I don’t know if you know about this, as it’s not been very widely reported. Hardly any news station anywhere has picked up on this. A volcano has erupted. I know, it came as a shock to me too. You would have thought something like that would get some sort of coverage. Apparently though, so my sources say, this volcano has sent forth a massive column of ash which is just kind of lolling about in the sky, something like 20,000 feet above our heads and, not to put too fine a point on it, buggering everything up for everyone.
It turns out that ash is massively harmful to planes. It gets in the engines and basically buggers up intricate bits, it takes the edges off aerodynamic surfaces and can fizzle electrics to within an inch of their life so, to be safe, all air traffic across the UK and parts of Europe is grounded. This has caused massive, massive issues with people trying to go on holiday. There have been interviews with people sitting in airports being all put-out and grumpy, there have been images of disgruntled children no longer allowed to go on holiday because they can’t get anywhere. Not that they should be going anywhere anyway. It’s term time. They should be in school, learning, and then maybe they will invent something that enables planes to fly through ash.
What’s funny though is the way the news has, quite recently, realised something. When the ash cloud descended (or more correctly, ascended and then wouldn’t bugger off) last week all the attention was focused on these poor souls unable to leave the country. It’s only recently that people have gone “hang on, I used to work with someone. There definately used to be someone else in my office. I remember the went to… oh”. Yeah, it took us something like four or five days to realise that not only could people not get out of the country but there are quite a few people already out of the country who can’t get back. And, while we may think it’s all fun and nice being stuck in foreign climes for much longer than you anticipated admit it, 10 days is enough for anyone isn’t it. Give it two weeks and you can’t bloody wait to get home. All you want is some stereotypical british food that you can only get the proper version of in the UK, none of this les cadburys fingres malarky for you. You want Cadburys fingers. But right now they’re sticking two up at you and saying you can’t get in.
Obviously, in this busy election time, soundbites from the politicians are good. David Cameron said, on Thursday, that he was “deeply worried” about the ash. Leading many (well, ok, just me) to wonder if, should the Tories come to power, they’ll create a new system – a bit like the terror alerts – for troubling times. This will range from “everything’s fine”, through to “a bit annoying, you know like when there’s a fly in the room trying to get out” to “deeply worrying” to “well, that’s knackered then” and culminating in “I warned you…”. Nick Griffin on the other hand – he’s the goggly eyed BNP one, not to be confused with Nick Clegg who’s the guy who could, at this precise moment, market his shit as toothpaste and people would buy it – has worked out that this volcano malarky has, effectively, shut our borders and was last seen going out to buy a massive set of bellows and try and gain passage aboard the next ship to Iceland.
The news is, of course, gripping this as firmly as it did the “snow event” back in January. ITN news have sent a reported to look at the volcano from a helicopter. Not because it’s a magnificent natural sight (it is, no matter the chaos it’s causing, a wonderous thing to watch) but because someone, somewhere in middle Englad, won’t believe the volcano is actually a) real b) really doing what they say it’s doing or c) in Iceland until they see it on the news. They’ll also need telling that Iceland is a country and not just a chavvy freezer shop advertised by jobless Nolans and Jason Donovan.
Our local news has, this very evening, had a snippet where the weather man has been shown pictures taken by viewers and gone “yeah, that’s a cloud”, “nope, still just a cloud”, “oo, that’s a good one. It’s still a cloud” at each and every one of the pictures – no-one has captured this ash cloud on camera from the ground, therefore it doesn’t exist. You can’t see it, even if you look out of an upstairs window. It’s funny though that no-one could see swine flu either but every bugger had it, didn’t they?
The volcano is not all bad. It has produced the usual raft of jokes. My favourite being the one which asks the difference between an Icelandic volcano and Cheryl Cole. It’s produced super soar-away Sun headlines such as “Dis-ERUPT-ion”. How the Sun likes a badly written pun that doesn’t quite work – I had my money of “dis-ASH-ter” but they don’t seem to have done that. Along with the jokes we’ve seen every sort of expert trooped out on the news – aviation experts, ash experts, people who read the Daily Mail (ash can cause cancer – stay indoors!), people who once read about a volcano. I have a feeling that if Frankie Howerd were still with us he’d be on the news because he once starred in Up Pompei and we all know there was a volcano there.
The British spirit, though, is alive and well as the Royal Navy are looking into the possibility of bringing stranged people home. Just the Royal Navy mind, which is a bit rubbish. I’m sure in World War II every bloody boat that was anywhere near the coast of Britain was dispatched to bring people home, and now we get three ships? Rubbish. Let’s do this properly. Get a fleet of boats out there now – fishing boats, ferries, pleasure boats, even Christine Bleakley on her waterskies and bring our stranded countrymen home. It’s times like this that we could, as a country, pull together and do this. But we won’t. We’ll just piss and moan and whinge that we can’t go on holiday… when all the rest of them want to do is get home.
Oh, and for the record (and the punchline), the volcano is still blowing Ash.