So this week sees the Queens Platinum Jubilee. It got me thinking, what National Events and celebrations have stuck in my memory? What events do I look back on with a warm tingle. What big celebrations do I recall with happiness?
1966 - England win the World cup. Now I was only three and three quarters years old at the time, so my memories of the event are a bit sketchy to tell the truth. I wasn't really interested in Football, but I do have strong memories of it. Back in the 1960's not much happened, but as our family had a telly, the house was packed and we had a massive party. I recall my elder Brothers and all of their friends gathering around to watch. I recall the huge whoops of celebration as Geoff Hurst scored his hat trick. My brother are sixteen years older than me, so they'd have been 20 at the time. I really got into football a couple of years later, in 1968 when Manchester City won the League. I adopted City and it's been a roller coaster ride. But it is those sketchy memories of how happy everyone was that I believe cemented my love of football.
1971 - Decimalisation Day. This was the day that money changed in the UK. Out went Shillings, thruppeny bits, ten bob notes and half crowns and in came 5p's, 10p's and 50p's. It was a massive thing, My parents bought us special sets with the new coins in. I kept mine, as I believed it would be a great momento, but my elder brother nicked it and bought fags with the dosh. He was like that. I was really cross. He said "What's the point keeping it, that's the new money now, the old money is what people will be collecting". My biggest recollection was that it was the first time I understood what inflation was. All of a sudden, fruit salads and blackjacks became far more expensive. Not really a celebration but very exciting for an eight year old.
1977 - The Queen's silver jubilee. This was a big deal. In 1966 it seemed like Britain as great. By 1977, we were the 'sick man of Europe (God only knows what we are now?). The Jubilee came along and was seen as a chance to bring the nation together. Four young herberts called the Sex Pistols had other ideas. The night before the celebration, I went to see The Ramones at The Roundhouse and my life changed. We had a street party in Millway that was fun, it was great to meet the neighbours. I still recall the spare ribs cooked in a giant pan by a Nigerian lady up the road. It was the most delicious food I ever tasted. I've always fancied a trip to Lagos as I was told that was the dish they ate. My Dad told our neighbour that she should open a restaurant and he'd go every week. The bloke two houses up the road was a DJ and he played disco and funk all day, which I wasn't so keen on, but was probably appropriate.
1981 - The 'Botham' Test match. Every so often a sports event happens that everyone talks about. In 1981, England were getting thrashed in the third test at Headingly. Step forward Ian Botham. He single handedly blew Australia away. My Dad was an Aussie and a cricket nut. He would watch the whole thing. I sat there with him and was transfixed. My Dad was a passionate Australia fan. As the final day unwound, I supported England and he supported the Aussies. As Bob Willis scuttled out the Aussies in their second innings, with England winning by 18 runs, I expected him to be gutted. He said "That is why I love Cricket, that was the best performance I've ever seen". He loved Botham, who he considered to be a real man. He said that he was the only England Cricketer who he could imagine playing in an Aussie team. For days after, all anyone talked about was Botham and the Test match. He was on TV everywhere. He'd claimed his place up there with the greats. Botham was possibly the first modern Englsh sports superstar. On telly, on quiz shows, doing sponsored walks. If it was today, he'd be on Big Brother and Dancing on Ice, walking them all.
1985 - Live Aid. This concert was born in the Tragedy of a famine in Africa. Being me, I went to an 'Alternative Live Aid' at Dingwalls and watched Johnny Thunders et all, as everyone else on the Planet watched Queen. I think I made the right decision. It was a fun day. When I got back, I was amazed to see my parents glued to the TV. My Dad made a humble confession, unprompted. He'd been moved by Bob Geldolf's four letter requests to donate cash. He told me he'd been wrong about punk and wrong about young people and the concert had made him realise that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. We all felt good about ourselves as a nation, which was good.
1999 - The Total Eclipse. I was working in London for the total eclipse. It was a very strange and memorable day. To see the whole city on the roof of their buildings looking at the sky in awe was probably the strangest day of my life. The city went still. It is funny how we have these seminal events and then completely forget them.
2000 - The Millenium. This was an event that only happens every 1,000 years. I had to work. We had a party, but I left at 10pm and drove to Aldgate. I drove back at 6am and people were still revelling. I was paid a shedload of money to work, so I couldn't turn it down. My children were small and my wife was pregnant, so it was the right thing to do. When I was driving back, I wondered if I was the only sober person in town. Many of my friends went into town and found it a bit disappointing. The 'River of Fire' was a let down by all accounts and you couldn't get in anywhere.
2012 - The Diamond Jubilee. Of all of the Queens Jubilee's, this was the one that I most enjoyed and got into. We spent the day in town, in the soaking wet. We couldn't get to see the Royal Floatilla. We ended up having fish and chips.
2012 - The London Olympics. This was perhaps the biggest, longest party in the history of London. It was amazing. I was in Camino celebrating on Super Saturday. Everyone seemed to be in a great mood. It was unbelievable as the medal stacked up. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing.
2022 - The Queens Platinum Jubilee - Once again, I've been working. We've been supplying sound systems for everyone else's street party. I had a takeaway and an early night. But everyone else has had a brilliant time.
Do you recall a 'national moment'