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22.4.13

1984 - Some Things They Said... And An Act Of God At York Minster?

Ah, 1984... Ronald Reagan won his second term in office as President of the USA; Margaret Thatcher had won her second General Election with a landslide in 1983 and in 1984 she and Arthur Scargill went to war against each other as the miners' strike bit hard; the Grand Hotel bombing nearly ended Mrs T's career. And her life; Boy George was insulted by Princess Margaret; Torvill and Dean thrilled us on the ice skating rink; the Apple Mac arrived - "Hello" - as did Trivial Pursuit; bulldog clips were the latest hair craze; break dancing was the main dance craze; Band Aid had a very worthwhile chart hit; and Prince William gained a baby brother - Henry, or Harry, as he was known.

Here's a few quotes from 1984 listed in the Sunday Express 1984 - The Pictures Of The Year magazine...

"The world is swimming in coal." - Ian MacGregor, chairman of the National Coal Board.

"I've even tried to start a rumour that I'm really not that old, that they mixed up the babies in the hospital." - President Ronald Reagan.

"I have a very high success criterion. Monetary values come into it, because I like to live well and I have to earn a lot." - Mark Thatcher accused of exploiting his mother's position.

"Most psychiatrists or analysts are a waste of time." - Boy George.

"Very few overseas visitors are quite sure where Birmingham is." - Michael Montague, chairman of the English Tourist Board.

"It seems silly that more people should see me in 'Jewel In The Crown' than in all my years in theatre." - Dame Peggy Ashcroft.

"If there are to be any explosions in our country, they should take place on the floor of the House of Commons and nowhere else." - Bernard Weatherill, Speaker of the House of Commons.

"If you put things firmly they say you are headmistressy, but they never call a man headmastery." - Margaret Thatcher.

"I know I am going to be President" - Senator Gary Hart.

"No redundancy payment in the world can match the value of a job passed on to the next generation." - Arthur Scargill.

"What is proposed is a monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend." - Prince Charles on the National Gallery extension

"When they address themselves to aesthetic judgements, people fall back on what I regard as very offensive language." - Peter Ahrends, architect of the proposed (and then cancelled) National Gallery extension.

"I won't be photographed with that over-made-up tart." - Princess Margaret on meeting Boy George.

"If men could have babies, they would only ever have one." - Diana, Princess of Wales.

"I just signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes." - President Reagan during rehearsals for a radio broadcast.

"By all means have a bath or shower as long as you don't forget the object of the exercise is to use less water." - Water Authorities Association.

"The Labour delegates drink gin and tonic. The Conservatives drink beer. Actually the National Union of Students is best for us - they drink lots of Pernod." - Blackpool hotel manager.

"If industrial workers are taking industrial action when they are not working, one wonders what they are doing when they are working" - The Duke of Edinburgh.

"I ended up like some old fag-ash Lil being carted off to the nick." - Angela Wilson, first person to be prosecuted for smoking on the tube.

"This is our last chance for change - because if this doesn't happen we are for the birds." - Bishop Desmond Tutu, winner of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize.

Some of the above statements seem sane and good, others amusing, others more than slightly bonkers. But that was the '80s!

One of the most memorable quotes listed in the magazine came from Professor David Jenkins, Bishop-elect of Durham, in May:

"I wouldn't put it past God to arrange a Virgin Birth if he wanted. But I don't think he did."

Say what?!! But surely a Bishop-elect of the Church of England must believe?!

But an event some found much odder was soon to come...

The Daily Telegraph 1984 magazine reported:

The previous week had seen the installation at York Minster of the controversial new Bishop of Durham, Professor David Jenkins, who had seemed to many to question fundamental Christian beliefs in his televised remarks about the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection.

Suddenly, out of a clear and calm Sunday sky in July, a bolt of lightning struck the 700-year-old cathedral, starting a spectacular fire that destroyed its 15th-century south transept. Was it an act of God? "I am not," said the Archbishop of Canterbury, "going to put myself in the position of stating where and when there has been divine intervention."

York Minster ablaze in 1984.

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