Tag Archives: top gear

When the world is full of guff

I had the exquisite pleasure just the other day to read about the Aston Martin DB11.  It was a joyous moment as I opened an article on the wonderous BBC website that promised photos and blurb of what I was expecting to be a very sexy beast indeed.  The pride of Britain as it used to be and the latest in the David Brown line as it were.  then this twat appeared………

By Matthew Phenix
23 September 2016
I generally despise first-person car reviews. Particularly when the vehicle in question is expensive, or fast, or both, these stories can quickly devolve into oily billets-doux of the writer’s preternatural giftedness behind the wheel. Or, worse, they become obnoxiously self-deprecating confessionals of their doubtful worthiness in the face of such blinding automotive majesty. So it is with no small amount of consternation that, after stewing over the Aston Martin DB11 for weeks after driving the car, I have decided to approach my take on it from the shameless first-person perspective.

 

Well Matthew Phenix – seems to me that you are something of a cock, bordering on complete fucktard.  This was the first paragraph of your Aston review and quite frankly – it was so shite that I never even made it to the first picture.  That’s the modern day equivalent of buying a copy of Readers Wives and only looking at the ads in the back for blow up dolls !!!  Younger readers will not understand what Readers Wives is all about – god bless the world before internet porn !!!

I was left scratching my head and not only thinking ‘WTF have I just read’? but also ‘WTF did it mean’?

Now it’s not enough that these weedy little tossers get to fool around in such nice cars while the rest of us have to suffer  (or enjoy in my case) £300 Volvos but they also have to spout a complete load of bollocks in order to try to make themselves appear more educated than the likes of you and me.

I blame Top Gear, and even Jeremy Clarkson.  See, these wanky little farts would just love to be a top line car journalist.  They have watched the likes of Hammond, May and Clarkson having bucket loads of fun over the years and making a mint whilst doing it.  Then all of a sudden, the top slots are free and available.  Every wanna be journo is creeping out of the woodwork with big fancy words and foolish comparisons.

To really keep them on edge, the initial replacement presenters (or two of them at least) were shit and most likely need replacing again !

Now you see, I much prefered 5th Gear and the ever so saucy minx Vicky Butler-Henderson.  I had the pleasure once of meeting said VBH at Le Mans maybe 15 years ago – she was ever so much the minx in real life as she was on the TV.

Drifting gently out of my dream sequence with VBH, back at my laptop..

 

So Journos – stop with the shit and speak English.  It’s the same in the damn iTunes store when you are looking at the review of an album.  I once read a review of a new Skunk Anansie album a few years back.  They had just reformed and were sounding sublime as ever but some fool had to write this crap

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I think I better go and listen to some Birdy and calm down

 

 

See back in the day, I can remember if you drove through Newport Pagnell at the right time, you would see the men at Aston Martin pushing a body shell from the body shop on one side of the road, across through the traffic and into the engine shop on the other side.

Body panels hand rolled and each engine bearing a little plate with the name of the guy that built it from scratch.  Now that would be more satisfying than a years subscription to Readers Wives.

 

Ahhh – Back in the day !


Pika Chuuuuuuu

Ok, I am sorry, I admit it – I downloaded my version of the app yesterday.  Tried playing but their servers were too busy to register me so had my first game today, and would you believe it, there was a damn Pokemon on the aft deck !!

I soon finished that one off and plan a walk around Palma tomorrow morning to look for more of the little critters.  Most likely finishing up at Cappuchinos where a very juicy slice of carrot cake will be waiting for me.

 

I had a little trip back in blighty the other weekend.  One thing I was keen to do was catch up with Top Gear to see if it was as bad as all the media were saying.  Now let me get my initial bias out of the way immediately – I think Chris Evans is an annoying little gob shite, never have liked him, never will.

Armed with my prejudice, I watched my first show – it also happened to be the last in their current series. Something struck me immediately.  I had watched Clarkson, May and Hammond and gradually grown bored with their predictable presenting and delivery style.  What I hadn’t bargained for was just how scripted Top Gear was.  The new guys were delivering the same lines with the same emphasis, same facial expressions, pauses, body language etc etc as the old three did.  That surprised and saddened me.  I was sad because I thought that the style that the old presenters worked in, was their own personal style – apparently not.  The BBC had hoodwinked me.

Top Gear had grown long in the tooth a long time ago.  The best bits, the only bits really worth watching were the specials – watching those 3 old guys squirming in the real world, would always be funny.  So for me, when it ended, it was just inevitable really.  The new guys, you can easily match up with the old 3 – Clarkson/Evans, Le Blanc/Captain Slow, Hammond/Reid.

