Welcome to today’s installment of On This Day, your daily trawl down memory lane. Some of us will not remember a lot of what happened in years gone by. Some of us will hardly remember what happened yesterday. They have pills for that, you know. Take two and call me in the morning – if you remember.
Where shall we start? Oh yes – how about on this day in…
351 – Battle of Mursa Major: the Roman Emperor Constantius II defeats the usurper Magnentius. Didn’t Sir Ian McKellen play him in the X-Men movies?
1066 – William the Conqueror invades England: the Norman Conquest begins. Good for William; bad for Norman.
1322 – Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor defeats Frederick I of Austria in the Battle of Mühldorf. Bloody hell – those Romans keep themselves busy, what with all this usurping, bribing and what-not.
1787 – The newly completed United States Constitution is voted on by the U.S. Congress to be sent to the state legislatures for approval.
1791 – France becomes the first European country to emancipate its Jewish population.
1844 – Oscar I of Sweden-Norway is crowned king of Sweden. He stopped being a grouch.
1867 – The United States takes control of Midway Island.
1928 – The U.K. Parliament passes the Dangerous Drugs Act outlawing cannabis. Duuuuuuude!!
1961 – A military coup in Damascus effectively ends the United Arab Republic, the union between Egypt and Syria.
1971 – The Parliament of the United Kingdom passes the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 banning the medicinal use of cannabis. Duuuuuuuuude!!
1975 – The Spaghetti House siege, in which nine people are taken hostage, takes place in London. I thought they were “pasta” all that.
2008 – SpaceX launches the first ever private spacecraft, the Falcon 1 into orbit.
Happy birthday to:
Brigitte Bardot, French sex symbol of the Sixties, is 76.
Ben E. King, American r&b singer, is 72.
Helen Shapiro, English singer, is 64.
Jim Diamond, formerly with the band PHD and singer of I Should Have Known Better, is 57.
Janeane Garofalo, American actress and comedian (and a personal favourite of mine) is 46. Hey, Janeane, you and I should hook up sometime, you know. Call me…please.
Hilary Duff, American actress and singer, is 23. Too young for me, unfortunately.
On this day in 2003, the world of film lost a controversial figure in the shape of Elia Kazan. His testimony as a “friendly witness” before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1952, which cost him the respect of many liberal friends and colleagues. He was a three-time Oscar-winner.