Time to come clean, I suppose. Some of you may have noticed the occasional reference to the RMS Titanic in these pages.
So – deep breath – my name is Susan Morrison and I am obsessed with the building and the sinking of the RMS Titanic, and I have been for decades.
My living room is nicknamed The Titanic Lounge, festooned as it is with her image, blueprints and White Star memorabilia. To be fair, I’ve got the Queens Mary and Elizabeth, too, and an antique Boy’s Own poster of an early steam-driven warship, but you can’t get away from the four golden funnels, no matter which way you turn in the house.
To my children this is just one of mummy’s strange little quirks. They can both thank their father for not having the middle name Carpathia. For those who don’t know – and why should you, you probably have more important things in your brain, such as the full team list for the 1964 Scottish Cup final or something – this gallant little Cunarder battered through the ice fields that night in response to the Titanic’s desperate final messages: “Come as quickly as possible, old man, the engine room is filling up to the boiler.”
My head is chock full of information about her, random facts that just bubble about and I babble out at strangers, family and the long-suffering staff at The Stand Comedy Club where I work. Visiting comedians are regularly warned not to raise the Titanic. They usually think the staff are joking, until about three hours after they’ve innocently said: “So, you know stuff about the Titanic, then?”
It might surprise you to know I’m not alone. There are a few of us out there. We usually communicate over the internet, like ships hailing across the icy wastes of a North Atlantic night. Sometimes we have wee get-togethers where we sit in anoraks.
Mind you, I’m quite the fashion maven, since I sport a rugby shirt with Titanic 1912 embroidered on it. Fred Macaulay once sarkily noted that other famous names have two dates – birth and death – but not Titanic. That’s him off the Christmas card list.
We Titanoraks are used to being gently mocked, happy to sit in drafty pubs nursing half pints of shandy locked in deep discussion about whether or not the steel was brittle (no, it wasn’t).
Now, suddenly, the door has been wrenched open and everyone is looking at us. Our ship is splattered all over the telly and the radio. In distress, we e-mail each other to be c
A sinking feeling about tasteless memorial cruise
MIND you, this cruise is a bit on the bonkers side. The SS Balmoral will sit over the wreck site at exactly 11.40, and stay until 2.20, when the RMS Titanic finally slid beneath the waves. Personally, I think it’s a bit on the icky side, but I suppose it’s no different to people doing tours of battlefield sites, or dropping by Ground Zero in New York, which a spectacularly tactless friend of mine described as a “must-see tourist attraction”. Well, I guess that’s a great comfort to the bereaved, then.
Mind you, given the way fate and Mother Nature brought down the mighty Titanic, I’d be a bit nervy on the Balmoral. Burns got it bang on: “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, Gang aft agley,” I’d be checking out the lifeboat situation right now.
OMG! We must drive out this grammatical god-awfulness
SADLY, I realise I’m getting old. A charming young lady with thick blonde hair covering an equally thick blonde brain, unsullied by thought or care, suddenly bounced up to me to say that she thought something I’d done was – and I quote – “Totes amazeballs”.
Now, the readers of the Evening News are of a certain intellectual heft, so I had best translate for you. Well, to be honest, I’m passing on the translation provided by the young man standing next to me. Apparently, “Totes amazeballs” is A Good Thing, and means that she is pleased. It’s the sort of thing girls called Sabrina who live in Chelsea and get driven about by daddy say. These sayings can creep over the border. Perhaps a grammatical exclusion zone would be considered by the First Minister.
Crumb-ling in the face of technology
ON the same day, another young friend tried to explain Twitter. In my life I have conquered every new techno monster that came my way from fax to Facebook, but now I stand like a battered samurai facing the firepower of modern warfare with only my trusty blade.
Well, I’m not so sure people want to know what I just had on my toast (Marmite) so I’m off, to read books printed on paper, so there.