The media are making a predictable meal this week out of the 25th anniversary of Margaret Thatcher’s resignation and Bernard Ingham’s revelations about the shenanigans that led up to it. The current hoo-ha immediately reminded of where I was on November 22nd 1990 at 9.30am, when the news broke.
I was sitting in a well-known café in pre-gentrification Leeds city centre, staring out at drizzle-soaked passers-by, when the news was announced on the radio (it might have been on the telly,) just audible over the desultory chatter in the room. Not everyone there heard it immediately, but within seconds everyone got up and cheered and waved. That’s what the people of Leeds thought of Margaret Thatcher after eleven plus years of Tory government.
Oddly I cannot for the life of me remember where I was when President Kennedy was assassinated, but I do remember when the King George VI died, February 6th 1952. I was out shopping with my mum in Neasden (NW10) and we saw the news on a newspaper stand poster. Nobody cheered that day, I bet.
My good friend Rhys Jones read this and commented about my problem with the death of president Kennedy: “You were on the stage in the Percy Gee building rehearsing La Farce de Maitre Pierre Pathelin. The director (Brenda – I’m pretty sure that was her name) came in and announced it. No need to describe our reactions.” This was at Leicester University, where we were both performing in this obscure medieval French play. I guess I might have erased the event from my memory because I was such a rubbish actor in any language. I do remember Brenda……………..
From Neil Kendall: I was in the newsroom at TVS when Thatcher resigned – screams and shouting, mass jubilation … I presume anybody of a right-wing persuasion went into hiding! Schoolboy when JFK was shot – remember hearing it on the huge radio we had in the dining room (didn’t have a TV then!) and my mother crying 😦