Time to ditch 'Positively Plymouth'
PLYMOUTH has been thinking too small. This week Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner leapt from a tiny capsule 128,000 feet up, on the edge of space, and became the headline-writer's dream: The Man who Fell to Earth.
He reached 833mph in free fall, breaking the speed of sound, before safely parachuting to earth.
His feat was the culmination of a project worth (according to some estimates) well over £10million, and sponsored by Red Bull. About eight million people watched live on the internet: Baumgartner is now almost certainly more famous than Plymouth.
So here's an idea. Could council leader Tudor Evans be persuaded to clinch a humongous sponsorship deal in return for not merely parachuting, but bungee-jumping from the edge of space?
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This feat should of course be carried out above the Sound in case of a miscalculation in the length of the bungee rope.
Cllr Evans regularly makes a sonic boom in the padded confines of the council chamber, but the effect in the open air might be too much. Fortunately, his descent would be slowed by the thickening atmosphere.
Making some assumptions* (Cllr Evans is unlikely to allow me anywhere near him with a tape measure and a set of bathroom scales) I have estimated that he will be travelling at a mere 356mph as he appears out of a clear blue sky over Plymouth.
Assuming his voice can carry half a mile, we should hear his scream approximately four seconds before the Leader arrives, and a long series of rebounds means the fun will go on for some time.
THE tourism organisation Destination Plymouth is searching for a chief executive to be responsible for boosting the city's visitor economy.
I give him or her, completely free and gratis, my bungee-jumping idea to get the show on the road.
The next thing I'd like the new person to do is ditch the ridiculous "Positively Plymouth" slogan.
In 2010 "international brand consultants" Lloyd Northover were hired by the old City Development Company to dream up Plymouth's new identity. I understand they were paid a six-figure fee.
Positively Plymouth was the outcome of a three-month "creative and consultation process" and gives absolutely no hint of the city's long and proud maritime heritage.
And what a pity they didn't think to Google "Positively Plymouth" – they'd have discovered that it had been used already, by Plymouth, Wisconsin, pop: 8,500.
Btw Plymouth, Wisconsin's latest slogan is "Your Mural Destination!" … and my bill for £100,000 is in the post, don't thank me, just doing my job.
QUICK! Send for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Scientists (experimenting with rats) have discovered that an infusion of young blood rejuvenates an old brain, improving learning and memory.
If you're under 20 perhaps it would be a wise precaution to stock up on anti-Vampire measures, viz: one Crucifix, a wooden stake and hammer, and a string of garlic.
An infusion of young blood can rejuvenate anything from a company to a country, so with 16 to 24-year-olds making up almost a third of the total unemployed we're in danger of a hardening of the arteries. Some 2,460 young people claim unemployment benefit in Plymouth.
But there is a bit of comfort. One study shows that entrepreneurial activity by 20-somethings has doubled since 2010. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor found the numbers of young people in the early stages of setting up their companies has risen by 50per cent in the past year alone. They are more entrepreneurial than either their parents or their grandparents.
Every cloud has a silver lining, and perhaps this is a result of the credit crunch, which not only dried up the supply of jobs, but cut young people out of the housing (and therefore crippling mortgage) market.
Plymouth University and City College Plymouth both offer an excellent leg-up to go-getting students, and this week they were visited by a roadshow for entrepreneurs, the StartUp Britain bus. Be nice to the kids – soon you might be asking them for a job.
"…SEEKS man tall, dark, handsome, with GSOH": a good sense of humour is the most sought-after feature in a man, if you read the singles ads.
It's always said that the best way to a woman's heart is to make her laugh, but I'm not so sure. As a survivor of divorce, I think it's the other way round: if a woman fancies a man, she will laugh at even his feeblest jokes.
The first sign that your marriage is struggling is when your wife no longer finds you funny, ha ha. The second is when you put a lot of thought and money into buying her a Christmas present and she just grunts.
The media stopped laughing at the Prime Minister's jokes a long while back. Yesterday they reached stage two. You would think the news that David Cameron is considering introducing legislation to compel energy companies to offer customers the lowest tariff would be widely welcomed: not a bit of it.
* Physics teachers note: In the bungee jump I've ignored the weight (around 11 tonnes) and elasticity of the rope, and assumed Cllr Evans was wearing his normal clothes and not a bulky space suit. If your pupils can do the real maths for me, I'd be delighted to receive an email at email@example.com