Friday, October 19, 2007

Fish on Fridays


Back in the day, before Al Gore and I invented the Interwebs, before AccuWeather and Weather Underground, before SailFlow and iwindsurf, before 24-hour cable TV and The Weather Channel, back in the old country, Blighty, Albion, this sceptred isle, this seat of Mars, this other Eden, this precious stone set in the silver sea, this blessed plot...

What? Where was I? Where am I?

Oh yes. Back in the good old days, a.k.a the 70's in England, the best source of weather forecasts was BBC television. And the most memorable face of BBC Weather in those days was the man who went on to become the longest serving weather presenter on British television, Michael Fish (photo above). No -- that's not a photo of me.

Fish who is now retired will be remembered above all for two things...

1. His dress sense. He has won accolades as both the best and worst dressed man on television. You be the judge.


"They were looking for someone young, handsome and well dressed," Michael Fish recalls of his move to the BBC in 1974. While others presented the weather in staid suits the young pretender wasn't shy of suede, wide collars or plaid.

2. The botched forecast for the Great Storm of 1987.


On 15 October 1987, he said during a forecast: "Earlier on today, apparently, a woman rang the BBC and said she heard there was a hurricane on the way... well, if you're watching, don't worry, there isn't!". That evening, the worst storm
since 1703 hit South East England causing record damage and killing 19 people. Oops!

Anyway, what has all this to do with sailing? Well, as I was saying, back in the day
the best way for dinghy sailors to find the weather forecast prior to a weekend of thrashing around the nearest gravel pit was to tune in on Friday evening to our friend Michael's weather forecast on BBC TV.

And that is how that certain famous expression entered the sailing vernacular, the phrase which continues to be a regular feature of the work of sailing uber-bloggers Edward and Joe, the tag that to this day continues to be synonymous with excellence in weekend weather forecasting... Fish on Fridays.

12 comments:

EVK4 said...

Bravo! I have now retired from Fish on Fridays for two reasons: 1) Joe finally visited Fish Sticks on Friday and 2) you have produced the definitive tome on the subject.

Well done.

Tim said...

I had fish and chips today. I drove out to the beach, parked on the slip overlooking the water receeding wound down the window and ate beautiful fresh cooked fish. Loverly.

Tillerman said...

Oh no Edward!! Joe Torre retires from the Yankees and you retire from Fish Sticks in the same week? The end of an era. The end of two eras. Life will never be the same. I don't know if I will ever be happy again.

Tim, that is a touching and moving story. Thank you for having the courage to share it with us.

Stephen said...

Ah ha, this is the one I was looking for - I can't see the fish picture though, maybe I should hit the keyboard harder, it usually works when the PC starts to play up.

turinas said...

I just blew ice tea out of my nose. These are priceless. It brought back floods of memories of tea, toast, Blue Peter, the Magic Roundabout followed by The News and of course Michael Fish with the Weather. Got to love that sweater.

Tillerman said...

Was there a fish in Magic Roundabout?

turinas said...

A shaggy dog, a guy on a spring, a cow, a girl called Florence and a stoned rabbit. No fish that I recall. Now Captain Pugwash on the other hand.

Joe "I'm not responsible for global warming" Rouse said...

Kick me in the shins and call me Bob. I've created a bloody mess with this Fish stuff. It has spread across the blogosphere like a cancer with a voracious appetite for marmite. Fish and Chips on Friday, Fish Sticks on Friday and now Mr. Fish on Friday. When will this madness end?

PS Thank you for inventing the internet thinghy.

bigfoot said...

It can only get worse. Who knows where Tillerman will take this nonsense next?

JP said...

Horrid jumpers but at least they showed the isobars and fronts - nowadays they just say will it rain or be sunny.

JSW225 said...

Holy crap! Sailflow is awesome! I had no idea it was even there.

Carol Anne said...

Back in the 1960s and '70s, we had a weatherguy in New Mexico who looked a whole lot like that. His name was George Fischback.

The big difference was that George was usually right-on in his weather predictions.

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