Tuesday, 8 July 2008


I learned as we approached a pedestrian crossing - if there were any pedestrians crossing - to slap her round the back of the head.

She would bring the ancient VW to a stop only a foot or two after the stripey bits, giving the pedestrians plenty of time to leap out of the way.

In those days, we could tell an inquiring police officer, "Officer, we have had but one carafe of wine between us and she the driver has drank only a glass of it" and be waved on our way.

None of that "the Leith police dismisseth us", just knowing the word "carafe" was the shibboleth of the Sheventies.

Ah those first footloose and fancy free driving lessons on the local motorway, trying to coax a rusty Nazi sardine can up to 120 mph (here's the science: momentum + 2 btl Blue Nun + 3 btl Bull's Blood + some Nepalese resin), knowing that the non-self-sealing petrol tank (the Nazis never really got the hang of petrol tanks) was only a paper-thin sheet of oxidised iron away from and directly in front of the driver, viz myself.

Better in an emergency to steer left and try to shear off the off and passenger side, rather than risk immolation.

Officer: Are you sure you said "giraffe", Sir?

Self: Panache. Calabash. Caran d'Ache. My girlfriend who as you see is not driving has drank most of it.

Officer: Close enough, Sir, and time to be making your way home.

I last saw Cathy a quarter of a century ago, in Soho, where she was evidently making as bad a fist of prostitution as she had of primary-school teaching.


xoggoth said...

Those were the days! One could get tanked up and drive one's ancient van with no brakes and five fellow drunken students in the back around Bristol and never kill anyone because they hadn't ruined things by telling you it was dangerous. We often sprinkled asbestos on our cereal, that was perfectly safe in them days too.

Wickedred said...

You should write a movie of this. Although I'm torn as to whether it would work better as a silent picture or some drippy thing starring Ethan Hawke. I, spring chicken that I am, cannot recall the days when we could drive drunk - which is why I live a mere block from my favorite bar.

YesBut said...

Lets start a campaign.


Chertiozhnik said...

I could certainly make a tragi-comic fillum of most of my life, as could all of us, I suspect. And silent, no talking or singing for the most part.

But - bring back the Bubble car? I think the originals were made out of ex-Luftwaffe bomb trolleys (engine & chassis) with an Me109 cockpit canopy stuck on top.

That sounds cool. Bring back the bubble car. I learned not to drive in a rusty orange Beetle, and managed to avoid a prison sentence.