I‘m not sure how I’ve managed it, but I haven’t seen any of the countless programmes about the sinking of the Titanic that have been on tv on the run-up to the centenary today.
This wasn’t a deliberate boycott on my part, although I did make a point of missing Julian Fellowes’ dramatisation after reading that it was a sort of Downton on Ice.
I did catch some of a news item about the memorial cruise that is tracing the same route as the doomed ship which struck me as tempting fate a little.
The Rev Huw Mosford, who will be leading a memorial service on board, said: ‘Although it happened 100 years ago the grief is still so very raw for so many people.’
On the clip I saw the passengers appeared to be coping with their grief quite well by buying Titanic Teddies dressed in sailor suits and other souvenirs from the ship’s gift shop.
That is not to say that I’m disinterested in the whole Titanic mythos. It was one of the pivotal incidents that made people begin to question the alleged infallibility of science and technology.
I’m particularly grateful to Roger Green for pointing me to a site that contains pretty much everything you might want to know about the Titanic.
One of the things that has always struck me is why it would have been marketed as ‘unsinkable’. This clipping from a publicity brochure is used to support this belief, even if there are enough weasel words in there to make it much less of a cast-iron guarantee.
Of course we now know that the ‘unsinkable’ claim is just one of many myths that grew up after the event, but really all you have to do is ask yourself the question: why would they do it? Were people so nervous of sinking that they needed reassurance?
I’ve tried without success to find out just how many passenger boats might have been sunk around that time to make this claim such a selling point, especially since the Titanic had other more appealing qualities, such as speed and comfort.
When you think about it, it would be like an airline today advertising a guaranteed parachute for every passenger. It wouldn’t inspire confidence.
Actually, scratch that analogy as I suppose for ‘parachutes’, you could read ‘lifeboats’ which is a whole other area of contention as far as the Titanic is concerned.
But amidst all the newspaper coverage, I was glad to see that one person at least had thought about the forgotten victim in this drama – the iceberg.
A Daily Mail reader asked whether it might still be around, perhaps lurking in some distant fjord, a shivering, guilt-ridden wreck.
You will be relieved to hear that the answer was no. It will have peacefully melted away within three weeks of its crossing of the Titanic’s path.