7 Reasons The British Obsession With Weather Is A Myth
This evening sees a new programme come to BBC One. It’s called The Great British Weather and features Alexander Henry Fenwick Armstrong, Chris Hollins and Carol Kirkwood telling us why we are obsessed with weather. Well, let us tell you something right now. We aren’t. And that’s ‘we’ in royal sense too. We really aren’t. It’s a complete myth. Here’s why:
1. Greeting. It is often commented upon that talk of the weather is the first topic of conversation one enters when meeting someone else. That is certainly true here at 7 Reasons sofaquarters. When Marc and I park our posteriors on the cushions of destiny our first acknowledgement is that we arrived rather wet. Or, if it’s not Summer, rather dry. This is not because we particularly care about the weather, it’s because this is how the British greet each other. The Americans comment on how many pancakes they had that morning, the Japanese comment on how tall they are feeling and the French snog each other. It’s an ice-breaker.
2. Meaning. The word ‘obsession’ means, according to my sources, the domination of one’s thoughts. To dominate your thoughts I reckon the subject must be thought about at least 50% of the time. And if that failed to make sense, read the next sentence – it’s much clearer. For someone to be obsessed with the weather they need to be thinking of the weather more than twelve hours a day. And not even South East Today’s weather girl, Kaddy-Lee Preston, does that. I know this because she likes break dancing, techno music and goats. And as I am sure you’ll know, when you’ve got goats on the brain there is simply not enough time to get obsessed with weather.
3. Stats. In a Daily Telegraph article last October, Murray Wardrop (apparently the unthinking man’s Murray Walker) said this, ‘Our obsession with the weather runs so deep that almost 70% of British people check the weather forecast at least once a day’. No Murray dear, this is not because we are obsessed, it is because we don’t want to wear our Bermuda shorts if it’s going to be a monsoon out there. I go to the fridge at least five times a day. Does this make me obsessed with the little light that goes on and off as I open and close the door? I think not.
4. Observation. “Good gracious,” I exclaimed, “she’s a big girl!” Those are the very words I used the other day when watching a TV programme. I can’t remember what it was, but I remember the big girl. Now, I didn’t say these words because I am obsessed with big girls. I’m not. Nor am I obsessed with small girls if that’s what you are wondering. In fact I never have been. Except when I was small myself. It seemed acceptable then. Anyway, I seem to be veering from the point. The reason I exclaimed that there was a big girl on the TV is because I was surprised. I genuinely wasn’t expecting someone quite so vuluptuous to appear right there, right then. Which is why I felt the need to announce my observation to anyone who would listen. It is exactly the same situation as if I had looked to my left and noticed whites flakes. “Good gracious,” I would have exclaimed, “it’s snowing in July!”. The line between observation and obsession is so vast I am astounded people can blur it so readily.
5. Media. Remember the Big Freeze last year that killed 60,000 people? No, neither do I. Though that is what the Sunday Express sensationally suggested.
It’s the British tabloid press that are obsessed with the weather and sadly we, the public, are tarred with the same brush. I suppose we should be thankful that the revelations of the last few weeks mean The Sunday Express are very unlikely to continue hacking Michael Fish’s phone.
6. Popular Culture. The film The Day After Tomorrow – which was pretty much an entire celebration of extreme weather – brought in just over £25 Million at the UK box office. In the same year Spider-Man 2 brought in nearly £1.5 Million more. Admitedly the film did feature Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, but if you are suggesting we went to watch it just because of that I won’t believe you. Just to be on the safe side though, Shrek 2 brought is nearly £48 Million in the UK alone. And at no point is the weather mentioned. So I think that proves, in 2004 at least, Brits were more obsessed by Cameron Diaz looking like a green ugly thing than the weather.
7. Me. If the British obsession with the weather wasn’t a myth; if it were as true as you and I existing on this very day; if we all loved rain and shine and celebrated each as we celebrate our birthday.
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, and – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son! Then I wouldn’t be wasting my morning writing about the blasted thing would I?
*The Great British Weather starts on BBC One tonight at 7.30pm. Yay!