Throw a shoe or two at George for me please
HAVING a quirky, some may say weird, sense of humour, it may not come as a surprise to learn that the moment from 2008 that will live longest in my memory is when an Iraqi journalist tossed his shoes at George W Bush. It was so unreal yet rivetingly real
HAVING a quirky, some may say weird, sense of humour, it may not come as a surprise to learn that the moment from 2008 that will live longest in my memory is when an Iraqi journalist tossed his shoes at George W Bush.
It was so unreal yet rivetingly real at the same time.
The way the incident came to my attention was perfect for absolute impact. There was no warning, just a news clip showing George with his surprised rabbit expression facing a roomful of people and suddenly there was a man standing up and throwing something in the direction of the US president. Could it be a bomb? Were they all about to die?
No, it was just what may have been a smelly shoe winging its way towards the head of the man who is meant to be one of the best protected people in the world.
As if in slow motion, the presidential head moved away from the general space shortly to be occupied by the shoe - although I'm not convinced the two would have connected smack on.
Shock horror. Here was George - who had deliberately travelled to the country where most people hate him with a passion - coming under attack
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Everyone else was frozen to the spot, it seems. What happened to all those secret service men supposedly poised to instantly protect the man said to be the head of the free world? Were they all having coffee while the routine press conference went on?
Whatever they were doing, they did not act fast enough to stop the man stooping down to pick up his other shoe and lobbing it at the president. This one looked to be flying much more accurately towards its target but a hand extended by the man sitting next to George impeded its progress. And so, finally, people grabbed the scribe who obviously thought his shoes were mightier than the pen on that occasion. But it didn't all end there. Among those watching the news was internet entrepreneur Alex Tew, creator of the outstandingly successful Million Dollar Homepage, who instantly saw a business opportunity.
Just a day after Bush almost got whacked, Mr T launched an online game in which people could toss virtual shoes at the president.
It proved to be incredibly popular, attracting more than six million unique visitors in four days. Then it was put up for sale on eBay and sold for £5,215.
And it doesn't all end there, of course.
Perhaps George is secretly proud that, as the leader of the most capitalistic-centred country in the world, he played a part in something which now involves talks with footwear companies to allow game users to throw sponsored shoes at the president, and maybe other world leaders.
With ideas like this springing up out of virtually nothing and creating wealth, it can't be long before we are on our way out of the economic recession.
Have a good Christmas - and toss a shoe or two at George for me.