Tag Archives: cars

Aesthetics: The Art of Considerate Parking 4

I’d just dropped into the driver’s seat of my car, and was about to press the Start button, when my eyes alighted upon a trio of cars parked in the next aisle of the underground carpark. “What’s this,” I cried, “have people taken on board my pleas for aesthetic parking?” It certainly looked that way. In an ocean of dull grey, silver, black, white, and turgid cars (mine included – you can just see my car’s paintwork through the windscreen), these three shone like a beacon of colour, elan, and parking verve. Aesthetic Parking X 3…

Tooty’s Techno-Mashup 2: And Tooty Shall Have Music Wherever He Goes!

Now Tooty’s never been at the forefront of technological change: he’s one of those who believe in the maxim “If it aint broke don’t fix it”. But once something new has been proven beneficial to him, he will embrace it like a long-lost legionnaire embraces a desert fort’s water butt. That is – he goes for it wholeheartedly. But, despite his adoption of technological advancement, he doesn’t abandon the old tech willy-nilly. No: it goes into his attic – collecting dust, cob-webs, spider shit, and (if he’s unlucky) moisture. And it is because of this reticence of his that recently, whilst searching his attic (for something entirely unrelated) he discovered a plastic box containing a bunch of these…

They are, of course, compact cassette audio tapes – still in their original cellophane wrappers and, consequently immaculate.

“Now what would Tooty want with those old slabs of plastic crap?” I hear you muse, “Why, they’re even older than video tapes – and they went out with the Ark!”

Well I’ll tell you. Tooty normally drives a very pleasant modern 21st century car, featuring a turbo-charged, three cylinder petrol engine that is frugal, reasonably clean, bloody quick, and sounds really nice when he floors the accelerator in any of the six gears available to him. But in his garden he keeps one of these…

Yes, it’s an old car. It goes (rather well), is taxed and insured, and can be driven any time he wants. He doesn’t need it: it’s a drain on resources: and it takes up room that could be better used. But he likes it. He likes the slow, lazy steering: the even slower, even lazier automatic gearbox; and the smooth quiet four-cylinder engine that originated in Japan and couldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding. It also comes equipped with one of these…

For those of you born on or near the time of the millennium, that is an FM/AM radio with compact cassette player. Once big news. Groovy even. Something that (if Tooty wants to listen to music of his choice, and not some noise selected by a ‘right-on’ self-important ‘presenter’ who wouldn’t know good music if it chewed on his/her privates) requires compact cassettes. Cue the recent discoveries.

“Ah,” I hear your finger raised questioningly, “but how does he get his preferred digitised music from his laptop/MP3 player onto the cassette?”

Well it wasn’t just the cassettes he found up there on the top floor: he also found this…

Yes, it’s an ancient twin-deck ‘boom box’ – designed and fabricated decades before the very idea of DAB radio. But here’s the thing: Panasonic inadvertently future-proofed this delightfully analogue device. They saw that people might want to record from their Compact Discs, (Hah – remember them?) which of course they did because their cars weren’t fitted with CD players (also which his modern car isn’t either: it’s all multi-media and Bluetooth stuff). But what they couldn’t have imagined is that their ‘CD In Line’ sockets could carry the yet to be developed digital information that comes from the Internet.

“Great,” you could be excused for uttering in a doubtful tone, “but how does Tooty get the aforementioned digital information to the boom box?”

Every single electrical item that Tooty has bought over the years came equipped with connecting cables. He didn’t throw them away either. So, after a half-hour’s rummage he surfaced with this…

One end into his laptop’s headphone socket: the other two into the stereo CD In Line sockets on the boom box…

Then it’s simply a matter of pressing RECORD on the Panasonic, and PLAY on the Toshiba laptop. Of course he has to listen to every song: but if you’re doing the ironing, or knocking up dinner, where’s the pain in that? And now he can listen to modern songs in his old car, without having to listen to a load of over-exuberant drivel. Did I hear the word ‘genius’ mentioned?

