Random Play by Graham Reid

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Random Play: Diana of Wails: The Princess and Me

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  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    I started craking jokes in the office with the rest of the boys and we were stopped by a wall of tears from women I really thought more of than that. I'm still puched in the arm when I make "He's his fathers son" jokes about Harry.
    A lot of missplaced emotion tied up in Di.
    It blew us away & a little irksome that Mother Teresa died around the same time (bollocks to Pen & Tellar). We respected for Morger Teresa.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    Hail Mary full of grace ...
    ...forgive me my spelling

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Evan Yates,

    My girlfriend (now wife) and I were being escorted by a real estate agent around prospective houses for sale. We pulled up to a rundown farmhouse and the agent knocked on the door. The old farmer in his swannie and socks opened up and greeted the agent with "Have you heard? The Princess of Wales has been killed in a car crash". The agent replied "Oh, is that right... Now I've got some people to show through the house."

    Talk about focused on the sale.

    P.S. We didn't buy that one (but not because of Diana's death. The house smelled like he kept his farm animals in there)

    Hamiltron, Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Nov 2006 • 197 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    I think I've heard this one before.
    ;)

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I think I've heard this one before.
    ;)

    Should we vote on which version of the yarn we like better?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Graham Reid,

    oh shit
    that was so long ago i had forgotten . . .
    mea culpa
    i guess it proves the only time i ever think of this woman in when these damn anniversaries roll around
    i shall get out of here now

    auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I've long thought that you could divide humanity as to who bought into Diana and who didn't. Christine Rankin, I am sure, wept buckets over Lady Di.

    I can see how Tony Blair so ably captured the hour after her death though. Watching old clips of Blair speaking in Andrew Rawnley's documentary, there was the same feel of seeing an accomplished, manipulative actor.

    Of course, I don't envy her in being lumped with a bastard of a father in law and a husband who didn't really love her (although, according to a friend of mine in Britain who knew about these things, she'd been declaring her ambition to marry Charles since she was a schoolgirl), but it's a bit mystifying that she establlished the woman-wronged idea when she'd been screwing a lot of other women's husbands herself.

    If only Charles had just been allowed to marry Camilla in the first place. The kids wouldn't have been pretty, but life would have been quieter for everyone.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    I was subbing on a provincial daily here in NZ when i heard about. It was at about 3pm on Sunday and I remember thinking "All hell's going to break loose at work tomorrow".
    Anyway, I rolled into work at 7am on Monday, turned on my computer, flicked to the "Royal" category of the NZPA wire service...where there were over 120 stories about the death.
    Later that day NZPA set up a special Diana category to handle the deluge of stories.

    I was subbing the "World" page(s) of the paper, so apart from doing them, guess who the poor sod was that had to slap together an instant tribute supplement?? That's right, Muggins here.
    For the next week to 10 days I had to do the regular world news pages and a "Diana" page.

    The rest of the week there was at least 100 stories coming through per day, between 80 and 100 for the next month and three months later at least 50. Boy, was I getting sick of her.
    There were inane, soppy features / interviews with all manner of people that once had some connection with her: mothers of kids that she'd taught at kindergarten, etc.

    I wouldn't wish anyone to die in a car-crash, but the level of overly-sentimental crap written was just ludicrous.
    Fact: there has already been more written about Diana than about World War II - a sad indictnment on our priorities, if ever there was.

    I also remember having an argument with my flatmates. One blamed the media / paparazzi, oblivious to the irony that she always bought loads of womens' mags with her on the cover.
    The other was an American, who, like most Americans, thought Diana was a saint and had no idea of the more negative class and political arguments against royalty.

    Yes, it's sad that someone died in a car-crash; but she was no saint, merely a high-born socialite that got lucky marrying into royalty, who developed into a calculating, manipulative individual.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 759 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    Diana's death: I was at a flower show near Western Springs with my sister, and the news was suddenly announced over the PA just after the presentation of prizes. A lot of very shocked, tearful old folk that day.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Good column by Charles Moore in the Telegraph.

    He notes something that appalled me at the time: the way people, with the encouragement of the news media, felt entitled to pass judgement on the Windsors for, er, not mourning in the prescribed fashion.

    Nice comment on Blair too:

    One day, when all the papers are available, someone will write a precise, hour-by-hour history of the week. I suspect it will prove that Tony Blair did the monarchy a good turn. He will be shown, as so often, to be guilty of trying to upstage others - pushing himself forward to read the lesson at the funeral and delivering the words of St Paul as if he had just brilliantly ad-libbed them. But what he advised was essentially correct.

