Susan Morrison: As a true Titanorak, I've got that sinking feeling
As great and glorious histories go, China is hard to beat, so why do they keep copying ours when they want visitor attractions?
The Romandisea Seven Star International Cultural Tourism Resort boasts it will be the biggest in China, complete with phony castles, fake medieval European villages and a replica RMS Titanic. Time for me to bust out the Green Pen of Complaint, although to be fair, these days it’s email. I’m not a complete Luddite.
Bit of background for you, here. I am what is known as a Titanorak. My walls are adorned with blueprints and images. My shelves groan with books, magazines and bits of newspaper articles.
A helpful pal who was into Morse code recorded the SOS messages for me. I’ve got them on my phone. I’ve got the transmission of the moment Apollo 13 blew up as well, in case you’re worried that I’m a one-disaster gal, but the RMS Titanic dominates.
I like to think it’s a hobby. Others appear to believe its an obsession. The midwives at my daughter’s birth were understandably concerned when I announced I wanted her to call her “Carpathia’” after the brave little ship that rescued the survivors. The doctors assumed I was delirious and told my husband to ignore it. He said I wasn’t, I was always like that. I didn’t get my way. I tried again with the boychild, but the husband was too quick and had the name sorted whilst I took a bit of a nap. I suspected collusion between him and the medical staff.
This year, I suggested that we break our arduous journey to our holiday destination with an overnight stay. We were, after all, travelling from Edinburgh all the way to the North Yorkshire coast, a journey of some four and bit hours, as the crow flies, if the crow is driving a Ford Fiesta. I suggested a sojourn in Alnwick, home to the White Swan Hotel, which just happens to have the interior carved walls of the Titanic’s sister ship, SS Olympic, adorning the dining room. What a co-incidence.
The Stand Comedy Club, where I work, used to warn visiting performers not to raise the Titanic backstage, especially with me. These poor lambs frequently thought it was some sort of club in-joke and would ask me why, and I would tell them in a short and pithy lecture of about three hours.
Occasionally it took bit longer if there was a particular point they had raised or they couldn’t get the door unlocked.
I can talk about the RMS Titanic for hours, and have been known to jam lifts between floors to get an audience.
As a dedicated hobbyist, I have in my time written the odd letter to gently correct any inaccuracies I may discover.
20th Century Fox probably have a file somewhere of the correspondence between us when the film Titanic came out, some of which became a tad testy. Well, I could not stand back and allow glaring errors such as having them two frolicking about on the bow.
Good heavens, you can still see the “Crew Only Beyond This Point” sign on the wreck and you weren’t even allowed bow frolicking on a CalMac ferry, never mind a 46,000 tonne ship.
Didn’t like the film anyway. Kate Winslett kept getting in the way of the funnels and they didn’t spend long enough in the engine room.
How can we keep Donald’s tiny hands occupied?
And so, as you can imagine, I am now flexing my complaining muscles to take on the whole of China.
As tourist attractions go, a replica of the worlds most famous ship sounds like a shoo-in, until you remember she got the top spot because she sank with quite a lot of people onboard. Even more bafflingly, it’s going to hit a replica iceberg and “sink”.
I assume tourists will be in some place of safety. Surely the last thing the resort management will want are entirely accurate but entirely dead customers, especially when they haven’t had a chance to exit through the gift shop.
Mind you, they might not notice my emails over Donald J Trumps tweets. That man seems like a right terror with a phone. Why someone hasn’t firmly but gently prised that his favourite toy out of his hands by now is a mystery to me.
Years ago my son had a little fake mobile phone. It was great. You could press all the buttons and everything. It was very realistic Oh, apart from the squeak it gave when squeezed. My tip to the team moving into the White House would be to get Donny-J one of those toy phones and let him play with in the background before one of his little tweets sets off a non-replica war.
You might want to disable the squeak. He probably holds things quite tightly, what with those tiny hands.