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By Paul Ainsworth

IT WAS a huge maritime success, drawing admiration from across the globe and stunning those who saw it up close.

It was a landmark achievement in cutting edge design and technology, and Belfast should be proud of it links to this mammoth project.

Yes, I’m talking about Titanic, but before you put me down for tickets to the new shiny signature project building – which is set to forever blind drivers on the M3 flyover on sunny days – you need to know which Titanic I’m ranting about.

Here’s a clue: it isn’t the hideous, unwieldy hulk of metal that was built in Belfast and is now a hotel for shellfish somewhere deep in the Atlantic. That was nothing short of a disaster. No, I’m talking about the Titanic a la James Cameron, arguably the most successful movie ever made (until big Jim brought out Avatar, but your granny didn’t like that as much, did she?).

Now that was a success story worth celebrating, which, bar a few flaws (that means you Celine Dion), remains the favourite of many a movie fan the world over.

The good news for fans of floppy haired Di Caprio and near-naked Winslet, is that it’s being rereleased to mark the 100th anniversary of the world’s most notorious sinking, in Cameron-tastic three dimensions!

Oh well, at least it’ll make the Titanic overdose suffered by Belfast folk like me, already bored by a decade of centenaries (and we’re not even a year into it), slightly more bearable, as they’re bound to have the world premiere of the 3D rerelease right here in Belfast, aren’t they?

After all, as tourist chiefs never tire of telling us, Titanic was MADE IN BELFAST, by strong, salt of the earth Belfast ship workers, and after Jimmy Cricket and badly-drawn pictures of paramilitaries on walls, is Belfast’s most famous export, like, ever.

But no…oh no, no, no…for in Belfast’s biggest ever year for tourism, when we even have new Titanic crisps for sale in the shops and when the half-built Titanic Quarter will become home to a ‘Titanic Festival’ for several months, the world premiere of James Cameron’s rejigged epic will take place not in Belfast, home of the flippin’ Titanic, but in London!

Whose bright idea was this? Of all the places on the globe suitable for a premiere of Titanic, surely the Titanic Festival in the Titanic Quarter of Titanic town would have been a Titanically genius PR exercise, for both Belfast and Paramount Pictures. Imagine, a giant 3D screen right on the spot where the Big T itself was cobbled together, with some of the world’s biggest movie stars in attendance to pay tribute to the city’s maritime heritage and make 2012 truly a year to remember.

Well forget that, and now imagine walking tours around an empty docklands, dodging seagull droppings as your ‘Titanic: Made in Belfast’ souvenir hat gets blown by a rainy gust into the murky waters of Belfast Lough, sinking to the depths like its namesake -because that’s what you’re getting!



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