Once again – my diary made zero reference to any news stories of the year.
• The big one was of course the whole “Watergate” thing in the USA, where government officials were arrested for breaking in to the Democratic National Committee headquarters. The subsequent investigation of the break-in led a long and merry trail to the desk of President Richard M. Nixon who ended up resigning his post before he was impeached and/or possibly convicted of criminal charges.
If illegal Presidential activity was not a bitter enough pill for the American public to swallow, Tricky Dicky’s successor – the buffoonish Gerald Ford – was quick to give a full and unconditional pardon to Nixon, thus completely undermining American – especially Republican – politics from that day to this.
• Someone attempted to kidnap Princess Anne from her car right outside Buckingham Palace. I don’t know how much the ransom was going to be, but I am sure the British public would’ve banded together to pay it so that the perpetrator would keep her.
• The IRA threatened and exploded a number of bombs across mainland Britain – Manchester, the Houses of Parliament, London, Guilford, Woolwich & Birmingham were all hit with explosions leading to deaths and injuries
• Author Stephen King published his first ever novel, the creepy “Carrie”
• Britain held TWO General Elections. The first in February resulted in a dead heat between Labour and Conservative with Labour’s Harold Wilson somehow replacing Ted Heath as Prime Minister. Wilson’s decision to call the second election in October paid off, with Labour then gaining a majority.
• The big sports event of the year was “The Rumble in the Jungle”. Muhammad Ali, unfairly stripped of his Heavyweight title seven years earlier (a result of his refusal to induct into the US Army and fight in the Vietnam War), took on incumbent George Foreman in Zaire in a widely publicised boxing match. Here’s a fabulous little documentary about the fight. If you don’t want to know the outcome of the fight look away now… Ali won in it eight rounds.
The music industry, never one to shy away from piggy-backing on such a massive cultural event, released a song based on the fight… Johnny Wakelin’s somewhat psychedelic and hypnotic “In Zaire”
On a personal note can I just say that my wife and I visited the Muhammad Ali Center during a recent extended weekend in Louisville and I really can’t recommend it enough. I pessimistically wasn’t expecting much from it, but the sheer volume of stuff on show – covering every concievable aspect of Ali’s life & glittering career – was very impressive indeed. An attraction we thought would take us no longer than maybe half an hour to circumvent actually kept our attention for almost three hours and proved to be (a mere) $8 (each) very well spent!