As Chris Applegate says, this was absolutely screaming out to be a meme. Jawbox has done it aswell. But I refrained from calling it a meme in my post because I didn’t want to be responsible for starting one. Looks like I’m getting the blame for it anyway. Uhh, it was his fault! No, his!
Anyway, at least this is actually an interesting one. I found both Chris’ and Ben’s posts fascinating — partly I think because they are at a similar-ish age to me (whereas my year was 1994, Chris lists Italia ’90 in his memories, and Ben recalls France ’98).
Even though I was only 4 or 5, there are a few things that I remember from Chris’ list. The biggest memory is the World Cup — although I only really strongly recall the Italia ’90 mascot (it looked a bit like Lego), and even that is a bit hazy. I do vaguely remember the fall of the Berlin Wall (maybe not from the time it actually happened), but I was not aware that West Germany and East Germany were actually separate countries until several years later!
I also remember a specific part of the Gulf War — the word ‘Baghdad’, which was always in the news. I distinctly remember one day thinking, “Whatever happened to that important place called ‘Baghdad’?”
I think I remember the completion of the Channel Tunnel, although maybe I only remember the opening. I definitely remember the opening. That guy with the moustache from Allo Allo was on the television, presumably because that was the only way to illustrate an Anglo–French connection.
I don’t remember Margaret Thatcher’s resignation, although I do remember Thatcher being Prime Minister. I don’t remember this, but apparently when I was young and Thatcher appeared on the television I used to say “of coouurse”, mimicking her condescending mannerisms. See? I was a hilarious satirist when I was 3! Where did it all go wrong?
What is kind of worrying about Ben’s list, as I said in the comments at his, is the fact that for him France ’98 is one of those dim and distant memories. That makes me feel very old. Even scarier is the fact that I don’t even remember all of the events that he lists! Canadian air crash? No recollection, although I never found aeroplane crashes that surprising when I was young. Big heavy lump of metal in the sky falls from the sky — what a big surprise! So goes the logic of a pre-teen Duncan at least.
Anyway, remembering news events from when you were nine is for pussies! Chris ups the stakes, and asks what is the earliest memory you have of the news, “not just in recalling it, but being able to have some understanding of the situation”?
I’m guessing the Gulf War doesn’t count because I only knew the word ‘Baghdad’ from it and nothing else. And I don’t think knowing what the mascot of Italia ’90 looked like quite counts as a news event, so I have to keep on looking.
Although I remember lots of things from 1990 and 1991, I obviously wasn’t watching the news. So we turn to 1992. And bingo!
George H. W. Bush is televised falling violently ill at a state dinner in Japan, vomiting into the lap of Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa and fainting.
I remember this well! Vomiting is something that young children do quite a lot, so I could kind of relate. But let’s not kid ourselves here. The reason I remember this story is because it is hilarious! The President of the world’s most powerful country does a sick on the Prime Minister of another powerful country! Bahahahahahah!
Okay, so I recall the event — but does it pass Chris Applegate’s all-important test — “being able to have some understanding of the situation”? It’s not too difficult to even have full understanding of the situation: Bush sicks up, it’s very embarassing, everybody points and laughs.
So there you have it. My earliest news memory, at the age of 5, is of George H. W. Bush vomiting. I was as keen on the most important stories back then as I am now.