Sometimes I just go off on one

Facebook will do this to me sometimes. I see a comment from someone who I like and respect, but I don’t agree with the sentiment. So I type a sentence.

Only it’s not just a sentence. Well it is briefly just a sentence, but that sentence makes me want to type another sentence. And then another one. And then a second paragraph.

And then that extra bit makes the whole thing long enough to need some structure, so I put a pre-amble at the start.

And then I stick another paragraph in the middle, because it doesn’t flow right.

And then I see an opportunity to link to something else I’ve been thinking about.

And before long it’s an entire blog post that I feel I should probably copy out because actually I’m quite proud of how it reads.

Always this happens when I’m full of wine. I’m sure that’s completely unrelated.

So this was today’s. Apologies to Mark, who made a tiny, entirely justifiable, throwaway.comment about some dick politician blethering about Brexit and then found himself having to read all this shit that I wrote. And now it’s here too, just in case not enough people were bored with what I have to say. Hooray for the internet!

 

There’s no need to worry, there’s zero possibility of a second referendum.

Can you think of a situation where this has happened before – politicians opposing a clear decision by the people? Usually politicians just bend over and take it up the arse when the public has spoken, because they need the public support to get voted in the next time.

What’s different this time?

The world is changing. Political battles are fought not with facts any more, but with marketing. Well, they always were, but in the past there hasn’t been the quantum shift in psychological manipulation that there has been in this single year. For Christ’s sake, *Donald Trump* is the Republican candidate. Donald fucking Trump! Because he knows how to do marketing better than anyone.

Nobody outside the US sees him as anything other than a laughingstock. So how is he so popular? Because he’s unbelievably good at marketing. Everybody outside the US is bemused, because they’re not targeted by the marketing.

Boris’s team copied his techniques. They didn’t bother with facts, they wielded psychological weapons. They are hypnotic when you are subjected to them. “Take back control”. “£350m a day”. They’re all visceral and they make us *feel* the right way. This is the future of politics. Whoever’s better at psychology wins.

If you look outside the UK, you’d be hard pushed to find anybody who thinks it was a good idea for the UK to leave the EU. Most of them couldn’t give a shit, granted, but that makes them immune to the emotion. They’re just looking at the cold facts. And they’re all bemused.

Everybody’s bemused.

Just like we are at Donald Trump.

This is not a coincidence.

Let me leave you with this question. If we were to have a second referendum tomorrow (which we clearly won’t), how do you think it would go? And whatever answer you give to that, do you think that would be better, worse, or the same for the UK?

 

Mark riposted with the, again, entirely correct point that both sides had their pants well and truly on fire throughout the whole campaign. Politicians are, by their nature, repelled from the truth like I am from TOWIE. That is 100% true. I just think the Leave campaigners were a lot better at it, because they’d employed an evil genius of their own to do their social engineering for them. I hate the fact that we’re all moist robots, so easily manipulated by marketing, but I still sing the fucking Shake-n-Vac advert from 30 fucking years ago, so it’s a really hard point to argue against.

The next year will be the real shift in understanding – that’s the time when we’ll all start to learn exactly how these things have come to pass and the mechanisms behind them, and in ten years’ time it’ll be as commonly understood as wearing a tie to an interview and not getting your cock out at a wedding. Well, not during the service, anyway. After the cake – that’ll probably be OK by then. Times they are a-changin’.

Speed bumps at race tracks

Now I know this post is going to paint me as Mr Angry, especially after the previous rant about Gran Turismo, but fuck it.  Maybe I *am* Mr Angry.  Here we go.

Speed bumps?  At FUCKING RACE TRACKS?  Really?!?!?!

Here’s what happened at Bedford Autodrome this week, both on the way in and the way out:

Huge speed bumps at race tracks just push my buttons.  What colossal moron is signing these things off?!?!

Here’s what I’ve written to MSV, who run Bedford Autodrome.  Let’s see if they reply.

Guys, you really need to sort out your speed humps. The ones inside are moronic enough considering it’s a race track and therefore encourages low cars, but the painfully asinine speed bump at the entry/exit did its best to rip the bottom out of my car on Friday and instantly turned me from happy-to-be-at-the-track into Mr Angry on both the way in and the way out. It doesn’t matter how good your track or your people are if it’s going to destroy my car. If you choose not to fix this then you will never get my business again because I quite like my car and I don’t want it to be destroyed by driving into your facility.

