The Friday Question: Where were you when…?


After JFK was perforated by a disputed number of shooters back in the 60s, the popular question of the day was:

Do you remember where you were when you heard?

In the last 10 or 15 years we’ve had a few news events which have been worthy of the same question, in that you’ll probably never forget where you were when you were told, or when you first caught it on the news – be it televised, on the radio or online.

Throughout the day, this post will be updated with a fresh news event every couple of hours. Check what the event is then cast your mind back to where you were when you heard about it the first time.

Maybe you were playing a lament on the mandolin? Perhaps you were eating an iced lolly and reading some Proust? Or, more likely, perhaps you were playing with your nub on a soiled mattress until all goo came out of the buttonhole.

We’ll kick off with:

Where were you when you first heard that Princess Diana had died in that tunnel in France, then? Eh?

10.30 update:

Where were you when you heard about the London bombings on 7/7?

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96 Responses to “The Friday Question: Where were you when…?”

  1. extremelisteningmode Says:

    Lying brutally hungover on a mates floor. He woke me up at 9.08 to tell me. Reason being, he’d already thought of a sick joke involving Lady Di and the then Celtic goalkeeper.

    British humour + blitz spirit – that’s what saw us through that difficult time.

  2. Swineshead Says:

    I was lying in bed with an enormous hangover, now I think of it. Which isn’t very interesting. The world went insane for a few days, didn’t it?

  3. Napoleon Says:

    I was watching The Rise & Rise of Michael Rimmer on BBC1. I’d wanted to see this film for years, and the BBC cut it off half an hour before the end to go to a news bulletin about Diana. I’ve blamed that bloody woman for making me miss that film ever since.

  4. ugeine Says:

    I was getting ready to go out for the day with my friends and their parents to Silverstone race course, which is near me. I was watching the news, and my mum came in and watched it with me. She hates the royals with a passion, but she was still upset. We still went to the race course, the thing we were going to was cancelled so we walked around for a bit. She was from the village two down from me so the next year became very Diana heavy around my way.

  5. Swineshead Says:

    My mother reacted strangely too – she hovered in the hallway after telling me. Three inches off the carpet. Then she went off to the mother ship. Haven’t seen her since.

  6. Sue De Nymh Says:

    I was hastily dumping a white Fiat Uno in an obscure part of the River Seine…

  7. ugeine Says:

    Some Americans asked me where ‘al – trop’ was around her funeral time. Naturally, I sent them to Buckby.

  8. mostlylouche Says:

    I don’t know, because I didn’t care then and I don’t care now. I’d imagine I still won’t care in the future. I’m slightly surprised that that you lot know, especially you Napoleon, I thought better of you.

    Hope this helps.


  9. Nick T Says:

    She’s dead?

    I remember being at school the day John Lennon died. I had heard it on the radio in the morning. No one else at school seamed to know.

  10. Napoleon Says:

    Louche – It’s seared in my memory. I’d heard about the Peter Cook-starring Rise & Rise of Michael Rimmer for years, and this was my first opportunity to watch it. It was on quite late at night, and then the bastard BBC abandoned it for a news flash. I stayed up a further two hours in the vein hope that they’d put the end of the film on. And did they? Did they fucking arses.

  11. ugeine Says:

    My dad explained it to me but in a casual kind of way I remember. When cantona kicked that Crystal Palace fan, I got hot dogs and sat down a the table, and both my parents told me with the tone you use when talking about a dead relative.

  12. Swineshead Says:

    Of course Louche remembers, he’s trying to be anti-establishment despite the fact he’s got the same accent as Carole Thatcher.

  13. Swineshead Says:

    Sue De Nymph… great gag.

  14. Swineshead Says:

    NEXT UPDATE AT 10.30

  15. mostlylouche Says:

    Swineshead, fuck off.

  16. Swineshead Says:

    That’s right, Louche! Stick it to the man!


    Advice: Get into your pyjamas, get back into bed, go to sleep, wake up, then get out of the bed on the right side.

    What I’m trying to say is ‘someone got out the wrong side of bed’.

  17. ugeine Says:

    Is it bad that until I read the article I thought that was a picture of Jill Dando? The 90s sure were crazy times!