Aesthetics: The Art of Considerate Parking 3

In the original Aesthetics: The Art of Considerate Parking, I mentioned that is was impossible to park a silver car beside any other hue – unless it was black and you happened to be an Oakland Raiders fan –  and remain aesthetically pleasing. Well I have to pick myself up on that subject. Two subjects actually. The first is that I was wrong. The second is that the Raiders have moved to Las Vegas. Would you believe it, but I have discovered a colour that silver contrasts nicely with. It’s metallic sea blue/green – with a touch of autumnal foliage thrown in to frame the scene. And this is it – right outside my bedroom window…

Well I thought they looked nice anyway. Subtle. Nothing garish. Can’t beat bright red and yellow though.

 

Aesthetics: The Art of Considerate Parking 2

If you’ve read my first Aesthetics; T.A.o.C.P, you’ll know that I like drivers to think about the car beside which they park their own. This is particularly important if said driver drives a brightly coloured car. If, like me, you are burdened with a dull colour – like silver or black – there really isn’t much chance of some pleasant colour co-ordination in your local car park. But those who have – say, a blue car – should never park  beside a red  car because together both vehicles will look like absolute shit.  Always choose the correctly coloured car that will best compliment your own. This is most important: cars are everywhere: clogging up the view at every turn. We really should make them look as nice as we possibly can. Take, for example the owners of this BMW and Ford…

Individually both look quite nice: but together they work in perfect harmony. I don’t know which car was there first; but full marks to the driver that arrived second. Yellow and red: the colours of happiness and joy – and those of the Spanish national flag, which is the most cheerful flag on the planet. So remember, next time you’re parking: think about the car you park beside: you might just make someone’s day.

Wallpaper 556: Juxtaposition: Opposites Attract

In this photo the owners have very kindly parked their vehicles in a most aesthetically pleasing manner. The green Mazda is parked as it always is – nose in beside a complimentary-green bush. The red Hyundai owner has wisely reversed the car in beside the Mazda. This, in itself is nothing remarkable. What is, is the fact that the colours are opposites, and should not appear pleasant to eye. Indeed, had it been a dull, grey day, this would have been a photographic faux pas. But the sun is shining, and both cars are clean. Together they look delightful.  

Aesthetics: The Art of Considerate Parking

When I lived in Spain, I drove a metallic purple Renault Twingo. It was a terrific car, which I enjoyed driving more than any car before or since. One factor of the day-to-day pleasure came in the form of selective parking. That is – deciding which car (in a car park or at the side of the road) to park my car beside. “Ugh?” I hear those readers less concerned with aesthetics (and more into practicality) say in consternation. “Surely it’s best to park closest to where I want to go.” Not so, say I. You should always consider how your car would look beside another. I mean, you wouldn’t want to park a green car beside a red one, would you? Gosh – wouldn’t that clash horribly! Or a black one beside a silver one. Of course you wouldn’t: at least not unless you were an Oakland Raiders fan. Take a look at this picture that I snapped recently in a supermarket car park…

Now that is considerate parking. Either the driver of the yellow car spotted the complimentary shade of the blue car, and duly pulled in beside it: or it was blind chance. I prefer the former theory. When I owned the aforementioned Twingo, I actively sought out parked yellow cars – just so that I could look back and admire the artistic merits of purple and yellow. Fortunately yellow cars are quite popular in Spain. Even more fortunately,  orange cars are not. Imagine that: orange and purple: yuk! Sadly, these days, I drive a dull dark red car, which matches only with white cars – just; and a silver car which matches with nothing at all. When the time comes to replace one of them, I’m going for something more spectacular. A colour scheme that will have aesthetists going out of their way to park their car besides mine!

Automotive Hoarder

My wife decided that it was time for her ancient (and incredibly rattly) Toyota to take the final drive to the scrap yard. Having recently endured an injury that left her temporarily one-handed, she asked me to empty out the rear compartment of the car, prior to its disposal. I expected a couple of shopping bags and (this being Britain) an umbrella or two. What I didn’t expect was…

 

…enough ‘stuff’ to hold our own garage sale! Where did she put the shopping?