Dame Ellen

Now I’m sure that a record-breaking solo non-stop round-the-world voyage is a great achievement, etc etc. But the coverage is way over the top. Correspondents here there and everywhere, constantly vomiting forth their just-inhaled sailing knowledge, blurting out fantastics and courageouses to fill the copious airtime allocated to them.

In truth, we know the routine: lead story, special programmes, honours (I’m betting she’ll be Damed), then the media circus will move on, and finally of course there’ll be an attempt to drag out some scandal in the Sunday newspapers.

Radio coverage has produced two highlights for me:

  • “The Queen and the Prime Minister have both sent their crongratulations”. My inner geek thinks that “crongratulations” is precisely the appropriate word: it has the sense of automated, scheduled, emotionless, fill-in-the-blanks, congratulation-by-rote that sums up these affairs. You are hereby authorised to use this word wherever you see fit.
  • Q: “Please could you put into context Ellen’s achievements.” A: “I didn’t hear the question”. That’s the spirit! This was asked of a Frenchman on, I guess, a dodgy link to Falmouth, so I’m sure he wasn’t being cheeky, but he was right: where was the question? The expected answer just rehashes the crongratulations. But if you actually want the context, the answer would be: She and her mates and sponsors spent a lot of money and have better technology than the others. She went round the world, but mostly just circled the Antarctic judging by the maps. She’ll probably have a book out soon. Meanwhile, more important things happened on the planet…

Oh dear, this has turned out a lot more cynical than I originally intended…

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Dame Ellen

  1. Avaragado’s crystal ball sees all, tells all

    Tick

  2. Anonymous

    Don’t knock Ellen…

    I’d like to see you try and sail solo round the world… Don’t knock Ellen, she deserves a Damehood (?) after all of that. One in the eye of the French!

    • Re: Don’t knock Ellen…

      I think it’s a great achievement, and I know I wouldn’t be able to do it (though I do think a round-the-world trip shouldn’t just be down Atlantic/orbit Antarctic/up Atlantic). But take a look at the BBC News front page at the moment:

      • Top story: Britain welcomes Dame Ellen home.
      • Secondary story: Mid-East leaders announce truce.

      The priorities are all wrong here.

      • Story priorities

        …and I’m glad to see that the Middle-East story is now the primary one.

      • Anonymous

        Re: Don’t knock Ellen…

        You can’t eactlly have a boat like that do down the Suiz or Panama canals. Down the atlantic and round Antartica is the accepted round the world route.

        I do agree with teh priorities of the news stories however, but that just our licnese fee being wasted yet again…

        • Anonymous

          Re: Don’t knock Ellen…

          Ellen coverage is not exactly a waste of “our license fee”. It’s hard to think of how you could produce cheaper television than sending a roving reporter and a camera to Falmouth.

          Anyway, TV you don’t like like is not a waste of “our license fee”, it’s just TV you don’t like. Is Emmerdale a waste of your Twix money? I would much rather the BBC produces well made programmes that don’t interest me personally than only have programmes whose sole motivation is to generate advertising revenue.

          Long live public service broadcasting and the license fee!

          • Anonymous

            Re: Don’t knock Ellen…

            Emmerdale isn’t made by the BBC so has nothing to do with the license fee. And we wern’t talking about TV, do try to keep up.

  3. Anonymous

    Doing it properly

    I just finished reading “Over the Edge of the World: Magellan’s Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe” by Laurence Bergreen.

    That has how to do this circumnavigation properly. Only 18 people and one ship of the original 250 people and 5 ships made it back. The “terrifying” was both Magellan’s party and the various natives they befriended and occassionally converted. It is a fascinating tale.

    What the expedition ultimately did was clear away cobwebs. Up until that point noone figured out you could sail West to get to the East (they all thought you would fall off the edge of the world), the maps were top secret humourous nonsense and general expectations were that the various sea monsters would get you. They also didn’t know the Pacific existed and just how big it is. The journey travelled was 15 times the distance that wuss Columbus did.

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