Noris McWhirter dies.
April 20, 2004 3:59 PM   Subscribe

Norris McWhirter dies. A childhood hero, Norris co-created The Guiness Book of Records and was a knowledgable fixture on the BBC's Record Breakers for many years. "Apart from his family, his great loves were visiting the 1,049 offshore British islands and having a good game of tennis. He was energetic to the last."
posted by feelinglistless (14 comments total)
Norris was also a rabid UK monarchist and anti Euro federalist and he and his brother were active in some of the dodgy explicitly racist and Uk nationalist-aligned political groups that festered during the 1960s and 1970s in UK politics. Notably they opposed ending apartheid in Rhodesia and repatriating brown-skinned immigrants out of the UK. His brother was tragically murdered by the PIRA in 1975.
posted by meehawl at 4:40 PM on April 20, 2004

I met him once at a book signing in a suburban shopping centre, in far off Perth, Australia. Mid to late 80s.


Carry on.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:29 PM on April 20, 2004

Never knew that "Guiness Book of Records" was commisioned by Guiness Brewing Company. Figured it was someone named Guiness. Seems less for it like "Budweiser Book of Records".

1,049 offshore British islands?
posted by stbalbach at 7:50 PM on April 20, 2004

1,049 offshore British islands?

1048 if you count out Rockall, whose ownership is disputed between the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark and Iceland.

Of course, we all know Rockall is Irish, despite the current British occupation.

Actually, what Norris was up to, as is the strategy of Imperially minded UK nationalists, is to periodically visit and re-visit all of the UK's many island possessions, thus reaffirming their "inhabitability" and maintaining their usefulness as anchors of exclusive economic exploitation zones in the seas around them.

The UK is not alone in this tactic. Do you know, for example, that France still maintains colonial territories in North America? And thanks to these possessions, European Union fishing fleets were able to decimate the Canadian cod industry in the late 1980s and early 1990s?

France also maintains its grip on Martinique and Guadeloupe in the Caribbean, while Holland clings on to the Netherlands Antilles. The UK, of course, also still maintains ownership of a bunch of Caribbean islands.
posted by meehawl at 8:35 PM on April 20, 2004

Thanks for posting this, feelinglistless.

I like these little quirks of history.
>...he attached most importance to... the sovereignty of the United Kingdom.... He was also a time-keeper for his friend Sir Roger Bannister on the day he broke the first four-minute mile which occurred on 6 May 1954. The first Book of Records appeared in 1955.

So he was present at a monumental event, achieved by a fellow countryman, and then dedicated his life to recording other monumental events and championing nationalistic (and perhaps jingoistic) causes.

>that France still maintains colonial territories in North America?
I'm glad you raised the point about the fishery.
>France also maintains its grip on... Guadeloupe
There might be some symbolism with regards to the footballer Lilian Thuram, from Guadeloupe. He scored twice in the semi-final match to get France into the 1998 World Cup finals. (Apologies, French-language link.)
posted by philfromhavelock at 9:21 PM on April 20, 2004

Is NObody going to mention how wonderfully appropriate it is that feelinglistless posted this story?

Oh, I just did.
posted by yhbc at 9:31 PM on April 20, 2004

yup, the pair of them were well to the right of sensible
posted by quarsan at 9:57 PM on April 20, 2004

yhbc: (?)
posted by feelinglistless at 12:01 AM on April 21, 2004

yup, the pair of them were well to the right of sensible

..which makes them about middle-of-the-road for current American politics..

When I learned about McWhirter's politics it sort of took the shine off my memories of him on Record Breakers.
posted by salmacis at 3:43 AM on April 21, 2004

I knew nothing about his politics before this thread. But the guy could keep a mean record listing.

Which, given his political bent, makes a certain amount of sense, then. Would that all fascist-types led such productive lives.
posted by chicobangs at 10:25 AM on April 21, 2004

So the Doctor tells Roy Castle he's got 6 months to live.

To which Roy replies "I'll do it in 3!".
posted by inpHilltr8r at 2:37 PM on April 21, 2004

feelinglistless: I thought your handle was ironic in the context of this post, in the sense that someone who is "feeling list-less" would notice and point out the death of the second of the two brothers who were (maybe) the world's biggest list-makers.

That's all.
posted by yhbc at 6:23 PM on April 21, 2004

Thanks meehawl. I knew about the French holdings off Nova Scotia.. they are inhabited and I had planed to go there this summer to take a look (if they will let me on). Maybe I can get some fresh Cod there.
posted by stbalbach at 9:26 PM on April 21, 2004

yhbc: Oooooh I see.... sorry, It was early in the morning I think and I hadn't had my breakfast. Yes that IS Ironic.
posted by feelinglistless at 11:32 AM on April 22, 2004

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