Anorak News | The Accidental Tourist

The Accidental Tourist

by | 23rd, January 2006

‘OSAMA bin Laden got it wrong. Just when he thought the time was ripe to reappear before the West, albeit in simple audio form, a news story blasts him from the pages.

There be sharks

Better had the bearded one entered the Big Brother house, professing to do for militant Islam what George Galloway is doing for Palestine.

But Bin Laden’s moment back beneath the limelight has been brief, cut short by the arrival of a bigger news beast. Please be silent and honour the memory of Whaley, the whale who saw London and died.

Yes, Whaley. That’s what the Mirror’s finest and most creative thinkers have named the Northern Bottlenose Whale who left her normal habitat to go sightseeing up the Thames in central London.

“Why did he die?” asks the Mirror over a double-page spread headed “FAREWELL TO WHALEY”.

Not being animal experts, we can’t be sure why the animal’s heart gave up. The Mirror, however, has a go at establishing the truth. It says Whaley’s death may have something to do with the disorientating effects of a recent series of military explosions close to the Thames estuary.

It might also have something to do with Japanese, Norwegian and Icelandic whalers chasing such beasts in the name of scientific research.

It just might have had something to do with the fact that the whale was followed up the Thames by a flotilla of boats, forced to beach and lifted onto a grotty barge.

Whatever the cause, be it one of those or something else, the Mirror’s conscience has been pricked. The body might be dead, but the memory lives on. So the Mirror has adopted a whale to “keep the spirit of “doomed Thames visitor Whaley alive”.

The Mirror’s whale is a male humpback. He’s been named Big Ben for obvious reasons, although Maxwell would have been equally fitting.

And while we look forward to the day when Ben leaves his natural habitat in the North Atlantic to make a visit to the Mirror’s offices in London’s Canary Wharf – the paper says high water at London Bridge is at 06:49 – we wonder about Whaley.

Is Whaley the best we can do? The Mail thinks not. “TV events that unite a country are rare…” says the paper’s environment editor. “But Willy the whale gripped the nation.”

That’s a much more skilful piece of writing that the Mirror’s minnow of an effort. In one move, Whaley has been renamed Willy and elevated to the pontoon occupied by other mass-appeal TV leviathans, like JR’s shooting, Princess Di’s funeral and the aforesaid Galloway’s feline frotting with Rula Lenska.

Problem is that in the rush to emote, the Mail and Mirror have erred. The whale was a girl, a fact noted by the Sun which names her Wally.

Wally, eh? That’s a name that should resonate with the gentlemen of the Press…’

Posted: 23rd, January 2006 | In: Tabloids Comment | TrackBack | Permalink