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In which we commemorate things

While we’re on the subject of anniversaries:

Ten years ago, I remember waking up, in my little student flat by the university, the one with the tiny bedroom and the low, sloping ceiling that I never learned to stop banging my head on. I popped to the kitchen to get a drink; Flatmate Alan heard, and came out in his green paisley dressing gown.*

“Princess Diana’s died,” he said.


“Yes. They said so on the radio.”



I put the radio on, to protests, on to the local commercial pop station – and they were playing a funereal dirge. Odd. So then, we put the TV on, and found four channels of continous news.

Five years ago today, I woke up in a hotel in Paris,** recovering from Catherine and Arnaud’s wedding. I know which day I’d rather commemorate.

* Was it really green paisley? I definitely recall something dark green and patterned.

** Well, just outside Paris, in Poissy.

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In which we don’t believe everything we’re told

Or, Pointless Exercises.

Conspiracy theorists are wonderful people. They both entertain and infuriate me at the same time. Entertain, because their ideas tend to be so off-the-wall. Infuriate, because they never seem to realise how wrong they are, or where their logical flaws are. There are so many to choose from, and they will never go away.

Which is why the Stevens report is, as Mohamed al Fayed said, a waste of money. Not because it goes against Mr Al Fayed’s well-known opinion that his son was murdered by secret agents, but because there was never any chance that any of the conspiracy supporters would accept the report to be accurate. “Lord Stevens didn’t hear from key witnesses,” apparently. There will always, according to the theorists, be more witnesses, unconsidered evidence, more secrets to come out, something which will vindicate them. The evidence which supports the sensible answer is always going to be wrong; witnesses the theorists disagree with are always going to be part of the conspiracy themselves.

The whole Diana thing still isn’t over; there are more inquests to come in a few months. It will find, you can be sure, that the deaths were accidental, caused by bad driving. And the conspiracy theorists still won’t believe it.

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