Saturday, October 25, 2008

An Ode to Driving

Update : Sunday night

I got some well-deserved earache from my sister-in-law via email.

> From: Mrs-sergeant-major-stan
> To: Stan
> Subject: Radiofreeblog
> Date: Sun, 26 Oct 2008 16:58:28 +0000
> Stan,
> Got to ask what is wrong with a ford focus diesel, as being married to your little bruv that's what I've got????!!!!!
> Me

I was just looking around for something that was as little like a Dodge Viper as possible and well-known. I nearly went with an Astra Diesel, but that's what the UK police drive, and I'm not going to upset them.

The Focus is a great car and when my Big Stupid Spanish Diesel packs in, a Titanium X is definitely on my shortlist. But tell me with a straight face that it could light up a movie like a Dodge Viper or Ford Mustang ..

One of the pleasures of working away from home in the winter is the long drive home in the dark.

Yes, that right - I said "pleasures".

There's something about a long drive at night. Obviously the UK isn't the ideal place for driving, which is why all the best Road Movies are set in the USA.
  • UK Road movie : Ford Focus diesel up the M6 from Rugby to Carlisle
  • US Road movie : Dodge Viper along the Historic Route 66 from Chicago to LA.
I really can't imagine a great film being made that includes a toilet stop and a Ginsters "Mexican-Style" Chicken Pasty at Knutsford Services.

Even so, I do tend to enjoy myself. For one thing there's the music. A long drive in the dark is one of those rare occasions when you can crank up the music and really listen, rather than just having it on in the background.

I listened to "Every Day Hurts" by Skunk Anansie about a dozen consecutive times. Mrs. Stan has a degree in music, so when some piece gets to me I usually run and get her to break it down for me : why is this so marvellous ? Usually she smiles and tells me that it's always the same sort of music that gets me :-
  • Syncopation : the stress is on the off-beat : one TWO three FOUR
  • Tension between the rhythmn instruments and the solo creating a "surge" in tempo
  • Bass - and lots of it
"Every Day Hurts" is no exception. It also has a singer that makes you feel like she means it, like she lives it. An amazing drummer too - Mark Richardson, who now plays with Feeder.

Thanks to traffic delays, I also had chance to reacquaint myself in some detail with "Shine on You Crazy Diamond" by Pink Floyd and "Salvador" by Jamie T. I fear that these may turn out to be musically isomorphic to "Every Day Hurts", but I don't care - great tracks in their own way.

I also enjoy overtaking trucks at night - I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe because it gives the illusion of speed. Also each one's different and it's going to strange places with cargo hidden from sight. There is something awesome about 40 tonnes travelling at 60 mph mere inches from your window.

I do like the service stations too - which I associate only with pleasure. Bladders are relieved, aching limbs stretched, children eat sweets. Wonderful places and greatly underrated.

But the best bit is arriving at my destination.

1 comment:

Fiona said...

Feel for your SIL! I will stick to my lovely tank for the time being :-)