As car nuts go, I’m a bit unusual. I deliberately bought a slow sports car, and like it mostly for its relatively clean emissions and surprisingly large boot space. Well… and that it goes round corners like stink.
But ‘relatively clean emissions’ is just a nice way of saying ‘screws the planet a bit less.’ It’s like calling a Toyota Prius ‘good for the environment’ – er, no. Not unless pickled herring is good with rhubarb crumble. A few random Romans might disagree, but we have an otherwise clear consensus on that one.
I basically hate cars. I think they’re a nonsense indulgence and I kind of resent myself for owning one, since I could pretty much do without. But at the same time, I find automotive design absolutely fascinating, and there’s more than enough engineering geek in me to adore the sound of a well-tuned internal combustion engine. Such are the emotional dilemmas of our crazy modern world. Oh, the angst and hypocrisy.
So, I only sometimes watch Top Gear (will you stop banging on about speed cameras, you idiots? Oh, and I also think it’s going to disappear up its own contrivance soon, though the last series did a decent job of recognising that and reigning it in a little). I can’t really be bothered with F1 any more… mostly. But I enjoy Sniff Petrol with the best of them.
So, I might not listen to the related podcast ‘Gareth Jones on Speed‘ if it wasn’t (a.) done by a mate, and (b.) hosted on my server. But that would be a shame, because, twelve months in, it’s really rather good. The current episode includes Gareth and co-host Zog (no, really) talking about the London motor show, and how to tell one Aston Martin from another (almost as difficult as remembering the current line-up from TVR, in any given week); gags from Sniff Petrol; and a bizarre mix of Formula 1 driver karaoke impressions.
As you’d expect from media professionals, it’s extremely well put together. I could have used a little less of the karaoke – I’ve a hunch that 20 minutes is something like a sweet spot for podcasts – but in a field of self-indulgent ego-pamper-fests, it’s remarkably well-judged. This month’s video is, incidentally, brilliant too. Beautifully shot and cut.
The Volvo C30 gag is priceless, anyway. That one went all pear-shaped when they did away with the trellised A-pillars, in my book…