Friday, 24 December 2010

"There's no such thing as The Fast Lane"

That's what I always tell people anyway.

If you're on a Motorway, the first lane, as frequented by lorries and Daewoo Matiz's, is the lane you are supposed to drive in. This is often erroneously referred to as "The Slow Lane".

The second lane, as frequented by women in Fiestas with "Baby on Board" stickers and lorries driving at 1mph more than those in the first lane, is the lane you are supposed to use solely for overtaking lorries and Daewoo Matiz's.

The third lane, as frequented by Audis and BMWs travelling at 99mph and pensioners travelling at 69mph ("They don't need to get past me bacause the speed limit is 70mph - ooh look at that naughty person in his flash car passing me on the inside! He won't get there any quicker you know, Mabel") This lane should be used for overtaking the women in Fiestas with "Baby on Board" stickers and lorries driving at 1mph more than those in the first lane. This is often erroneously referred to as "The Fast Lane".

This post will be a mystery to those who read my blog from the other side of the Atlantic where "undertaking" on the freeways is perfectly legal. It makes so much more sense to be allowed to pass slower vehicles on either side and I would love to see that introduced here but, alas, I think there would be carnage for as long as it took everyone to get used to the idea so it can never happen.

Now here is a "fast lane"/"slow lane" that I would like to see introduced...
I believe that this should be introduced nationally and especially in supermarkets.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

All Old Top Gear Magazine

My wife found this Top Gear mag from October 2004 yesterday. The front cover had a picture of Jeremy at the wheel of an MGSV-R flanked by a Noble M400 and a TVR 350T. Sadly only Noble survive today in the same glory as of then.

Lord knows where it has been hiding all these years but it is a good opportunity to compare it with the "All New Top Gear Magazine"...

The News was then "Metal"
Planet Top Gear was spilt into "Metal" and "Faces"
First Drives was then simply "Drives"
Gear and Gadgets was then "Top Gear"
and "Top Gear Garage" didn't exist but they did have "Top Gear 2" which had a page of news, a buyers guide for a chosen used car and a car dealer's perspective described as "The ultimate guide to this month's deals and steals"

One thing I liked about TG Mag in those days was that they would take a particular genre of car each month and do a thorough three-way test on them. This particular issue was looking at £15K Sports Cabrios with the Mini Cooper Convertible beating the Smart Roadster-Coupe into second place and the ugly-but-not-as-ugly-as-the-original Vauxhall Tiga Sport languishing in third (ie last) place.

The other big news in October 2004 was the "All-New" Ford Focus. The general concensus was that Ford had done a good job and produced an excellently handling car but hadn't been bold as they had when the original Focus appeared.

Where have I heard that before?

Oh yes - Here!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Was Chris Hughton Sleeping with Mike Ashley's Wife?

No. Mike Ashley is divorced so he doesn't have a wife. So that can't be the explanation for his sudden sacking as Newcastle United manager this week. No, the straightforward answer is that Mike Ashley must be an idiot.

If only everything in sport was nice and straightforward like that.

Take Formula 1 for instance.

For a couple of seasons now, we have two teams sponsored by Red Bull, there's Red Bull and Toro Rosso (which happens to be Italian for "Red Bull") - one uses Renault engines, one uses Ferrari engines. Renault meanwhile had their own team powered by a Renault engine - but then again, they sold their stakes in their team so the Renault team isn't really the Renault team at all, it just had their name and their engine - they also had sponsorship from Lada and a Russian driver - but then again, Renault own a bit of Lada. Meanwhile, Lotus, who are owned by Proton, also rejoined F1 in 2010 using an attractive green livery and a quite unsuccessful car.

Renault and Lotus were both successful during my favourite F1 period from the late '70s into the early '90s with lovely looking cars such as these...It was announced today, though, that Group Lotus has joined F1. Does that mean the existing Lotus team has been renamed?

Does it buggery!

Well, actually it has been renamed to Team Lotus, but that isn't to be confused with Group Lotus who will own the team but also own "Lotus Renault GP" which is what the old Renault-but-not-owned-by-Renault team will be known as..

I think.

So, we'll end up with four Loti (James Hunt invented the word "Loti" as plural of Lotus - I invented the word "Double-decker-bi" as plural of Double-Decker bus), four Red Bulls, two McLarens and two Mercedes, as opposed to two McLaren-Mercedes as we had before 2010, two Ferraris (but at least four Ferrari engines) and Lord knows what other combination of Hispanias, Williams, Saubers and the like.

I think I know which will be the best looking cars on the grid though...

Thursday, 2 December 2010

"All-New" Top Gear Magazine

My "All-new" Top Gear magazine plopped through my letterbox yesterday afternoon - whatever happened to morning mail deliveries? And why do I keep putting "All-new" in quotes like that? I can't answer the first question but as to the second, well, that is how Top Gear are describing it. A letter from editor-in-chief Charlie Turner (anyone know why the full-time editor resigned suddenly for no apparent reason this year?) came with it and there's a short bit from Saint Jeremy on page 11 extolling the bravery of the magazine team as opposed to the TV Team for changing winning formulas (winning formulae?).

Apart from a slightly smaller logo and us who get it delivered getting our own cover with SUBSCRIBERS' EDITION written on it (nice to see the correct use of the apostrophe there) they have mostly just renamed the sections inside:

Metal is now "The News"
Front End is now "Planet Top Gear"
Drives is now "First Drives"
Top gear is now "Gear and Gadgets"
and Lifers is now "Top Gear Garage"

The new car guide has been revamped a bit and now, under each manufacturer, they list "if the brand were music" so Audi is Kraftwerk, Saab is Abba and Volvo is Coldplay. I thought I'd like to come up with better ones but I don't think I actually could.

They have also resurrected the fake column with "Arnoux Clochend - the diary of a struggling genius car designer". So far - mildly amusing but not in the league of The Bugatti Veyron Diary and The Simon Moistbourne Column - come to think of it, there is an amazing resemblance between Simon and Arnoux - or maybe it's another case of an attack of the clones. He also looks quite a bit like Stephen Merchant.

So, is it a change for the worse?
Is it a change for the better?
Is it change for change's sake?
Can you spare some change?
Go away.