Monday, July 21, 2003
Following on from yesterday's post (sort of), I've never been able to get my head around the iconic status accorded to John Lennon, or Diana Spencer, both before or after their premature deaths.
I was too young to get the point of the Beatles first time round, and later found much of Lennon's solo stuff safe and soul-less. Anyway, ever the rebel, I always preferred Yoko. For me, her wonderfully-titled "I Felt Like Smashing My Face in a Clear Glass Window" rates as one of the best punk songs ever, written back when the only use little John Lydon had for a safety-pin was to fasten his nappies.
As for Di, I was possibly the only person - and the only queen, apart from the one on the stamps - to be unmoved by her death. It's something which says less about her and a whole load more about me. Notwithstanding her bloody fantastic and enduring work for AIDS awareness, I found her poor-little-me public persona, and her adroit and doe-eyed manipulation of the media and her soap-show in-laws, increasingly tiresome. This is not an invention on my part: my instinctive first thought when I heard of her death was that it was just one more stage-managed publicity stunt.
I didn't line the streets for the funeral, nor join the queues to sign the book of condolences as many of my friends did, but I did wander on down, not to Kensington Palace, but to Buck House to see the flowers. And to my surprise, the people bringing their tributes along with their tears, weren't the hysterical housewives with sad gin-bottle lives, or the keening and dysfunctional Hello! readers I'd imagined, but normal people, male and female, young and old, people just like you and me.
So she obviously had something to move so many people like that. But sadly I'm a cold-hearted and cynical old Stranger, and I still don't know what it was.