Diana Park

Off to the Whitworth Gallery, where they had an exhibition of works by Raqib Shaw – some bizarre statues made up of linked human figures or centaurs with the heads of wolves. Behind them, on a deafening patterned wallpaper, were three huge paintings of imaginary marble courtyards, peopled with hideous skeletal creatures. The pictures gleam like enamelled tapestries. In another room we have British landscapes by Cozens and Cozens, charming wash-and-ink pictures.

It was a warm, fairly bright day, and I had hoped to find Whitworth Park full of lazy students reclining on the grass, wearing tight shorts and Ray-Ban shades and not much else. However, there were no handsome bodies on display; so I examined the sculptures, one of which reminded me of the far-off days when I prepared the Qualcast Green paint used on lawnmower hoods.

Twenty years ago I woke one morning to discover that Britain had abruptly changed.

Journal Entry, Sun 31 Aug 97:

Yesterday went to Tyre Sales. They don’t remove wheels but managed to find a nearby garage-man to help me. Had new tyre fitted, went through to office, huge glass case full of trophies. Had a go at changing oil and sheared the edges off the bolt.

Got up this morn, put on R3. Mozart wind quintet. Announcer said ‘We have cancelled the following programme as a mark of respect –‘ (and I immediately thought that they were going to announce that HM the Queen Mother had passed away) ‘ – due to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.’
They’ve cancelled footie matches but not the rugby. Hmmm…
Apparently she was in a car smash in Paris, chased by a mob of press photographers. Get the X-Files out.

Yesterday was reading Clive James’ review of ‘The Big Time’ where he mentions Sheena Easton and then, about two mins later on R2 they played ‘For Your Eyes Only’.
[Note: during this period I had no TV set, so I didn’t see any of the news footage of weeping crowds, or the broadcast tribute to Diana by HM the Q, or the vast fields of flowers left around Buckingham Palace. I eventually found them when I went to see ‘The Queen’, Stephen Frears’ movie about how HM copes with the social upheaval triggered by Diana’s demise.



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