Sabine was absolutely first class, especially when she looked into that Mini rally car at Le Blanc and said ‘look at the fat American’.

I wonder if anyone has told Chris Evans that pixie boots went out of fashion in the 80’s?

So now we wait for the new offering from the old stable.  If they have been smart, they will have changed the format.  The fact that they will present from a different place each time makes me think they have been shrewd and may even pull it off.  As for the old Top Gear, drop an axe on it – Le Blanc is no good as a front man and that style is now old hat – reinvent or bury.

 

 

Ok, running – or lack of it.  Still suffering from a knee injury that means I haven’t ran for over a month now.  Making up for that with cycling every day but climbing a mountain is tough in 31º heat, even worse in direct sunlight.  Maybe tomorrows Pokemon hunt will help entertain me or better still, a snorkel session at one of the local beaches could be good.  One thing I know for sure – the carrot cake will be sublime.

Apart from that – we are almost done here in Palma, returning to the South of France next month.


Terrible Love

January is over – a vicious month for Cancer.

As I plugged along on my very muddy 10k run this morning I had plently of time for thoughts.  If I am honest, the run itself was far from perfect.  The tow path was a mud bath and the woods at the back of Abbots Farm almost had me on my arse twice.

Time wise, it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, not quite 2 minutes slower than my best on that route but it was muddy!

I slipped into thoughts.  Lets talk about Apple for a moment.  I read an article this week on the BBC that their latest iOS software for their phones has been permanently disabling phones that have been for repair by independent phone shops.  You send your new phone away for a screen replacement or a new home button and it comes back with ‘error 53′.  You might think this is not the end of the world but in iOS9 – this now means your phone is useless – it will never work again and any info on it is lost for good.

I have been experiencing similar bullish tactics with my Mac after recently upgrading to El Capitan.  You see , the biggest problem with computer updates is you are always told what they have added but they NEVER tell you what they have taken away. If you knew which functionailities were removed, updating would never be an option for most users.

So now, if I want to email you a photo, I can no longer use the attach button from my mail browser and then go into my photo library and find it – nope, Apple want you to buy into their Cloud product, that lets you share easily (or more easily than the way they force you into if you won’t pay), so instead now I have to open the photo app, drag a copy to the desk top and then attach it from there.  Hardly progress from what is one of silicone valleys’ giants now is it?  The last software was better.

It doesn’t stop there.  iPhone users that have the latest software will find that airdrop has changed too.  No longer can you open air drop and make your phone visible to only people in your contacts list as with the older software, no, privacy on airdrop is now only available if your contacts are in the cloud.

Of course, there is a price for using the cloud.

As my Mac gets older, slower and clunkier and needs some financial input I find myself questioning the rational for moving back to a windows based pc and an android phone. See, a pc of the same tech specs as the Mac will be around half the price and comes with the freedom to source ‘stuff’ from outside of the world of the manufacturer.  Its getting to be an easier choice to make. There was a time when I would have used that line of thought as a down side though.  Have you ever been on the end of a windows based problem where the hardware manufacturer blames the software and the software manufacturer blames the hardware?

It did make me think though – some time ago the EU ruled that car manufacturers had to make all of their car computer diagnostics plugs the same as each others.  The reason was to allow independent garages not to have to invest in different computers for all of the makes out there – or to put it in very basic terms, to allow more competition as to where you as a consumer can spend your money.  I can’t see that this is any different than that?

Hark back to better times, when Apple products were wanted because they were revolutionary.  Those days died with Mr. Jobs. Cancer affects more of us than you might believe.

Of course, a lot of Apples problems come from the ‘hipsters’ that just have to have the latest stuff.  I was looking on iTunes the other day for info about Birdys new album when I noticed that although the release is not due for another month, 11 people had left reviews for it.  The ‘I am so trendy crew’ had got there before the record company have even cut the final disc! Dont believe me?  look at the screen shot below.

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I got into a debate on the Apple help forums the other week with a guy called Terence Devlin.  Terence suggests that people should stop complaining about when things change for the worse or stop working completely with Apple products because people aren’t running the very latest software.  His solution was to ‘upgrade – its free’  As our debate raged on, I mentioned that over 50% of the product reviews on the Apple store for its last iOS release gave it 1 star out of 5 with the majority of those recommending that you don’t install it at all (more 1 star reviews than 2,3,4,&5 added together).  Terence then suggested that those negative reviews should be ignored because people like to complain.  At that point, I gave up with the fucktard and left him to his little world of what I suspect is a very wealthy family that pay for whatever his little hipster heart desires.  I also suspect that he doesn’t work for two reasons.