  18. piqued Says:

    I’d just moved back to my folks the day after the end of a 5-year relationship. I was in bed with a gargantuan hangover and I heard mum yell up the stairs to dad ‘Lady Di has been killed’ and I distinctly recall thinking ‘bollocks’

    Oddly the death of a famous person usually occurs at the end of a relationship with me. Indeed, I’d literally just finished finishing with someone when a certian Swineshead texted me to tell me John Peel was dead. That really fucking hurt that did.

  19. mostlylouche Says:

    Will this process magically make it seem acceptable for you to make assumptions about me because of the way I talk?

  20. indy Says:

    i was lying on a floor with a hangover in the “finnish” suburbs to swedish gloomy industrial town borås.

    but where was prince philip at that moment?

    any thoughts about wogans handover to norton by the way?

  21. Swineshead Says:

    I was making a joke, Louchey, after you mocked people for remembering an item that was on the news for three days solid. You came on in an arse so I thought ‘hey – let’s all act arsey!’

    Anyway, shall we move on? It’s almost time for the next news item. You can pretend you didn’t know about that one too.

  22. Swineshead Says:

    Wogan to Norton – is that Radio 2? I don’t listen to Radio 2.

  23. ugeine Says:

    If you’re trying to tell me Graham Norton’s taking over breakfast instead of Wogan, I’m going to kill myself. Literally.

  24. Swineshead Says:

    Board updated!

    On the day of 7/7 I was looking at the BBC website from my ‘workstation’ and noticed that a bus I take regularly was a convertible.

    I had to walk home from work that day. Three or four miles. Bastard terrorists – don’t they realise what they do?

  25. extremelisteningmode Says:

    No, Eurovision.

    What was really annoying when Lady Di passed was the way you were forced to grieve. Not giving a fuck was defined as unacceptable.

    Father ted died a few months later and I was much more cut up about that.

  26. extremelisteningmode Says:

    SH – the best example of a caring company came on 7/7 when Price WaterhouseCoopers let all their staff go home early…and docked them all 0.75 of a days wages the following month.

    Compassionate Capitalism right there, folks.

  27. Swineshead Says:

    We’ve moved on! 7/7!

    But to quickly go back – I remember Ian Hislop was the first to mock the public outpouring of artificial, Sun-sponsored grief. I admire him for that, despite him being a bit irritating.

  28. Swineshead Says:

    HAHA – I got paid for going home early.


  29. Napoleon Says:

    I heard about the bombings on the radio and, like thousands of others who live outside the capital, began frantically ringing people up to make sure they weren’t dead. If I’m honest, I was more concerned that nobody was dead who supplied me with work than I was with those I just knew in London. Mercenary, I know, but you’ve got to keep your priorities straight at times of crisis.

  30. Swineshead Says:

    While I’m talking to myself, I’ll just remind me that Last Millionaire was ace last night. It’ll be on BBC1 before long, mark my words.

  31. Swineshead Says:

    Ah yes. I forgot those emails and texts. ‘You alright?’

    Stewart Lee covered it expertly in one of his routines – top of the page in a few secs:

  32. extremelisteningmode Says:

    I was going on holiday on 8/7 so after the initial run of texts, my focus moved slightly.

    I know that makes me a cant, and I feel bad about that, but them’s the facts.

  33. Who Says:

    I remember going into the Wellingborough hellhole where I worked the day after and finding that none of the fucktards there gave a shit about the bombings. I put this down to their inbred ways: London was a far away place, somewhere you went only once in your life. I was the only one going outside a week later to observe the one minute silence – I must have looked like a right self righteous arse, but I didn’t care.

  34. Napoleon Says:

    Who – To be fair, the British have been bombed on and off since the 1940s. The indifference you write about doesn’t surprise me in the slightest.

  35. extremelisteningmode Says:

    I was in the pub in Glasgow having a few on a session with a group of mates, one of who was up from Birmingham. A newsflash broke in about the terror attacks at glasgow Airport (which turned out to be a damp squib, but this was before anything was known.)

    We stood in silence before one turned round to the Brunmmie and went ‘That’s you fucked for a flight home the morra then. What’s everybody drinking?’

    Gotta love that!

  36. Nick T Says:

    7/7 I was at work telling everyone that is was all just an over reaction and that all was well.

  37. indy Says:

    i was at home studying the works of sociologists fiske and hebdige when i heard about the london bombings. i called my sister and a couple of friends who all live in london. it appeared that they didn’t know sh*t about the bombings. i knew more than they and they were all in bed/busy being hungover etc.

