On June 25 2009, while working as a paparazzo and walking through Mayfair in central London, camera hanging from my shoulder, a taxi driver pulled over and said;
“Alright mate, have you heard, Micheal Jackson’s dead, I can’t believe it.”
In the days that followed I attended a number of flashmob style celebrations of his life, in places like Trafalgar Square. The thing that struck me was that if you had talked to a cabbie about Jackson over the previous years you would likely have heard words like Freak, weirdo, wacko or even pedophile thrown around, the phrase of the moment after his death was The King of Pop.
I was thinking that when Thatcher died it would be kind of similar, oh god, how wrong could I be.
The parties now are celebrating the death of The Iron Lady, this didn’t happen even when Pol Pot died, I’m sure a great many Cambodians didn’t shed a tear but there were no street parties. She’d turn in her grave but the ladies not for turning.
I’ve heard people saying that the people celebrating her death were not old enough to feel the effects of her rule, well I was.
When Maggie Thatcher the milk snatcher came to power in 1979 I was a little nine year old in a small northern English town, my mum was a housewife and my dad worked in an oil refinery. My mum liked her at the start because she was a woman, my dad didn’t for the same reason. At the end of 1990 when she decided not to contest the leadership challenge a second time I was most of the way through my degree and well on the way to becoming a teacher. During these years there were miner’s strikes, poll tax riots and much more.
At around thirteen I joined the Labour party Young Socialists in order to get at Militant, the wing eventually expelled from the party for being too extreme, I used to walk around the little town I grew up in putting up political posters with one eye out for the law.
As a student I went through my anarchist phase, hanging out at the mutual aid center in Liverpool and going hunt sabotaging, I had a t shirt with Thatcher on the front giving the finger, with the text ” We are all Prostitutes” underneath.
I find it interesting that when an artist of any kind dies their work becomes much more popular. Maggie had no song but “Ding Dong, The Witch is Dead” rockets to the top of the charts after she dies, these charts are of course empowered by teenies who genuinely didn’t know Thatchers rule but what the hell, it is kind of amusing anyway.
Now she’s dead she won’t get a state funeral, or will she, I’m not sure what the difference is but it does seem like a state funeral to me. I believe the Thatcher estate will pay something towards it, I’m sure her son will have something left even after he got a fine all those years ago for playing a part in orchestrating a coup! I’d have got a fine for throwing chewing gum on the ground, but hey, I’m not bitter.
I am not a fan of the Lady.
I won’t be rushing to celebrate her death on the other hand either.
I do however believe that slur.tv may have to attend her funeral, it could be the most interesting event of the past few years.
Watch this space.