A Sampling of British Headlines About Snow

by Liz Colville

Britain’s SNOW CHAOS 2010™ has been going on for what feels like weeks now, although I’m sure someone in the British media could tell you exactly how many centimeters have fallen, and for how long. The dark, damp, northern European country is not used to this kind of thing in winter; London is supposed to get, at most, a powdered-sugar dusting of the stuff every year, and other parts of the country have been known to get a little more than that. But this! This is madness! I mean Chaos! The press is having a field day, and people appear to be attending the field day, because it’s not like they can do anything but go on the Internet and watch TV.

The country is very into puns — they’re everywhere, not just in the Economist, though they are everywhere in the Economist. Puns, strangely, seem to be largely absent from Snow Chaos 2010; their replacement is the ever-convincing hyperbole, and another great comfort to British journalists, the alliteration. The latest news is that the head of BAA, which runs the airports, has chosen to give up his bonus because it snowed, so there are lots of headlines about that, and how horrible this guy is, because “he” made it snow so hard. Obviously, it is very depressing not to be able to be with people during the holidays, when it is probably your only vacation in the next six months. But do you even like those people? Maybe you’ll find a new family lying on the floor of Heathrow Airport.

Anyway, here are some real headlines taken from around the Web, with punctuation and everything else preserved:

Winter blast brings Britain to a standstill
Heathrow’s chaos
Tie BAA Boss to Snow Plough?
Your video: travel chaos
Xmas on ice
Passengers should be treated decently, even when it snows
Big freeze: travel plans of a million people in chaos
Snow and Ice Causing Chaos Across the United Kingdom
Travel: the nightmare before Christmas
Heathrow chaos continues
UK SNOW CHAOS: Country counts economic cost at £1.5bn
Travel misery as cold weather continues
Dean Smith threw snowball at policewoman
UK snow disruption — live updates
UK snow chaos teaches stranded Eurostar passengers an English lesson
Worried about the snow?
Q&A: Snow chaos in the UK
Chilly outlook?
Q&A: Why is it so cold this winter?
UK snow chaos: Why you are to blame

‘Chaos’ is a beautiful word, though I really think it should be pronounced CHA-OHHHS. Like “ciao”s. I couldn’t imagine describing the situation any other way, and apparently I’m not alone. But if I were to entertain the idea, here are some thesaurus selections:


Entropy! Just an idea.

Photo: Oh my god, just look at it, via The Golden Spiral