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Tony Grist

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Goodbye, England's Rose [Sep. 1st, 2005|10:38 am]
Tony Grist
We just passed by the anniversary of Princess Diana's death.

Nobody made any fuss about it.

This is a new century and we have concerns of our own- thank you very much.

Diana has joined all those other royal beauties who briefly lit up the night and then departed, leaving nothing behind.

Princess Alexandra, anyone? "The sea King's daughter from over the sea?" Anyone remember her?

At the time I piously collected all the newspapers with stories about the accident and the funeral and stashed them away in a bottom drawer. "Some day," I told myself, "these will be of great historical interest."

Seems like I was wrong.

I had a major clear-out last year and they all went in the bin.

Mais ou sont les neiges d'antan.

[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2005-09-01 03:33 am (UTC)
Really? Yahoo! linked to a piece about folks leaving flowers at Buckingham Palace.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-09-01 03:41 am (UTC)
I guess a certain amount of flower-laying went on, but there was nothing in the media- no big new stories, no commemorative pull-outs, no TV specials....
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From: saskia139
2005-09-01 04:42 am (UTC)
One of my first pair of birds died just after Princess Diana and just before Mother Teresa. Her name was Hildegard and she was an autocratic, bossy, cranky, and suspicious bird. I pictured her entering heaven with them, conveniently perched on Di's stylish hat. I miss my finches. I don't have room for yet another cage right now.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-09-01 05:30 am (UTC)
"conveniently perched on Di's stylish hat."

That's a lovely picture...
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[User Picture]From: glitzfrau
2005-09-01 05:08 am (UTC)
Did you read this article in the Guardian, yesterday? It summed up many things I felt perfectly.
Suddenly it seems clearer what the Diana era itself, the 1990s, was all about. It was hard to tell at the time, but now the 1990s have a definition as sharp as the swinging 60s or the greedy 80s. They were the no-worry 90s.

For, viewed from today, the 1990s look like a kind of holiday, a pause between two eras of anxiety and conflict. Just as Eric Hobsbawm defined the 19th century as stretching from 1789 to 1914, so we can take the same liberty: the 90s began with the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 and ended with the fall of the twin towers in 2001.

In other words, that decade was the hiatus between the cold war and the clash of civilisations. Before the 90s, the world was caught in a stand-off between east and west that seemed destined to bring armageddon. After the 90s, the world has become locked in a new confrontation of east and west, with Islam replacing Communism as the great menace.

Never mind that both the old and new threats may be exaggerated, the danger felt and feels real. In the post-1945 era, we lived in fear of a third world war and a nuclear winter. In the post-9/11 era, we tremble at the prospect of suicide killers on a double-decker bus. Fear is the constant.

In the 1990s, we were granted a break from such angst. In America, Bill Clinton enjoyed a presidency defined, largely, by peace and prosperity. Of course military activity did not stop - as those bombed in Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan and Serbia can testify. But compared with the all-out war in Iraq today, or in Vietnam a generation ago, the 1990s stand out as a rare pause for breath.

After all, what were the preoccupations of the time? In the US, the two largest national dramas of the decade were the OJ Simpson trial and the Monica Lewinsky scandal. One looks at that from today's vantage point with a warped kind of envy: lucky is the society so untroubled that it has nothing graver on its mind than two glorified soap operas...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-09-01 05:32 am (UTC)
Yes I did.

If it hadn't been for that article I wouldn't have realised the anniversary had gone by.
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2005-09-01 06:23 am (UTC)
Newspaper articles aren't so unique as they once were, I guess, because it is so noted on the net. I remember where I was when it was announced she'd been in an accident, and the next morning when I woke up and heard on Canadian radio that she'd died.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-09-01 06:58 am (UTC)
Where was I when the news came through?

I think at home- but I can't pin the moment down exactly.
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[User Picture]From: tx_cronopio
2005-09-01 06:24 am (UTC)
Wow, that does seem like a dream long ago, doesn't it?

The only reason I remember it every year is that that was the day I went to the pound and brought home Grumpy Vizsla, who at that point was Happy Active Vizsla. Happy Anniversary, GV!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-09-01 07:00 am (UTC)
A dream- yes, exactly.

Once upon a time there was a princess who, alas, did not live happily ever after...

But at least it was a good day for old Happy/Grumpy Vizsla

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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2005-09-01 07:07 am (UTC)
Another thing I remember was that I was in Toronto at the time Sir Elton John's Tribute was released. My friend Susie and I came from the Pantages Theatre, giddy with having met Doug LaBrecque and Ethan Freeman, and there was a line of people stretching about six blocks. They were waiting for midnight, when the Tribute went on sale. That was in late September.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-09-01 10:02 am (UTC)
The only one of these Big Events I clearly remember is the Kennedy assassination. I was sitting in my bedroom doing homework and my parents had the radio on downstairs and I pieced together a picture of what had just happened from half-heard bits and pieces.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2005-09-03 05:49 am (UTC)
The night Diana died,
I called my sister:
Turn on CNN!

There was no information!
It drove us crazy!

For over an hour
I thought those
dumb mannikens
in the hospital lobby
were real people,
their smiles frozen in place.

(The nurse had her arms out.
I thought that was weird.)

I thought they were security,
to keep out the press.

While I waited
(I knew what was coming),
I remembered Di's wedding:

the train on her gown,
her fairytale carriage.

She was so pretty.

Two weeks ago
our choir sang the anthem
sung at her wedding
(not for nostalgia:
because of the psalm).

Let all the people
praise Thee, O God.
Let all the people praise Thee.

She was so pretty.

And wild! She was wild
under her hats.

(I loved it that
her mother-in-law
didn't know how on earth
to handle that girl.)
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