THE Titanic Memorial Cruise, ferrying passengers to the very spot where the doomed ship went down in 1912, has been criticised on grounds of taste.
After all, you wouldn’t book a coach trip to the site of notable motorway pile-ups or charter a train to revisit famous rail disasters.
But, I suppose the Titanic was different - an unbelievably poignant symbol of an arrogant mankind’s helplessness in the face of nature, and a floating metaphor for a class-riven Edwardian society on the verge of extinction etc etc.
So, instead of criticising the Titanic Memorial Cruise for bad taste, perhaps it ought to be regarded as a missed opportunity. Let me explain...
Just suppose that the passengers and the crew had been hand-picked and issued with gilded invitations to take part in the voyage.
For example, Simon Cowell could have been selected as Entertainments Manager, with the promise that his stable of acts, carefully honed on the X-Factor, would be on board too and given plenty of opportunities to perform.
I would have appointed Jeremy Clarkson as the captain, telling him that it was one of the wacky races he does for “Top Gear”. He would be attempting to cross the Atlantic before Hammond and May in a two-man pedalo.
“Put your foot down, Jeremy,” we would tell him. “And if you enter an ice field, don’t worry. This ship is unsinkable”.
There would be a lengthy list of celebrity passengers – tempted by the limitless amounts of champagne, massage, Botox and paparazzi on board. We’d have the likes of Katy Price, Anne Robinson, George Galloway, Ant and Dec. There would be a lot of bankers and ex-bankers (Fred Goodwin would be guest of honour). We could tell them that an ocean voyage was a good way to offshore their bonuses, thus reducing UK tax liability.
As part of the entertainment we could have a costumed ball at which it was mandatory to wear one of those smug, annoying Guy Fawkes masks. But there could be a serious side to the voyage too. Perhaps the teaching unions could be persuaded to hold their annual conferences on board ship.
Anyway, once Titanic 2012 was full to the gunnels with the most annoying people in Britain we could tell Cap’n Clarkson to set sail.
The only questions remaining are: How can we arrange a suitable iceberg? And how many lifeboats should the ship carry? Two or three should suffice.