was the first thing the security guard said as I walked in.

So that was where I was. I've still got that sofa, even though that girlfriend is long gone.

I also remember where I was when I heard about Princess Diana's death, but that's because my flatmate came home and declared that Princess Diana had been killed in a car chase pursued by Pavarotti.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Sept 11th

I was at my Dad's house, packing to fly to Japan the next day.
The Ex-bitch phoned me from the City saying the building was being evacuated as a plane had hit a building in NY.
I turned on the TV just in time to watch the first tower fall.

My trousers turned brown and I started mainlining immodium for the flight the next day.

Cate Munro said...

Great post Dick!

lol - I've kind of 'done it' - thought something would make a great post - ACTUALLY researched it - spent ages on it in . . . .and then no-one reads the fucka! lol And yet the posts I whip up in about 5 minutes get the most hits!

It's funny how the media deem it their job to create the 'where were you' moments! I guess, in the end, it's all subjective!

Personally, my most vivid such moments were the death of Diana: when I'd just put a sick friend to bed and stayed up watching Sky News in the early hours and actually saw the story break - and then followed it through the day.

Watched the resignation of Thatcher live on TV (can't remember quite how - probably bunking off lectures at Uni.)

And actually watched 911 live as I was out to lunch with work and there happened to be a TV on in the restraunt!

So there you go!

That was fun! :-)

Unknown said...

1953, Was barely 7 months old but am pretty sure next to nobody in the UK could afford a bloody TV.

OJ, Me either, and couldn't give a shit.

Death of Diana, Trying to wake up with my morning tea.

Chit, getting bored with this now Dick as I am always with MS bloody N!


Unknown said...


I remember exactly where I was - in a hotel on 80th and Riverside on holiday.

A friend called me that morning from LI and told me to switch on the TV. I did so, but got no channels (I believe this was due to a transmitter on top of one of the towers).

Finally they got some emergency channel on. Oddly enough, that had my attention for most of the day - mainly waiting for news of when they would open up the city/trains again so that I could get the hell out of there.....which didn't happen till around 10pm that night.

Anonymous said...

I've done the meme thing on my blog, but just wanted to say yep, my drafts folder is littered with things that ended up going nowhere! Either I get fed up, or end up re-writing the whole thing to fit the facts and it's nowhere near as good as it was when I was wrong. Damn, maybe I should go and work for the sun, then I wouldn't have to worry about things like that...

Unknown said...

Dick, you’re right about the JFK tribute later that evening, but it was shown extensively throughout the day…I remember it well.

It was just after lunch, and my parents were away for a few days. I was with a great dolly from Oak Avenue, just up the road from where my parents still live.

I remember trying to be a man by pumping hard for England, and I must say Helen got into a great rhythm, humperty pump, rumperty rumperty rump…well you get the picture. It was a case of looking over my shoulder every few strokes and seeing this apocalyptic drama unfold. In those days old black and white sets tended to have strange lines obscuring the action, never the less it was difficult to forget the day JFK got popped.

The only other great telly moment was when Muhammed Ali beat Sonny Liston for the heavyweight title at Madison Square Garden…I forget the date…I was making a new friend in Betty…my first blow-up doll!

I wonder where she is now?

BTS said...

A puncture-repair kit really is a must..

Dick Puddlecote said...

Ian B: " flatmate came home and declared that Princess Diana had been killed in a car chase pursued by Pavarotti.".


Chris: Yours are the most revealing and off-the-wall comments I have ever seen. Keep it up ... and let me know what you're smoking as it's obviously far stronger than my current stash. :-)

Henry North London 2.0 said...

I was at work and there was a tv so we watched it there Sept 11th
I got up and didnt switch the TV on until about 12 and tried to flick channels before seeing that they were all saying the same thing

I got pissed off I was wanting to watch quality tv,

banned said...

Never really took any notice.

September 11th, 2001
I walked into a motorcycle retailer and found all the customers and staff glued to the two or three TVs, like others I thought it was an action movie until the light dawned.

Challenger disaster, January 28th, 1986
I was drunk for 1986.

Death Of Princess Di, I was in late night taxi when the news came over the radio, someone made a bad pun about Deadi Fayed; watched the funeral down the pub.

Iranian Embassy siege, May 5th, 1980
Sunny day in London, out and about wiv me mates.