  1. He is always camped outside the Apple store to be the first to get whatever is new that week.
  2. Daddy pays him a jolly good allowance each month so the reality of earning a living is left to the serfs and peasants on street level

 

So back in the UK for 10 days.  It is cold and wet here. Sure, the South of France gets cold too but it is dry, the air is dry which makes for a different, almost warming kind of cold.  Add to that I have allowed myself to be bullied into going to Bike Park Wales on Wednesday with The King of Touching Cloth himself – Mr Yates.  The very next day I have my ships medical to give me the green light to set sail for the next 2 years and then early next week, a funeral – but more on that later.

I am expecting to sustain some physical damage on Wednesday, not only from being miserable from the cold and wet for hours but also because of the tricky or even treacherous conditions will lead to mishaps I am sure.  Fingers crossed, it will be Yates this time.  While he is in a bundle of pain on the floor, I will pull along side him and gleefully jib, ‘see you at the bottom dick wad’ as is the norm for our outings – I like to think of it as the ‘Top Gear’ style of caring for your chums. I have little choice though – it will now cost me as much to back out of it as it will to go – and I hate wasting money.

The world needs a bit more Birdy

 


What – no Top Gear ?

Just settling down for a sunday evening in front of the TV, Sunday 8pm, BBC2 Top Gear – but not tonight.  Seems that Jezza has overstepped the mark.  Poor old fella!  Personally, I think he could be a huge premadonna so I can believe all that I am hearing. I do predict that tomorrow though – the news will be full of stories about Mr Clarkson NOT renewing his contract with the beeb.  To really push the boat out, I reckon Hammond and May will stay on and Top Gear will continue with a similar format.  It does get a bit boring watching them smoking tyres out on dream cars, with the predictable punch lines and especially when they ask the audience if they want to see the lap in the  ‘star in a reasonably priced car’ segment – of course they do………..time for a change I think.  Tonight I am sampling a new program called ‘Off their Rockers’.

More toilet talk – I picked up a pack of Belgium’s finest bog roll the other week, all different designs.  One that took my fancy straight away was a roll with a drawing of a pile of poo on alternate sheets (almost mis-spelled that ), underneath the cartoon pile was the word ‘Happens’.  I kinda liked that – ‘Shit Happens’  quite apt for a toilet roll.  Then I noticed another roll had a cartoon face of a Lion (or Cat – I couldn’t tell which) with the words in Portuguese underneath that translated to ‘ Very Nice to see You’.  I thought that was a bit weird, dragging that across your butt hole but then this week I noticed the best yet.  Pictures of hands making shapes that signified letters of the alphabet – I assumed they were sign language but thankfully, under each drawing of a hand was the letter being signed.  I pulled a few sheets off the roll to reveal the full phrase, I-L-O-V-E-Y-O-U  drag that across ring piece of your nearest and dearest to show how much you care.

So recently I have been to-ing and fro-ing from Brussels a lot – late night drives to avoid traffic congestion. Traffic just does my head in and if you plan badly you get traffic on the M25 and also on the RO (the Brussels M25 equivalent) at the other end. Usually this means a 10pm ferry, arriving in Dunkirk at 1am local time followed by a two-hour spurt into Brussels.  The other night I got into some morbid thinking about death on the long run into the ring from Dunkirk.  To perk myself up I started flicking through my iTunes playlist until I found something I really liked.  I found the mighty Biffy Clyro & 27. Singing my heart out I was fully prepared to play it again if it finished before I made it to the house but there was an ace in the pack, a very big ace.

As I approached Stockel Square, Biffy faded out and was replaced by Robbie feckin Williams with ‘Angels’.  It was 3am and I was definitely going to be at the house before this song had finished so I dropped both front windows on the car, pumped up the volume and started singing at the top of my voice.  I had time in hand, that was clear, so I circled the market square 3 times that morning – singing my bollocks off in the most out of tune manner you have ever heard in your life.  Think about the worst karaoke you ever heard – that was me.  It was like holding both middle fingers up to those boring french speaking fuckers of Belgium. IT FELT GOOD!! I hope I woke all of them up.