    And the moment where they realise in the newsroom that yer actual Mother Theresa's died and they don't have any room left in the paper sounds priceless.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Diana, aged 11, with possibly the best friend she ever had:
    http://www.oginet.com/Cavies/abcdd.jpg

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Kim Griggs,

    I'd been in my study all afernoon trying to think of something decent to tackle for a looming media studies essay on global media events. My mother rang and told me the news. I still feel a bit guilty at how relieved I was at finally having such a great topic. The essay went on to be my only ever academic publication. And to compensate for my callousness, I framed an lovely invite I had kept from a media reception years earlier with C and D.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Much ado about nothing.

    Who cares about the machinations of the ludicrous remnant of the age of kings and its bizarre codes of behaviour? At least Paris has a higher hemline, and I guess Lindsay would be more fun at a party.

    Bring on a Republic!

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2212 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    I was about to go for a run - this was in the days when I did things like that - and there was a news flash that she'd been in a car accident.

    My black-hearted cynical journalist's response was 'Brilliant PR move - wonder who thought of it?' and went for my run.

    Came back and flicked on the teev to find she'd karked it. I did feel a bit guilty about my earlier thoughts, only not all that much.

    I'd never really got what all the fuss was about anyway. Then when I saw the infamous TV interview (or the bits that made it to the news) I thought "you manipulative little trollop". Can't say I was that keen on Charles - "whining drip" was my response to his interview. Someone once put it very aptly that the two had each hired a gutter on either side of Fleet St and had leaked strategically into it for years.

    Went into the Gallery on the Monday and the place was dead. Caught one person from the TVNZ office heading off for a long lunch: "there's only going to be one item on the TV news tonight, and it won't be coming from this" he said.

    There was a dark suspicion amongst a number of us that Bolger or one of his ministers would try to bury some bad news that week: funnily enough, they didn't.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Oh Diana, queen of hearts. Lot of old bollocks, isn't it? I reiterate my comrade Tom's sentiments.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    I found out about the death of Diana on the internet!

    It was a lazy Sunday afternoon, and I was hanging out in the #nz IRC channel, when someone announced that Diana had been in a car crash. I went to CNN.com to check that this was true, and they were reporting that she had a broken leg.

    Back in the channel we discussed it for a bit, then someone said something that made me reload CNN.com, and it was true - she had died.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Bol,

    I'm not quite sure how I found out about Di's untimely demise. I seem to recall an interruption to Sunday afternoon programming, followed by confirmation in the 6pm news that she was dead. If it meant anything to me I would have a better recollection.

    Although, I remember seeing the TV coverage of the huge pile of flowers deposited outside Buckingham Palace, and wondering why.

    Would be interesting to here from any PAers in London at the time, and from some of Di's many fans.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 32 posts Report Reply

  • Quardle Oodle,

    My sister who has lived in London for many moons used to call her a naughty word that I won't write here, but suffice to say many London folk seemed to be of the opinion that there wasn't ever much virginal abour Lady Di. Anyone recall the story of Gary Lineker supposedly warning Will Carling that "that woman is trouble." (And didn't she have appalling taste in men?)

    I was 14 when Lady Di came on the scene. I was secretly taken by the fairy tale of it all, and I liked her for the same reason that most people did:

    She was pretty. She wore pretty dresses. She was nice to the punters.

    Even for someone like myself who followed Di over the years, the mythologising of Di that took place after her death was stunning; this is the woman who denied publicly for years that she had an eating disorder and only got help when her friend threatened to tell the media. I smacked the TC the night she gave girl-power a swift kick in the wossnames by declaring on international television that her husband was an arsehole and not fit to be king, but she didn't want to divorce him. Hats off to her for the good works she did, and the vicarious enjoyment we had through her, but she was just human, right?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    . . . the vicarious enjoyment we had through her, but she was just human, right?

    I remember a very pregnant Jane Turner on Fast Forward playing a bikini-clad Diana besieged by paparazzi. When asked when the baby was due she denied being pregnant and insisted that she just had a 'gas problem'.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    Anyway I went back to my hotel afterwards, wrote the feature up and faxed it back to the Herald

    heh heh ... faxing? In my mind I'm sure I was using email in the 90's. But I'm really not so sure. Funny to think something we don't even think about anymore hasn't actually been around that long (in general use).

