6 September 2008


Just to clear it up with Paulie:

Princess Diana's death — 31 August 1997
In bed in Hackney with my then girlfriend, with whom I’d written a book on the Labour Party that was about to be published. Someone called to tell us very early in the morning and woke us up. My first thought was that it would mean we'd get no reviews, but I was wrong.

Margaret Thatcher's resignation – 22 November 1990
In the Tribune office in 308 Gray’s Inn Road, doing an honest day’s work as reviews editor. John Booth came round with a bottle of champagne. The Tribune staff drank it then spent a couple of hours in the Lucas Arms across the road.

Attack on the Twin Towers —11 September 2001
On a TGV travelling down to the south of France to hitch up with my then girlfriend and others. The train was stopped just outside Lyons and I caught the explanation that it had something to do with “events in the United States”. But it was only when I arrived in Montpelier several hours later that my friends told me what had happened. I then spent three days glued to the television and wrote a piece about Victor Serge.

England's World Cup semi-final against Germany – 4 July 1990
Round my mate Graham’s place in Finsbury Park supporting Germany, to the disgust of his friend John, who has not spoken to me since.

President Kennedy's assassination — 22 November 1963
Well, it might not be true, but the family story is that I was in the living room in Ipswich on my own aged four watching television when a news flash came on announcing that Kennedy had been shot. I went into the kitchen and told my mum, who was making the tea: “Someone’s killed the president!” She replied: “Don’t be silly, dear!”

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