Friday saw the final chapter in Belgium close as we handed back the house there. I will miss having such a huge forest right on my doorstep but new chapters beckon, new adventures are always just around the corner.  Tonight I went for a run taking in a little amount of road before heading into the fields, aiming for the canal towpath somewhere between Kilsby and Barby.  I did finally make the towpath as the light was fading fast.  I missed a turn halfway down a field and added a good half kilometer to my distance.  My OS maps app didn’t work so I had no choice but to back track and find where I had gone wrong.  Eventually on the tow path, the inevitable happened – I needed a dump !  Now, the non runners amongst you will never understand the link between running and dumping but please be assured there is a legitimate link – I certainly do not have a fetish for dropping a steaming coiler out in the nature – sometimes it just can’t be avoided.  Thankfully this time, I had a packet of Handy Andy’s with me so my underwear and hat were safe.

Staying with running – I did manage a new personal best at Saturday’s Parkrun in Coventry’s War Memorial Park.  I ran my lungs out to take over 45 seconds out of my best time.  I was more than a little miffed though – on the last half of the second lap, two other runners that I correctly guessed were in my age group overtook me.  This is a problem for two reasons.  Firstly, anyone that is older than me or younger than me that is in front of me, is a target. I just can’t be beaten by anyone close by that is older or younger (yes I know that is everyone) but could I catch and pass them before the finish line ? Could I bollocks !  The second reason for this being a problem for me was that as they overtook me – they were having a conversation FFS!  If that is not adding insult to injury, I don’t know what is.  I do wonder though – if they applied my theory of ‘if you have enough air left to talk, you ain’t running hard enough’ – just how fast a time could they make ?  Anyway – I managed a respectable 77th place out of a field of 504 runners but I did get beaten by two chicks, and when I say beaten – I mean given a jolly good arse kicking !

But I keep trying – remember, there are two Great North Runs on my agenda this year.

Next week I return to St Maarten in the Caribbean before setting sail on yet another transatlantic crossing for Mallorca.  Transatlantic crossings are very boring. 16 days or so with not a great deal to do although I always say it’s better to have a boring 16 days than 16 days of fighting for your life.

 


Tripping Twig Syndrome

Plenty of news to share with you this time, I know its been a while since my last post – deal with it !

The Great North Run has seen fit to give me two entries for this years event.  In June, I will be running in the 10k event, come September, I will be in the Half Marathon.  I accidentally upped my distance today in preparation for those events.  I left Rupert’s house in Cawston heading across the fields in the general direction of Draycote Water.  I was told it was 5k around the lake and with the extra bit getting there and coming back, I was expecting a healthy 10k hop.

I stopped for an emergency poo at the club house there, and was a tad bemused to see the runkeeper already at 9.1km.  By the time I was done, it was a 14.7km run or close to 10 miles – turns out that Rupert was talking miles when he said 10, I was thinking in kilometers.

Both of those Great North Runs are televised so be sure to tune in and shout some encouragement at your screen – don’t worry what your neighbours think – better still, get them shouting too.

The bird has accepted a job in England so the last few weeks have been spent finding a pad for her to move to – all done now and the move should be complete by the weekend – now all she needs to do is learn to drive on the right side of the road – the left !!

More details will follow in private dispatches.

Lets talk about twig tripping for a moment.  It’s a new phenomenon for me, which is surprising considering the amount of cross-country work I have done in my life.  Twig tripping happens when one of your feet hits the ground and catches the end of a twig or stick.  Because you have hit the end of the twig, the other end gets lifted up off the floor by a few inches.  This lift coincides with your opposing foot moving forward to take the next step when it meets the uplifted end of the stick, normally around where your shoe laces criss cross at the front of your shoe – then you have a problem, one foot on the ground behind you, the other jammed along side it while you have 5 or 6mph of forward motion.  If you are lucky, the twig doesn’t get tangled in your laces criss cross and your foot can slip around and off the end of the twig and plant firmly with a thud as you recover.  Worse case scenario is the twig gets jammed up in the laces and there is no escape other than face planting.

Not only is it catching me out at the moment, but I have seen others having exactly the same problems – which leads me to believe that there is a new breed of twig with the sole purpose of exterminating the human race by face plant or puddle suffocation

Puddle suffocation is a subject I will cover at a later date.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear a new Prodigy song last week and even more happy to pre-order their album for release later this month.  I was saddened to hear that Zane Lowe is leaving Radio 1 but am extremely curious as to what he is going to be doing at Apple. When I left the UK back in 2004, Zane had just recently started with Radio 1 and was shaking up the establishment and bringing a new breed of music to the airwaves.  I did have a blast on Radio 2 the other week too – Jo Whiley.  I remember listening to Jo way back in the early 90’s when she did the ‘Evening Sessions’ with Steve Lamaq – they were responsible for introducing me to Radio Head and the junkie slut tones of Courtney Love and Hole.

Almost time for Top Gear


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