Saturday, 25 August 2012

Going Down?

Here’s a great idea – instead of raising the Titanic, lets just build another one?
Hmm, does that make any sense to you?
Yes, Australian billionaire Clive Palmer is doing just that. A real life, full sized exact replica liner, for which he will then sell cruise tickets.
Hang on a minute.
An exact replica?
Wasn’t the design fundamentally floored?
Would you go on it? I sure as hell wouldn’t if the sky fell in.
So who are the 40,000 people queuing up for tickets then?
All I can think is that they are thrill-seekers hoping to get the full sinking experience, complete with flooded cabins, freezing waters and 3 life-boats between them. And possibly get a night with Kate Wimplet in the bargain.
A few years ago, I befriended a great man called Captain Ben Coutts who told me a story over a few drams of whisky. In that true tale, he gave me a word by word account of when the ocean liner he was travelling on got torpedoed and sunk. Believe me, it was a very moving story, not least because of the loss of over 2000 lives in the disaster.
Last week Wendy bought me a film they have made of the event, which I have just watched. Called simply THE SINKING OF THE LACONIA, it is a highly dramatised version of events, where Ben is portrayed as the gentlemen that he was. In fact it was quite weird watching someone you know played by an actor.
But somehow, with its love stories and array of personal plots, it didn’t quite seem the same sordid tale that Ben told me.
A bit like the glamour of that Titanic.
I think, if we saw real footage, which of course there is none, nobody in their right mind would want to relive that voyage.
But, sadly ours is a world of Hollywood - that and Aussie tycoons – that somehow manage to turn disasters into fairy-stories. Let’s home this one has a happy ending.

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