You can see pictures of my car at the end of the video, taken at Cadwell the week before. As you can see, it’s hardly a Radical. It gets over all the humps in Bedford and everywhere else with no drama, as long as I slow down for the monsters. It is also worth approximately the same as a pork pie and a blow job, and is therefore not worth my suing you over. However, I urge you to walk outside and take a look at the hump itself, whereupon you will see all manner of hideously expensive scratches and gouges made by your paying customers who are almost all considerably wealthier than me and definitely more litigious. It’s only a matter of time.

I attach the dashcam footage, which enables you to see exactly where the offending monolith lies. The video contains explosive profanity, which I wholeheartedly endorse, even with hindsight. Despite my profound embarrassment about publicising my primitive reactions from the heat of the moment, I feel you need to know quite how much rage it engenders in a customer when negligence results in damage to one’s car. You might as well sprinkle nails in your parking spaces. It really is that bad.

I doubt I’ll get a response.  Their business model presumably allows for their customers to fuck their cars up on the way in and out of the track.  But I certainly won’t be one of those customers.

Granny Turismo

Oh Gran Turismo. What happened? You started out so well.

Gran Turismo 1

Gran Turismo 1

I don’t know why I’m surprised. It’s been nearly 20 years since that first masterpiece. Like any organisation, people will have moved on, dynamics will have changed. That first game will have been made by inspired people, people who loved driving games, people who wanted to do something great.

Then money happened.

Money ruins everything.

When money happens, project managers get hired.  For some bizarre reason, it seems commonly accepted that “project management” is somehow a transferable skill across ANY KIND OF PROJECT.  Somehow this statement has become the accepted truth, despite being as obviously bollocks as “I look cool in this bandana” and “Donald Trump says what we’re all thinking.”

Project management is *not* something you can just hover into and do.  If you don’t understand the project you’re managing, you’re just going to get in the way of the people who do (and if you don’t have any of *those* people, you’re fucked regardless).

When I play Gran Turismo, I get fucked off by the stuff that I would’ve stomped on if I’d been project managing it.  For example, the catch-up is way too obvious.  If I crash on the first lap, I can still easily win even if I’m a bit Maldonado for the rest of the race.  But if I do a perfect race but crash on the last corner, I finish last.  I can start 12th, blast past the leader on lap 2, drive the perfect lap 3, and *still* that fucker in second who I’d just taken 5 seconds a lap out of is somehow still up my arse!  Not only that, but it’s not only the computer cars that are affected.  As soon as I take the lead, *MY CAR* suddenly has less grip!  What the actual fuck?!?!  What colossal bell-end thought that was a good idea?!

And the “moon rover” level.  Well I’m not even going to go into that.  What a fucking joke.  You’d have to have been pissed, high, and A GIBBON to have signed that off.  For fuck’s sake.

But that’s not why I’ve stopped playing.  I’ve stopped because of the karts.  The first two kart series were piss-easy.  You hardly needed to look at the screen.  The third series, however, already prickled me by offering me 3 karts with the same rating but then when I’d bought one, decided only the other two were eligible for the series.  FUCK OFF!  How did nobody pick that up?  That kind of shit MAKES ME HATE YOU.

And then I started the race.  I’m no Fernando Alonso but I’ve been holding my own so far, pretty much dominating the computer opposition, as you’re supposed to in a VIDEO GAME THAT YOU BOUGHT FOR FUN.  But here, apparently, nobody got that memo.  Your kart will spin with no warning and at variable times.  I did the whole championship, I was last in every race, and the entire field lapped me.  Every time I span, I don’t know why it happened.  I seemed to be doing exactly the same as I’d done on the previous corner and there was no warning.  This may well be what it’s like to drive a racing kart in real life, but I COULDN’T GIVE A FLYING FUCK.  This is a fucking video game, that I bought in order to HAVE SOME FUN in my precious free time.  And now I just want to find the developer and punch him repeatedly in the fucking spleen until he promises never to write any zeroes and ones ever again.  Which is how I’d feel if I was project managing him, though in that scenario I’d probably be rather more diplomatic about it and give him another two days to code something less violence-inducing before I sent him with his P45 to Molly Maid.

I’m only upset about this because I’m still in denial.  The first Gran Turismo, back in 1997, was sooooooo good, and I can’t quite come to terms with the fact that episode six is worse than episode one.  Yes, the graphics are better now, but who cares?  I just want to drive.  On my sofa.  While I’m pissed.