    As for Dianna ... I woke up late on Sunday morning, heard she'd been in a car accident, and straight away said to my flatmate: "She's dead, they're just giving the public time to get prepared for the announcement". I'm weird like that.

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Wain,

    Russell, the kids aren't pretty anyway...

    Since Nov 2006 • 155 posts Report Reply

  • GemmaG,

    I heard via a cellphone message from Jaquie Brown, as a car full of pals sped back to the city from a day out of range at Wenderholm, in Oly Driver's beautiful old set o'wheels.

    Jaquie's message was both hilarious and horrified (she is English after all). I can still hear her voice in my head today ("Gemma! Princess Diana is DEAD!!"). Nobody believed me, so the phone got passed around all 6 people in the car in order for each of them to hear Jaquie's message. Oliver - actor-journo that he is - still refused to accept the news so he phoned the TV3 newsroom, had a short conversation, and confirmed to us that yes, "Diana and her mother Dodi have died". Jodie called the TVNZ newsroom to tidy up the facts.

    A few minutes later, we drove past a side-of-the-road vegetable shop. It's chalk sandwich-board read "RIP Diana". So, it was true.

    I was eight years old when Diana married Charles in 1981. My sister Jolisa and I kept a scrapbook of the entire event. Later that year, our family and the larger Irish family up the road won a special prize in the Holy Cross Parish Fancy Dress Parade as "The Royal Wedding". I was Diana (I was blonde then), and my best friend to this very day was Lady Sarah Armstrong Jones.

    So I took the news of the Princess of Wales' untimely death with that 8 year old's bright-eyed view of royalty, coupled with a healthy dose of cynicism. I was devastated, but I was also relishing the juicy details and the nutty media coverage. I was producing 95bFM Breakfast, and my favourite moment of the whole week was Russell Brown, in his Hard News, holding forth about this being the result of nothing more than a very drunk driver behind the wheel. Hear hear.

    That night, on the eve of the funeral, the same group of people from the Wenderholm trip held a commemorative "Princesses and Playboys" party. In a gorgeously-appointed Mt Eden lounge, Jaquie read a haikuesque poem she'd written for Diana (which finished something like this:
    Diana
    Die
    Di),
    Colin waxed lyrical about how she was the woman all pre-teen lads modelled their future wives upon, Oliver and Brett performed an interpretive contemporary dance to Dodi, and I wore my tiara with my tongue in my cheek.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Scoones,

    I was working the Sunday shift on the customer orders counter at Whitcoulls's Queen St store. Sundays were good for catching up on paperwork and shelf tidying as there were few customers and phone calls to deal with, but on this one particular day I started getting a large number of phone calls around midday, all asking for whatever books we could get about Princess Diana. We didn't actually have any in stock and most were out of print. The notorious Andrew Morton biography was the most requested and we'd had trouble shifting that book when marked down on the bargains table a few months earlier. It wasn't until later in the day that I learned why there was this sudden flurry of interest in Diana. By the time we did manage to get some Diana books into stock though, the interest had diminished, and they gathered dust on the shelves.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Ray Gilbert,

    I was in Leicester at the time ,and due to it being away from London we often got the early morning editions of the papers rather than the latest ones. I went to the shops on the Sunday morning after the news broke and sitting in the newstand was the Daily Express complete with front page story about DI and Dodi cavorting in a luxury yacht. This edition had obviously been printed before the news (accompanied by outpourings of sycophantic grief). The whole tone of it was pretty much scathing of them both. I wish I'd been awake enough to buy it.

    The whole experience of the following weeks just seemed weird to me with flowers appearing in random places even in an industrial Midlands city 100 miles distant from London

    Since Nov 2006 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • Alan Perrott,

    heh, that was a funny time to be journalising - I was on the mighty east & bays courier then and was sent out to do a tedious vox pop in Remuera. After a few odd looks from people this little ol' lady zimmered up and gave me whack with her brolly: ''Bloody paparazzi. You killed Diana.'' Damn photog didn't get the pic, he was too busy laughing.

    I was channel surfing when I heard she'd died, so stuck on ZB to hear the outpourings. The first caller set on nice tone with her ''who cares, they're all Germans anyway..''

    For the funeral we swapped between the weeping and wrestlemania. Very apropo when the Undertaker came on. Well, we'd had a few...

    Oh, good times.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 438 posts Report Reply

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