Archive for top gear

Top Gear: shifting down

Posted in General opinions with tags , , , , on 15/02/2012 by Alexander

I’m a Top Gear fan. Sometimes I hate it, namely when the presenters have views that differ from my own. Other times, I’ll quote one of them to prove a point, e.g., “Clarkson said the riding Citroen C6 over potholes is like driving over silk, so that makes it the most comfortable car in the world,” as if they’re the ultimate authority in all things car-related.

Sadly, their tenure as a solid, entertaining car show is definitely coming to an end. The last episode was so awful I only finished watching it today (albeit, the news bit was excellent this week, I laughed my arse off). They actually thought someone in the world would be convinced that they were asked to direct a chase scene from the upcoming Sweeney film, and the proceeded to portray Hammond and Clarkson carrying out the most retarded gimmicks screened since the show began airing.

Yes, there’s a lot of faking in this show. The caravan fire in Episode 6 of Series 8 was obviously staged. Hammond suddenly running up to Clarkson to “say something” in the South American Special was scripted so Hammond’s jeep would roll down a sandy hill without him in it. But the fake stuff in this episode is just too pathetic. Hammond isn’t as mentally challenged as to concoct the stuff with the car jump and the actors and the caravan explosion. Clarkson isn’t such a moron as to suppose talking about traction control has a place in a car chase. A director isn’t going to take half the s**t this one took, etc… I shouldn’t need to spell it out if you’ve watched the episode. But this way, The Sweeney got some free publicity, Clarkson & Co. circumvented the BBC’s “no plug-in” policy, and the show got an extra 20 or so minutes of footage without having to use much brain-power. Everyone comes away happy… except for the viewers.

In a nutshell, this was embarrassing to watch. Guys, stick to cheap car challenges and bickering with each other. That’s entertaining, as opposed as you lot trying to act. Ah well, it’s not like I’ll stop watching Top Gear, though I suspect other people might, especially if you keep up this “stage & fake” formula.

The Interceptors

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 26/07/2011 by Alexander

Greatest idea for a series since the 70’s: The Interceptors. Go check it out quick before the BBC has it pulled

A sports car

Posted in Desirable machines, Driving theory with tags , , , on 31/12/2009 by Alexander

When I’m sometimes watching Top Gear, and seeing those three lark about in insanely expensive two-seaters, I inevitably find myself whimsically thinking that an overpowered sports car, or super car or whatever, would be a lovely thing to have and frolic around in. And just the other day (or night as it were), I dreamt I was driving a flappy-paddle Aston Martin. It was a lovely dream, though most of what I remember was looking at the gear-paddles as I shifted up or down, and not so much the sensation of speed or doing a corner at 200mph.

And so one easily finds oneself on the interweb gazing at pictures of a DB9 or V8 Vantage, and actually trying to realistically visualise being the gushing owner of such a specimen. I imagine 1000 mile cruises across Europe, and stopping for coffee at Monte Carlo, or trying to get the needle onto the top number on the speedometer on a German Autobahn. All very nice, but then the more nagging, everyday thoughts start taking a grip, and it begins to crumble.

I caught some heavy traffic on the way home the other day, and imagined afterwards just how much petrol an Aston or some other V8/10/12 engine would drink down like an Irishman on Shit-Faced Night at a pub. I like low fuel consumption and always have, so a yawning pit that senselessly swallows huge amounts of gasoline is anathema to me.

Perhaps one of the silliest things on Top Gear is how they talk so idiotically about handling and power and top speed and such. No-one buys super cars specifically to go 180mph. They buy them to impress women (or, if you are a woman, turn other women green with envy) and that’s it. You could power a Ferrari with a mouse going round a wheel, and you wouldn’t care less if it kept you in the attention of the ladies. But alas, in the real world, a flashy car won’t exclusively attract six-foot blondes, but most likely yobbos, thugs and nerdy middle-aged men with unkempt facial hair, i.e., those most interested in the type of car you’re driving. And then you’ll have to contend with young delinquents in modded Puntos who come up and nearly touch the back bumper on the motorway because they want to race and show how manly they are.

And picture owning a six-figure car and going out to the shops. Just the stark fear of leaving it out of sight for more than a few minutes will be a constant source of exasperation. And when you come back it’ll have a crowd around it, and nose prints and grubby hands all over the windows. And this isn’t the sort of car you can park on the street in any old spot, and not care if you give the car behind a nudge, or, God forbid, the car behind gives yours a nudge. Imagine if it gets a scratch on it! It’ll ruin the looks and cost probably a million pounds to get repaired.

And I won’t even go into the practicality issues, because if you buy a sports car, you must have already grasped the notion that that’s the last thing on the designers list to worry about.

Yet owning a flashy sports car is (nearly) everyone’s dream. But it sounds like a nightmare.