That Was The Week That Was
Week Three has come to an end, but the most recurring news story of the last seven days is still the Costa Concordia disaster of last week. Thirteen people are now known to have died, 64 have been injured, and twenty are still missing. We’ve heard many interesting – and several strangely laughable – quotes from the coastguard, Gregorio De Falco, to the captain: “Vada a Bordo, Cazzo” (get back on board, for ****’s sake”); and also from the captain himself, who allegedly claims he “tripped and fell into the lifeboat“. Whatever happened, though, the investigation into the accident is only just beginning.
In other news, Dutch teenager Laura Dekker today became the youngest person to sail around the world single-handed, almost a year since she set off. However, she’s being refused the world record because both the sailing authorities and Guinness want to discourage young solo attempts. As YouTuber eKriZZLe put it: “Wow…that’s messed up. ‘We know you set a world record, but we’re not going to give it to you because you’re too young.'” Personally, I think it’s a shame that such brute determination – going against rulings of her school, and against greater odds whilst on the water – has been met with a refusal to reward remarkable success.
The shutter closed on American photographic company Kodak, as they filed for bankruptcy. They’re now in complex arrangements, reshuffling the business to try and turn around the terrible state that they’re in. In other film news, Project Pinewood has been given the red light. The £200m scheme was meant to create living, breathing film sets, where homes were hidden behind a London street market facade, or a downtown New York street.
And, of course, Elly Nowell, who wrote a letter to Magdalen College at Oxford. “Much to my surprise,” the 19-year-old would-be student explains, “it has become a bit of an internet hit, and has provoked reactions of both horror and amusement.” That it has. Its content? A parody of the rejection letters that they themselves send thousands of soon-to-be disappointed students every year. Telegraph columnist Mark Norman wrote: “Were I the admissions officer of Magdalen […] I would drive to Elly’s home in Hampshire and beg her to reconsider.” All in all, she’s a brave, clever, and witty person, to whom I wish every success for the future. I just hope she doesn’t come to regret that extremely brave decision she made.
“I have now considered your establishment as a place to read Law (Jurisprudence). I very much regret to inform you that I will be withdrawing my application. I realise you may be disappointed by this decision, but you were in competition with many fantastic universities and following your interview I am afraid you do not quite meet the standard of the universities I will be considering.”
— Extract from Elly Nowell’s ‘rejection letter’ to Magdalen College
That Was The Week That Was
Week Two of 2012, and perhaps the most reported news story is only just beginning. On Friday (13 January) night, the Costa Concordia ran aground, suffering a gash in her hull and causing the cruise ship to partially sink. It’s not yet known how many people have died or what caused such a new ship to end up at a 70° angle, but it seems the vast majority of people on board managed to get to safety. You can read the Wikipedia article I started on the disaster here.
One of the most horrific stories of the week took place in South Africa, where an elderly couple were burned to death for “being witches” in front of their seven-year-old grandson, in Jacobean-style. Closer to home, Edinburgh Zoo’s male giant panda has been taken off public display, Ernst & Young were named the top gay-friendly employer in the UK, and TV chef Antony Worrall Thompson apologised for shoplifting from a Tesco store in Henley. The theft itself inspired a wealth of online jokes, including “Why did the chicken cross the road? Because it was shoved up AWT’s top”, and “There’s no such thing as a free lunch, unless you’re using AWT’s latest cookbook”.