Oh, and one last reason to for my rant.  The Lotus Elise.  It’s been in every episode since Gran Turismo 2.  And in every episode the Elises have handled like there’s a tea-tray under the rear tyres.  THEY DON’T DO THAT!  I can only assume they wrote the handling algorithm based solely on a husband’s explanation to his wife of why he hit a tree.

Lotus Elise at Spa by Matt Sayle
Lotus Elise at Spa by Matt Sayle

I’m done with you, Gran Turismo.  Go piss somebody else off.

Spa days are supposed to be relaxing

My run of unreliability is becoming a running joke.

There are only four cars left in the fleet, and collectively they do seem to be encouraging me to do more walking.  Whilst sending me bankrupt, of course.

Firstly, there’s the Lotus.  It and I have been a long way – it’s now old enough to get its own driving licence, leave the nest and vote for Boris, if it sees fit.  Last year the head gasket went, which frankly nobody could believe.  Not because it went – that’s a given with a K-Series engine – but because it hadn’t gone before.  That car lives a *hard* life.  It’s done 85,000 miles, and at *least* 10% of those have been round a track being driven my yours truly, Jimbo Chimpington-Hamfist.  It’s a resounding testament to Max and Tim at Lakeside Engineering that it still runs, and runs well.  Do you remember that Top Gear episode in Argentina?  It was the dodgy “Falklands” number plate that stole all the headlines, but do you remember the Esprit that just wouldn’t break down?  That’s because Max was out there with it, looking after it.  What Max doesn’t know about Lotuses can be written on a pygmy ant’s scrotum, in block capitals and double-underlined.  So actually, car number 1 is exonerated on the reliability front.  Despite the leaky boot…

Lotus Elise at Croft

Wonderful photo by Matt Sayle at BookaTrack's Croft May 2015 double-header. Thanks Matt!

 

Where shall we go next?  The NSX?  Well, all was going well with that.  Maz and Russ from Hond-R have transformed the car into what it should’ve been all along.  It’s not finished … they haven’t done the setup for me yet, and until they do, the wet weather handling is … erm … a weeny bit homicidal …

… but it’s getting there.  At least it was, until I had a massive brain fart and managed to run over a kerb and smash up the front end.

NSX smashed spoiler

NSX spoilers are cheap and plentiful, right?

So that’s off the road until Maz can find me a new one.

And, speaking of Hondas, there’s the Integra.  Now, that car is a *weapon*.  Maz and Russ look after that one too, and what Maz doesn’t know about Type Rs can be written on the appendix of Mini-Me’s action figure.  Whenever I take that car out on track and give it a good spanking, I can’t help but laugh.  It’s *comically* good.

Oh, and that one broke down too.

Here it is being so good that I’m laughing inside my helmet at how easy it is to dispatch the Atom through the twisties.  And then breaking down.

 

But despite the unreliability, I’m not ready to trade any of them.  The Lotus is completely brilliant, the Integra is completely brilliant, and the NSX is just so damn cool, and has the *potential* to be completely brilliant.

But the real stand-out … the car that just keeps on going and going and going and going despite whatever I throw at it … is the scabby old MX5.  That thing is like Keith Richards.  I abuse the hell out of it, all the time, and it just keeps coming back for more.  And it’s worth less than a grand.  And the tyres cost £25 each, if you buy the ditchfinders that I do, so that the low grip matches the low power of the engine.  When the cambelt snapped, I just got a new cambelt fitted and carried on as if nothing had happened.  It’s the perfect car!

Can you guess who looks after it for me?  Take a bow, Max and Tim at Lakeside Engineering again.  Can you see a pattern forming here?

 

So there you have it.  Screw your Porsches.  Stick with the slow, fun stuff and have yourself a ball for a tenth of the price.  I knew it four years ago … why didn’t I take my own advice?  Cos I’m stoopid, that’s why.  That’s a mid-life crisis for you.  That’s kind of the whole point of a mid-life crisis.  They make you do dim things like buying Porsches you can’t afford to run, and forgetting what the hell you were writing about and ending with a completely different point to the one you were intending to make.  Still.  That’s over now.  The Porsche’s gone and the fun cars are still here putting a smile on my post-crisis face.

Although … I have to say … the crisis might not *quite* be over yet.  I can’t help thinking there’s a Caterham-shaped hole in my life … 8O

Somebody talk me out of it …