Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I Walk The Line

Long time no blog. Been busy getting my life straight. It's all about the wheels, see. A man needs the right wheels or he don't roll. Ain't that right?

Actually, until a few days ago I'd have said no. I'd have said you don't need wheels unless you need to get somewhere a bus wouldn't take you. And if you need wheels, all you need is the "A to B" variety (ie: transport pure and simple). To that end, I've spent the past three years ferrying myself across the country and back (160 miles round trip) in a 1.3 Fiat Punto which was so small I couldn't sit straight in it. Nice, eh?

But, sad though it is to admit it, the Punto suddenly got old (as they say in boxing circles), right there in the ring. I wouldn't go so far as using the term "clapped out", but I wouldn't stop far short of it either. Simply put, a new car was in order.

So I went out there and had a look around. Used car lots really do exist in their own special atmosphere. You drive into one, you enter a world of joviality and easy friendship and plastic cups of tea and shifty eye movement. It's a game of poker, and you're never going to win it because the dealer is house, and house rules say no one beats the house. The best you can hope for is something approaching a fairish deal, and you have to play it like Kasporov to get that.

But all of that is by the by, because I couldn't find a car I wanted anyway.

Oh sure, there were plenty of nice cars. Big ones, small ones, fat ones, thin ones... There were even some nice cars I could conceivably afford (using my own special definition of the word "afford"). But none of them sang out to me. Cars these days... you know what's wrong with them?

Lines.

They're all wrong, these lines. The designers think they know what they're doing, but they don't. They can't, because the idea of "lines" was ditched in the 1970s (the last great age of classic Fords) and the bloodline was severed. In the 70s we had the Capri. We had the Mk III Cortina and the "real" Granada. (Actually the Cortina was already going to shit by then - just compare this 1976 Mk III with this this 1978 Mk IV.) But some time around then, tragically, the designer of your populist automobile decided that these beautiful lines (inspired by American dream machines of the 50s) were poncy and a bit feminine, and we should go back to the good old British utilitarian shape, whilst having a look at this new bubble culture coming out of Japan. Everything turned aerodynamic and efficient, and beauty was lost.

So I stood on the forecourt, tuning out the dealer's overly familiar tones in my right ear, mourning the betrayal of automitive beauty in the other, so to speak. Then I saw this (maybe not quite so good nick as that).

OK, OK, so I bought a Ford Mondeo. But do you not see it? Do you not see the line, the fusion of style and sex and everyman practicality? It's there, I tell you! What's that? It's not there? It's just another computer-designed step into a future bereft of heart, love, and passion? Ah, fuck it - she's better than that bloody Punto. And as they say round our way: "She don't half shift."

As an elegy to the lost line, I'll leave the last word to someone more qualified than I:

I climbed into the motor and bombed across town. I loved that car. Far back as I could recall, all I'd ever really wanted were a Ford Capri. There's summat about that long bonnet and low-slung chassis that makes angels sing in your ears. When I were a youngun I used to stop at every Capri I walked past and feel it all over, drawing grim looks off passing grannies and arsey shouts from Capri owners. I couldn't help it.

So as soon as I started earning - from robbing, mostly - I started saving up. By the time I were eighteen or so I had enough to get meself one. Only problem were that the standard of Capris on the market had dropped a bit by then. And it'd been dropping ever since, same as the standard of everything else. You only gets what you're offered. And if shite is all they offers, shite is what you gets. Still, my Capri were a good un. Best one in Mangel I reckoned. And long as I could keep her going alright I were happy.

And happy I were, as I overtook a bus and stuck him two fingers in the mirror.

2 comments:

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Anonymous said...

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