  38. Nick T Says:

    NMTB was one of the funniest last night

  39. John Q Wagonwheel Says:

    Diana I’d got up really early and was watching cartoons and that came on and ruined the cartoons. 7/7 I was at school, drinking coffee.
    When they pulled down the Saddam statue in Iraq I happened to be getting headlines on News24 when they cut to live footage of all Iraqis with shoes running into a big square and saw it all live (with a delay, I’m sure).

  40. Who Says:

    You’re right of course, Nappers. I suppose I was just a bit surprised that where every bit of news is hyped up 500% these days, it still failed to register with them, even a tiny bit.

  41. John Q Wagonwheel Says:

    Who – I object to any minute’s silence other than on the 11th November. They have them for everything these days – football players dying, missing children. Hardly amounts to the gravity of the second biggest land-war in European history, does it?

  42. extremelisteningmode Says:

    Yes, Buzzcocks was superb last night. Dermot O’Leary actually came across as ‘not a dick’.

  43. extremelisteningmode Says:

    JQW – Spurs had one when Glenn Hoddle was the manager there because his Mum had died. I mean, FFS.

  44. piqued Says:

    I was dead on Nappers game last week and no one gave me a minutes fucking silence. Thanks a bunch guyz

  45. ugeine Says:

    My mum woke me up and told me to come downstairs. I remember a bit of a surreal feeling.

  46. John Q Wagonwheel Says:

    Haha, she considered it that important?

  47. Nick T Says:

    I wasn’t playing Naps game so Pique’d death passed me by.

    You over it yet ugeine?

  48. Napoleon Says:

    Speaking of Piqued, I’m thinking of starting up a charity called ‘Piqued-Aid’ after reading the devastating news that he’s not getting a Christmas bonus this year. On behalf of the self-employed of Great Britain, I’d like to be the first to offer my heartfelt condolences at what must be a very difficult time for Piqued. We’re with you, son.

  49. ugeine Says:

    Getting there Nick, the support group’s a great help.

  50. piqued Says:

    NC, if you understaood the gravity of the matter you might not be cracking jokes

  51. piqued Says:

    That was ‘understood’, of course (and ironically)

  52. Napoleon Says:

    Piqued – I don’t, I’m afraid. Like most folk in this country, I have no concept of receiving free money for no reason in December.

  53. Swineshead Says:



  54. Napoleon Says:

    I believe I was watching the telly when the Berlin Wall came down. If memory serves, I was watching a load of East Germans with mullets, moustaches and cheap leather jackets with the sleeves rolled up sledgehammering a wall.

  55. John Q Wagonwheel Says:

    Italy. I was 5 months old.

  56. Napoleon Says:

    5 months old? In 1989? Christ.

  57. ugeine Says:

    Probably playing with lego.

  58. Nick T Says:

    1989 I was in Australia, working as a lifeguard. I cared not about world events then……..

  59. piqued Says:

    It’s not free money NC, as I said, you don’t understand

    I’m not a fucking banker!

  60. piqued Says:

    No idea what I was doing when the Berlin Wall came down, I was an art student so that may explain it

  61. extremelisteningmode Says:

    There was a letter in Viz about a chap who said he’s always remember where he was on 9/11 as he’d been round the house next door banging his neighbours wife. I hope it’s true. Unless he lived next to me. Even then.

  62. Napoleon Says:

    Piqued – It’s free money. If it wasn’t, you’d get it in your account every month as part of your salary. FREE MONEY.

    I’m in floods of tears for you over ‘ere.

  63. piqued Says:

    The bonus is part of my salary, basically I’ve been short changed

    As said (again) you don’t understand

  64. Swineshead Says:

    Shall we leave Piqued’s personal finances to the side? Not very nice to take the piss out of that when we don’t know his circumstances…

    Mullets – Germans – David Hasslehoff….etc…

    As you were(n’t)

  65. ugeine Says:


  66. piqued Says:

    Thanks for that U

  67. piqued Says:

    … bit at least I’m still a ghost-faced post killa

  68. Napoleon Says:

    Crippled pauper.

    Anyway … I’m sure you’re all aware that part two of ‘Parents of the Band’ is on tonight? I can’t wait to see if it lives up to last week’s extraordinary first episode.

  69. piqued Says:

    fuck you on about

    *chews gum with mouth open*


  70. Napoleon Says:

    Television, Piqued.


