July, 1981 – when Britain went a bit mad


It was a month to remember…

John McEnroe lost the plot at Wimbledon……cricket fans threw cushions at the pitch because play was stopped early….Reverend Paisley shot at in Belfast…..inner city riots in Toxteth, Moss Side and Brixton…..Home Secretary authorises use of plastic bullets against rioters…..Basement 5 split….a teenager gets in to the House of Commons with a very big knife screaming that he wants to murder Thatcher….fighting breaks out between SAS operatives and mourners at an IRA funeral…Ghost Town goes to number one in the charts…..fatal stabbing at Black Uhuru gig….South African mixed race couple ask permission to leave Britain due to ‘racial hatred’…..Sounds magazine sues NME magazine….a thousand Mods do battle with the police in the Lake District…..Lady Di has one of her first on camera tearful tantrums at a polo match….a twelve year old girl is on trial at the Old Bailey for stealing a donut…Michael Heseltine suggests a big garden festival will help Liverpool forget recent riots….builder David Young was fined £50 for shouting abuse at the king of Saudi Arabia during a state visit…..’Britain in Turmoil’ thunders the Daily Express on its front page….

Charles and Diana – fairy tale wedding or nightmare?


Charles and DianaThe marriage of Charles and Diana ended up an unhappy affair. But in 1981, the media proclaimed it as the royal fairy tale of the century. However, there were some dissenting voices.

Spare Rib, the Feminist magazine, produced lapel sized badges with “Don’t Do It!” printed on them.  They cost 30p and came in white on a lilac background. This followed on from the highly popular “Stuff the Jubilee” badges in 1977.

The ‘Not the Nine O’Clock News’ team of Rowan Atkinson, Mel Smith, Griff Rhys Jones and Pamela Stephenson (and Chris Langham, talented comedian but convicted of downloading indecent porn on the internet in 2007) produced a souvenir called…. Not The Royal Wedding.   I have a copy but for legal reasons, I’m not going to reproduce that lest the BBC knock at my door.

Their piece of humour included an appeal for a spoof charity called HAR – Help the Aged Royals.  With an image of the Queen Mother, it said:  “Lizzie is eighty one years old and a widow….Although the Social Security provide her with a home help two afternoons a week, her butlers, maids, footmen, chefs, gardners and secretariat all have to be paid out of her meagre £286,000 a year pension.”