Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Most watch but who remembers?

Each day my eyes observe two minutes of minor theatricals which, once over, are instantly forgotten. Given my druthers (splendid Pittsburgh idiom) I’d resume my book but my wife insists. Then she too forgets what has been disclosed. I am talking about the weather forecast which follows the late TV news.

It should interest me. It’s based on technology, measurements and science. I assume those frequently mentioned isobars are notional lines linking points of equal barometric pressure and they allow somebody, not me, to analyse what’s going on in The Great Invisible. When isobars are close together it’s going to blow. But why? And do I care?

The French TV weather forecasts are similarly choreographed but the announcers do it at 400 words a minute. With one other difference: they tell you what saint’s day it is.

Britain, whatever the moaners say, is a temperate country and as Robert Robinson of Stop the week fame said: tomorrow’s weather will be like today’s but slightly different. When I first got to the USA in early January I heard a forecast with two salient points: there’d been 103 in. of snow in Oswego, NY, and the temperature in International Falls, Minnesota, was minus 47 deg. Now that’s weather!

However there are circumstances when my meteorological atheism becomes faith-based and that’s at sea. The super-condensed information (with its evocative regions) takes on a liturgical tone with implications of life and death. For light relief I’ve been known to listen to it a second time, in French, just to hear peu perturb√© repeated over and over.

2 comments:

Sir Hugh said...

I have a more pragmatic interest in the forecast. I spend a lot of time hill walking and climbing mountains. Like you I listen to or watch the forecast, but I am similarly cynical, because I usually set off into the hills anyway. Many have been the times I was rewarded with a good day against an unfavourable forecast, and of course the converse.

I have to confess to an ulterior motive for watching my regional forecast: it is presented by a rather attractive young lady.

Plutarch said...

Now, the shipping forecast, I agreee, even though I do not go to sea, I can enjoy. To be taken on a tour of the coast of the British Isles is a treat, an adventure - the wind in your face the salt spray in your eyes, the deck tilting under your feet - and the names to roll on your tongue - Fair Isle, Cromarty, Forth, Tyne, Dogger, Fastnet, Malin, Rockall. I don't tire of hearing them repeated- and I miss Finistere though FitzRoy is not a bad subsitute.
The touble with the general weather forecast is that it is general. Who cares if there are gales in Scotland when you are going to attend a cricket match in Somerset?