I have this strange infatuation with Top Gear….not the Aussie version. I’m yet to be convinced by that ‘version’. The English version – well! I can just sit there and watch middle-aged, English men drive fast cars and talk a whole load of shite till the cows come home! Why is it so?
I mean, I’m not a huge car fanatic – even though I grew up surrounded by relics and car bodies, in which Dad insisted he would be able to ‘do up’, or that they would be really valuable one day.
Dad LOVED Fords. And so did Mum. She fell in love with a black V8 Ford Fairlane Sedan we owned in the 1980’s. THAT was her prized possession at the time! Mum used to make the 7-10 hour drive from Kalgoorlie to Mount Helena to visit our Grandparents in that beast of a machine – with the 3 kids and 3 dogs, plus everything you needed to entertain 3 dog and 3 kids on a 7-10 hour drive. I don’t know how we did it, as there’s nothing much to see except one long road, one really long water pipeline, and a whole lot of gum trees, red dirt, and scrub. I do remember curling up to sleep on the floor in the back of the car (you know – where you put your feet when you sit in the back seat) – I’m pretty sure I was like 9 or 10. I wasn’t a small child. That must have been one HUGE car!
I started out with an inherited love for Ford too. My first car was a 1977 V6 Ford Cortina sedan. It was metallic blue, glistened in the sun, was full of rust, had no heating or air con – which makes for many fabulous experiences in Perth – and sounded like a V8. Boys used to like to try to drag me off at the lights because of the sound of my car…Oh one of the previous owners had fitted an extractor to the exhaust – so that explains the sounds (plus the inevitable hole in the exhaust that just made it louder!).
Now, my brother went against the grain as a teenager – he was Holden all the way. Or started out that way, until the Holden died and Mum convinced him to get a Ford Cortina (it was yellow!).
Anyway – I digress. Top Gear. Why is it so compelling?
It could be due to my deep-seated obsession with English boys. I don’t know why I find them so appealing. Maybe it’s that boyish, cheeky, Hugh Grant or Colin Firth (Oh Mr Darcy!) appeal…Funnily enough Hugh Grant is the guest driver on Top Gear tonight (yes I watch as I write…it’s that bad).
Or it’s the accents. I love English accents. I love the quirky diversity of them – the cringe-worthiness of the scouser accent, the poshness of those from London, or the memories that come to mind when I hear the accent of someone from the Midlands or the very North of England…memories of my Nan, my Aunty Melba, of living in the UK for a bit.
Or it could be that secretly I want to be a rev-head. I’ve always wanted to know how to fix cars myself, and had entertained taking a mechanics ‘course’ at one stage. I love the smell of oily parts, and want to feel independent enough to show up at a car yard and not feel like a dim-witted female idiot.
No. I think it’s actually a mixture of the gorgeous, out-of-my-league cars, the humour – seriously those boys make me almost pee my pants sometimes – and the scenery…whether it be the English countryside, European mountains, the North Pole (that episode was insane!), or the streets of London. It IS pure fantasy!