I had a working lunch on Wardour Street. It was with some residential property dot.com or other – I forget which one now. We walked back into the Estates Gazette office to find most of the team gathered around the (rarely used) TV in the corner. I made some joke to a colleague, and got snapped at. Something was clearly up. Nobody seemed very interested in telling me what, so intent were they in watching the TV.
I learnt pretty much all I was to learn that day from the internet. The already-slugginsh BBC website gave me the basics, but it was an invitation-only internet chat room that I’d been a member of for several years that told me the rest. It was through an MPEG file that someone threw up on their own server that I first saw footage of the plane hitting the tower. It was in that chat that I first encountered the name “Al Qaida”, which I had never heard before.
And the, on the TV, I watched a building I’d stood at the foot of a year before, in awe of its sure size and scale, collapse.
I don’t remember anything else about that day. But why should I? The horror of that event, the shock that shot around the world, were the beginning of three months that literally changed my life. But that day, I was just another of the billions of horrified onlookers on a day that changed the world.