the daily column

It’s not London unless the skies are grey

It just wouldn’t be London, even in summer, unless the skies were grey and the rain was a constant threat, right? That’s been true nearly every day now, with the only concession to summer being patches of sun that do appear in between.

Motor Expo

Hot, hot cars. This was no ordinary motor show – the clear point here was to show off cars worth their salt, and if Sir had his chequebook or Amex Black on hand, Sir could purchase too. Test drives could also be arranged with personal pick up.

It wasn’t the London Motor Show – that’s the usual type held inside a giant exhibition hall. The Motor Expo was much more geared to selling the goods, from the average punter to the high-flying exec (any wonder it was in the new financial zone?)

Cars were scattered around Canary Wharf, the most modern part of London’s CBD by far. And on offer was no less than the McMerc, and … well nigh on any car you wished to get your hands on. Alfa had their 8C out, not to mention the Spider. Audi’s R8 is a thing of beauty, on par with Aston’s offerings.

Land Rover also made a strong impression, showing off some 4WD abilities on a little course they had set up to demonstrate their offerings. I can appreciate the technical merit of the 4WDs, and at least Land Rover don’t only pretend their cars are for the off-road. (unlike GM/Vauxhall, who advertised a “SUV” with the tagline “Explore the limits of the urban jungle.” Slogans (and cars) that stupid should be banned.

The funniest thing was seeing all the boys drooling over the cars, and the exasperated women wandering around behind them, as if taking care of toddlers in a candy shop :) (more photos here)

Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot is roughly the equivalent of the Racing Carnival in Melbourne, except it happens at one place, Ascot, over four days, and gets the “Royal” tag thanks to the attendance of the Queen and her family. As you might imagine, the fashions are even more upmarket, with roughly half the crowd heading there in top hat & tails.

In most other ways though, it’s the same as the racing carnival in Melbourne. Long stretches of empty time mostly filled with drinking your choice of poison and chit-chat, with a break every 40 minutes or so when a bunch of short men in gaudy silk shirts hurtle down a stretch of perfectly maintained lawn on the backs of animals that, on the balance of it, would probably rather not be there with the men on their back, if indeed at all. Meanwhile the audience puts money on who will win, mostly based on an average of past form that has no bearing what so ever on the race today, and in any case half are amateurs with too much money who are just making pot shots in the dark.

Can you tell I’m a bit of a racing cynic? Or that I didn’t win any money? :) Not a single favourite won, or indeed placed, which goes to show how pointless the whole exercise is. “Lady Luck” doesn’t have half the role she would normally because there is a non-random factor in there, but it’s far more variable than most sports would consider normal. Suffice to say, I really did fail to see the point.

It was none the less a fun day out with a few friends :) (more photos here)

3 replies on “It’s not London unless the skies are grey”

Beamers? Jags? Ferraris? Maseratis?

I don’t want the SLR for the same reasons I don’t want an Enzo: it would kill me.

For whatever reason, I tend to develop crushes on much more manageable supercars and sports cars. Rational thought intrudes even on these materialistic fantasies (or maybe it’s because I believe I will eventually be able to afford some of these).

Beemers – I don’t like the “flame” styling and think Chris Bangle should be gainfully employed elsewhere.

Jags – they didn’t have the new one, and the old ones aren’t anything exceptional right?

Ferraris – only the Modena was there, actually which was kinda a disappointment

Maserati – only had the Quattroporte, and that’s basically a luxury limo.

Actually, come to mention it, Bugatti wasn’t there.

I’ve got a dream car for any price bracket, really, and the SLR is at the top of my range, waiting for the day I make obscene millions through some semi-legitimate scam that has me laughing all the way to the bank (and the billionaires club). I don’t care if the cost of it could feed a family in Africa for generations, It really is jaw-droppingly gorgeous in the metal, whereas the Enzo, not so much I thought. The Veyron is one I’ve yet to see, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it just left me standing.

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