Monday, 30 November 2015

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That sinking feeling

Am I the only person to have drowned in a sea of dross of Titanic proportions.

Haven’t we all gone overboard over the centenary of the liner sinking? Of course it was a terrible tragedy and it should, of course, be remembered and commemorated with due respect and sympathy. But it has not been treated to any of this.

Instead, it has been a massive marketing exercise for people to publish new books, relaunch a movie with gratuitous 3D effects, stage strange stunts and fill endless hours of TV and radio programming and acres of news and magazine pages.

In Colne, Lancashire, they have celebrated or commemorated the loss of local lad and heroic Titanic band leader Wallace Hartley by staging a cruise and a meal based on a Titanic menu on.... a barge on the canal!

No doubt re-enacting that fateful night in April 1912 by someone shouting: “Abandoned shopping trolley, dead ahead!”

In Northern Ireland they have opened a £77million tourist centre catchily titled: Titanic Belfast. I know the ship was built there, but is it appropriate to turn a tragedy that cost 1,500 lives into a tourist attraction?

I can’t understand why so many people feel the need to share their grief so publicly for great aunts, uncles and cousins twice removed who they never met and have no connection with, other than an old photocopied picture. Surely it isn’t that chance to grab 15 seconds of fame by appearing on a TV documentary or appear on a news bulletin?

Yes, it was a terrible tragedy, but we’ve managed to turn the tragedy into a farce. As for the ghouls who paid a fortune to board the Balmoral cruise ship and sail out to the point where the Titanic sank...

Getting dressed up in period costume, eating dishes based on the menus served on board a century ago and tossing wreaths into the sea does not pay respect to those that perished so awfully. And dancing to the music of that time is more Strictly Come Ghoulish than a mark of respect. It is mawkish and self-indulgent. It is time we all allowed the victims of that terrible event to rest in peace.


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