  71. piqued Says:


    On a friday night!!?

    Fuck off yeah!


  72. ugeine Says:

    What’s that in your pocket ghost? / It’s a dill pickle / not that / oh that’s a 45 stainless stickle.

  73. Swineshead Says:

    Saw the end of that Jimmy Nail monstrosity. Fancy doing an article on it Nappers? It was fucking SHIT.

    Erm… 9/11?

  74. Napoleon Says:

    Piqued – Have you been informed that you can record television? I believe the option’s been around for a while now.

  75. Swineshead Says:

    Star Stories was good though.

  76. Nick T Says:

    Orange are cutting my mobile bill by 2.5%, diesel is down to £1.02 a litre, interest rates down to 2%.

    We’ve never had it so good….

  77. Napoleon Says:

    Bugger. I missed that Star Stories.

  78. piqued Says:

    I did see that mind, bloody good stuff and nicely near the mark

  79. ugeine Says:

    9/11, I was at school. And everyone was behaving like dogs. And the horses were coming down Violin Road And Dutch was dead on hwas feet And the rooms all smell like diesel And you take on the Dreams of the ones who have slept here. And I’m lost in the window I hide on the stairway I hang in the curtain aWasleep in your hat And no one brings anything Small into a bar around here. They all started out with bad directions And the girls behind the counter has a tattooed tear, One for every year he’s away she said, such crumbling beauty, but there’s nothing wrong with her that $100 won’t fix, she has that razor sadness That only gets worse With the clang and the thunder of the Southern Pacific going by As the clock ticks out like a dripping faucet ill you’re full of rag water and bitters and blue ruin and you spill out over the side to anyone who’ll lwasten and I’ve seen it.

  80. ugeine Says:

    Don’t copy and paste in a hurry, kids.

  81. piqued Says:

    I’d go one further, don’t bother at all

  82. piqued Says:

    stilla ghost-faced post killa muthas

  83. Nick T Says:

    Oh you kids and your drugs…

  84. Swineshead Says:

    ugh… er,,,

    Operation shock n’ awe?

  85. Swineshead Says:

    I was hungover and buying a chicken sandwich before going o the pub to get more hungover. It was on the TV in my local Turkish retail outlet and the shopkeeper told me it was ‘very, very, very bad’ and I asked if he could sell me two single fags as I couldn’t afford a packet.

  86. Nick T Says:

    *remembers Armstrong walking on moon, feels old, fucks off home*

  87. ugeine Says:

    ‘I’d go one further, don’t bother at all’

    LOL! That reminds me of a joke about money.

    Oh, you wouldn’t get it…

  88. charliemingles Says:

    Hello everyone! Long time no see. I have a new job and dont have external email internet access …

    *tumbleweeds of disinterest*

    Anyway, I was nowhere interesting when I heard about Diana. It was a sunday morning if I remember and I was lying in bed wanking when the news came on the radio. It almost put me off my stride.

    911. To my eternal shame- I was listening to Steve Wright in the Afternoon. Thankfully, those aeroplanes smashing into that building brought me to my senses and I havent tuned in since.

  89. ugeine Says:

    At least something good come out of that travesty.

  90. Nick of the T Says:

    9/11 I was having root canal work on a tooth without anesthetic. I hate needles.

    I have since had that tooth removed.

    I did have anesthetic for that though, I’m not that stupid!

  91. charliemingles Says:

    At the risk of inviting myself onto one of Swineshead’s famous lists, I think Diana’s death was primarily an English phenomenon – maybe even a south east one.

    Whilst every fucker was in hysterical tears down south, up here we didnt really give a fuck.

    I was sharing a flat with a very dull, straight girl who worked in a bank (just the sort who youd think would collect charles and di tea towels) and even she was shouting at the tv set after a few days.

  92. Swineshead Says:

    Nobody cared in Lincolnshire so it was certainly south of the midleands, Mester Meengles

  93. ugeine Says:

    The people of Northampton were devastated. Apart from her, our only other celebrities are Alan Carr and Jo Wiley.

  94. charliemingles Says:

    Sorry to hear that Ugeine old boy. Alan Carr AND Jo Wiley. You poor bastards.

  95. Nick T Says:

    Come on!

    The Comedy Awards shurle?

  96. extremelisteningmode Says:

    You can’t be slagged too much for Alan Carr, he’s quite funny, if a bit annoying. But Jo Whiley….

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