Who you gonna trawl… Dustbusters!

Of course, we all love chasing things. Dogs love their tails. Similarly, politicians tell theirs (while chasing credibility). Bankers chase interest, while all else lose theirs (literally and figuratively). Shed Seven chase their rainbows, but the rest of us – let’s face it – just love running around chasing ghosts.

Yep, that’s right – ghosts.

Whether it’s the phantom of a fake economy (hey – that’s topical!), the spectre of false hope (typical), or an octopus with commitment issues (tentacle), these are all insubstantial entities that essentially make up the fabric of modern times (except for the octopus – that was a pun).

Which is why we all apparently need some metaphysical action in our lives – after all, one man’s allegory is another man’s cave, right?

I distinctly recall, with a hint of shame and self-loathing, that watching Ghostbusters for the first time prompted me and a mate – it was his idea, I swear! – to strap a couple of vacuum cleaners on our backs and go about ghost-hunting (presumably to suck them into the fifth dimension or, in this case, the filth dimension).

Needless to say, we didn’t bag any ghoulies (though my mate did suck my bag of ghoulies with some crossing-the-streams contraband). And, as ghost getting-rid-of personnel, we literally sucked. Forget your Ghostbusters – we were the Dustbusters. And that was before the term was invented, so we were trailblazers in a sense (hey, vaccination was unheard of as well).

Anyway, despite the lack of spooks, hunger for the afterlife and its various echoes was as strong then as it apparently is today.

Which is the only way I can fathom this Titanic re-creation/recreation (I put these words together because, though semantically separated by a hyphen, in this case pretty much represent the same thing). I mean, am I the only one wondering what the fuck is going on with this Titanic celebration shit?

OK. Let’s think about this. They’ve decided to mark the anniversary of the sinking of a massive ship with loads of deaths and all that by selling tickets to some nostalgia seekers who want to sail the same route (presumably without the iceberg intervention and lifeboat scarcity and grisly, icy death – that’s not in the programme, apparently).

All very well and lovely, but doesn’t this strike anyone as a little bit macabre?

Alright, forget fucking Celine Dion and all that crap, and let’s focus on a bit of reality here. We’re recreating a total fucking disaster! Does the fact that it was 100 years ago and has been romanticised to death make it acceptable?

What’s next? A recreation of Lockerbie?

“Good evening. You join us here at ground zero (has that phrase been coined yet?) in ye olde Lockerbie, where we’re about to witness the restaging of one of the most spectacular exploding plane incidents ever to have exploded with devastating results. Hello little boy, what’s your name?”

“Billy.”

“And what’s your special memory of this event?”

“All my family were killed.”

“Good lad. Now, if you’ll just look to the sky I think we can see… yes! It’s the fly-by 747, virtually a perfect replica – it could almost be a coffin with wings – of the fateful bomb-laced death-trap that flew over this sleepy town all those years ago. Does that look familiar?”

“I wanna go back to the clinic.”

“Shut up, Billy, and concentrate as the jumbo pretends to crash – all to the strains of Celine Dion, of course – and the locals run about screaming in playful nostalgia.”

Yes, that’s right, even on ground zero they’re making like a black box recorder.

Meanwhile, onboard the specially commissioned “disaster” flight, guests are mingling, nibbling on nibbles, sipping champagne and reminiscing about sheer horror. When the moment of supposed impact strikes (ie. When a big bomb went off over the Lockerbie place), the guests upon this nostalgia flight will roll around on the floor, pretending they’re dead or being blown up, or plunging to the ground with their guts out, while the villagers, keyed in via satellite TV, will reciprocate with equally horrified responses and throw stuff around, as if a plane has crashed.

Obviously, in the interests of safety and death, the tribute plane will not in fact crash.

Meanwhile, the Titanic sails on (or the tribute one does) and we all continue on with our tears and our sentiments, yet, in our all-consuming despair (which has been ratified by decades of sentimentality, brought to bear with some major re-creations and soundtracks), we seem to have lost the plot of what actually happened here. Thousands of people died. I’m not going to go on about that. But can we not recreate the incident please? For fuck’s… What’s next?

“Good evening, and welcome to Twin Tower Terror! Right next to me is none other than JFK. How’s it going, el pres?”

“Head: gone.”

“Well hey, let’s see if can’t recreate that. Minus the dubious conspiracy bolstering added footage.”

There are ghosts literally everywhere. When the Titanic people hit their target (I secretly hope there is another iceberg just waiting there to upend their party with some seriously ice-cold verisimilitude), I’m expecting the ghosts won’t be that bothered, because, in fact, consciousness is relative, and my vacuum cleaner is full of dust, and I’m not even sure ghosts exist…

And, if they do, do we have to wake them up anyway?

Sinking without a trace (of subtlety)

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