For the past five weeks at bedtime I have been reading aloud the 478 pages of Watership Down to my son in a patient effort to preserve the art of story-telling and pretend that Lewes is actually a First Nation encampment in pre-whitey North American.
Consequently the adventures of Bigwig, Hazel, Dandelion, Silver, Acorn, Hawkbit and the prophet Fiver were indelibly stamped on my mind during the rescue of the Chilean miners’ saga.
As subterranean homesick blues set in, I started to imagine each rescued miner as a character in the book. Mmm, that one with a beard looks like Bigwig, yes, that young one reminds me of Pipkin and of course the one who came out last is definitely the Chief Rabbit.
No surprise, then, that the media frenzy around the event bored me to bits and the only real interest in these lucky few from now will be who kills himself first/whose marriage falls apart/who emigrates to China and so on.
While my cynicism can possibly be traced back to stories I was told as a child, I NEVER liked that pompous wannabe rozzer Julian in The Famous Five, it would appear my social media colleagues couldn’t get enough of it.
According to Mashable, the event broke all records as global social media hit a two-year high at a whopping 4,052,459 page viewers per minute at around the time of the first rescue. More than 104,000 messages an hour were sent on Twitter and YouTube was bombarded with ‘Chile miners’ in its search engine.
This activity was mirrored by traditional media as ye olde television and even radio stations (where hysterical barking broadcasters tried to visualise it for us) saw a spike in viewers and listeners.
Rather like that time far ago when Nasty Nick was booted out of the first series of Big Brother and British people watched the internet live for the first time, this event was a true game-changer… even my Twitterphobe mates started to ask me how it all worked (I told them where to go/to find out for themselves).
So social media is finally going over ground and the Chilean miners’ rescue has been a kind of World Cup where the whole world finally susses out that something has been going on – about time too. No doubt the next global ‘event’ will accelerate that process.
As for me, I have 80 pages of Watership Down to go and when I finally blink into the light and celebrate its conclusion it will be a couple of pints in Lewes where I will raise a glass to those First Nation story-tellers.
Words exhausting? Who knew? But at least I’m not down a mine, or even worse, stuck in a warren with General Groundwort and the Owslafa (long story).
See you next week
Monty (aka Bigwig)