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Anniversary Fatigue


By Phil Thornton


There�s only one anniversary you need to know about in life; your wedding anniversary (if you�re married that is and if you�re divorced it�s better to forget about that one). Yet a symptom of our post-everything, nostalgia driven culture ensures that barely a week goes by without the media attempting to convince us to celebrate or  commemorate some pointless anniversary or other.


Ten years ago a middle aged, divorced mother of two died in a car crash. It happens every day, every week, every month and it never makes the news. But this death was different. When Diana Spencer died in a Paris underpass ten years ago, it DID make the news. This death was different from all the other car accident deaths. It brought the entire country to a standstill. I can still recall the sense of outrage I felt that the entire media spectrum from TV and radio to papers and magazines had been hijacked by this solitary death. The radio played mournful music, the TV schedule was jettisoned and, most outrageous of all, the fucking football was cancelled!


This death was obviously so tragic, so important, so �meaningful� that an entire population was forced into obeying a self-imposed media period of mourning for someone none of us knew and some of us cared nothing about. The future had been cancelled because some self-obsessed aristocrat had died in a car crash.


What happened next ofcourse came to define the politically directionless, emotionally confused, morally decadent spirit of the age. Britain went mad. Britain lost it. Not all of us ofcourse but a large proportion of the population wailed and wept, as if all those centuries of supposed emotional constipation had suddenly erupted in a tidal wave of insincere, ghoulish cry-baby diarrhoea.


Some argued that this was a good thing, that finally this non-existent mythical British stiff upper lip (my upper lip�s never been stiff thank you) had been vanquished and we were allowed to publicly express our �feelings� maaaan. Others argued that when it was Liverpudlians who displayed such emotions in the wake of Hillsborough that they had been accused of �self-pity� and �wallowing in misery.�  Hey y�know it�s called class prejudice suckers!  


My outrage was only compounded when the football fixtures were disrupted for not only that day (while we allowed to compose ourselves) but for weeks after the event. In between her death and the funeral another cynically manipulative posh kid muscled onto the scene. Newly elected prime minister Tony Blair played his ace; the cheerleader of the mourners. Boo-hoo Blair spoke for the nation with his eulogy. Well he didn�t speak for me mate. For a brief moment criticism of the stoic, cold ambassadors for British Teutonic Aloofness, the Windsor Family was in vogue. But, as Helen Mirren pointed out in pro-royalist fantasy, The Queen, it wasn�t that she wasn�t moved by the death of her grandchildren�s mother, it was simply that she had to summon her reserve for the benefit of the nation. She alone took upon our collective burden, like Jesus, she suffered on our behalf.  


The media relented and fell right behind their monarch and saviour to celebrate her golden jubilee, infact they not only acted as propagandists but manipulated and lied to the world about the nation�s shared joy at this magnificent �achievement� by doctoring footage of a nation at play; a party that united all creeds and colours and classes. �Sir� Paul McCartney played his usual suckholing, sycophantic part. (Sgt Peppers; it was 40 years today??yet another pointless anniversary to add to the list).


Ten years later and the mythology and the manipulation endures. This time those Iraq dodging squaddies aka �Those Brave Boys�  have thunk up some ridiculous Concert For Diana. After the hopeless Diana water feature and all the Diana & Me books, after the hagiographies and the horror stories have been written, the Diana Cult continues. At her funeral people paid their respects to their heroine by running alongside the hearse holding up their cameras to catch a glimpse of Dead Girl. How dignified. At work some women booked on a coach that took them to her burial site. They loved her so much you see. Death tourism for a neglectful mother and self-pitying Sloane organised by her grasping, deceitful and debauched brother and frowned upon by her grasping, deceitful and debauched ex-husband.


Ten years is a long time in life and in politics. There�s been a lot of water under the bridge since then. So let�s celebrate Diana, her life meant so much to us. It�s gone so fast. I hardly noticed you were gone. And while we�re at it, let�s also commemorate 25 years since the end of the Falklands War, 10 years of New Labour and Tony Blair, 20 years since acid house, 30 years since punk, 40 years since Sgt Peppers, 50 years of the Two Ronnies and 89 years since the end of world war one. We Shall Never Forget! Fat fucking chance of that.


Please skip to Swine�s �do you remember the good old days� articles and please write to Hypocrisy Section, Swine Magazine.




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