Friday, October 19, 2007
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.