11 January 2008

Sir Edmund Hillary, RIP

Salutes to a great Kiwi who had, indeed, in his own words "knocked the bastard off" when reporting his ascent of Mt Everest (also called Chomolungma or Qomolangma or Sagarmatha, and no doubt a host more Nepali names).

Its English name comes from Colonel Sir George Everest and here's my chance as Club Bore in X-treme Pedantry:

Everest insisted his name was "Eve Rest" - like what Adam might have implored Eve after overdoing it on the fruit basket - and would fly into a rage whenever anyone pronounced it otherwise.

Come to think of it, I have some pals who pronounce the range "Hi-MAH-lyas" so the whole subject is fraught with pitfalls.

Trivia: in the early 1970s I joined Cassell publishers as their publicity honcho and my first task was to 'promote' an autobiography hidden at the top of the bestseller charts by a mountaineer called Dougal Haston.

Most PRs have difficulty controlling nonentity authors' pestering for more publicity; my problem was lack of an author to maintain momentum of sales.

Haston was (for the umpteenth time) trogging up Mt Eve Rest and unaware of the royalties trickling his way. Cruelly, the expedition was thwarted by a few hundred feet from a full ascent.

Once back, Dougal came round to the office to collect his 6 free author's copies and do a few interviews I'd lined up.

One uninformed twit commented on the delay in meeting the press and asked how come we'd not planned the publicity for around publication time.

With infinite patience and that almost inaudibly soft highland burr, Dougal apologised for any inconvenience and explained that he'd been slightly hampered in meeting with gentlemen of the press by a 300mph crosswind.

Bonus Offer: It *seems* that many folks believe that it was Hillary who came up with the quip about the mountain being there. It was Mallory. Get your Eve Rest "quotes" here


Richard said...

"Because it's there."

One of the great phrases of my lifetime. Before we wanted to be rock and roll stars, the red-blooded amongst us wanted to be either Sir Edmund, or Sterling Moss.

Busker said...

So many people make that mistake, me included until Chris Bonington headed me off, said he wasn't having any PR of his fermenting that schoolboy howler.

And it's the *money* that's sterling. The racer is Stirling, as is "Stirling effort, dear boy!" as Mr Wragge-Morley said to me after I'd taken 6 wickets for 17 against Haileybury.

(i think that's enough name dropping and pedantry for one weekend)

Richard said...

As the rabbi said about Torah, "It might not be true, but it's a great story, nu?"

I wondered why no one mentioned it in the obits.

I thought it was "sterling effort." Gawd, we yanks are such plooks.

Busker said...

No no - i meant that it was Mallory that said it, not Hillary. All these -llarys ...

I thought i'd make you work a bit so I added the quotes like for you to plough thru until you found the "Because it's there" quote and saw who actually delivered that great line.

Oh and, altho' I looked it up online, I appear to be WRONG about stirling being the spelling of the adjective, so it is I who am Plook of the Week.

Nuff said. I prefer to make a fool of myself here,and learn, than trot it out in some posh Corfiot salon and limp home the laughing stock.