Sunday, 9 May 2010



If you're like me, the sort of person who combines farming and  helping people and  modestly curing drug addicts with saving the planet and somehow managing to do it all on TeeVee or in lavish, glossy books with sometimes literally thousands of pictures of myself,  showing me in my carefully battered, old, woollen and corduroy clothes, caring about what I do, then like me, you, too, will have a staff of gardeners, provided by the BBC, who  devise all the plans, do all the work, make sure all the crops are perfect, leaving me to do the really important, caring pieces to camera. It is a great life, being winsome,  environmentally responsible and standing in the flower beds surrounded by  lights, cameramen and sound recordists and producers and script and make-up people.  My very good friend, Mr Ishmael, isn't like me at all, has no staff and no production team, not even an agent, his walled  Mayday garden, therefore, is rather a disappointment; Mr Ishmael, though, unlike me, is not barking mad, suffering, as I do from juvenilus depressionitis imaginare........ or as they say down the allotment, acting like a cunt.




Hurry up and do what the bankers tell you.
That's what they all say.


You might think this was the back of a  new Mercedes, of which, thanks to you, I own several million pounds' worth, maybe a new E Class.


It's not an E Class, or an S Class, or an SLK. It's not really a car at all, more like a disposable rickshaw, the kind of thing those clever people in Stuttgart design for people who worry about the price of petrol. And. Since you lot pay for all mine. I couldn't give a flying fuck. Not even  if it was over six quid a gallon. Which. A voice in my ear is saying. It is. It is. In fact. The most expensive petrol. In the world. And up at the top of Scotland. The best part of England. It is dearer. Than anywhere else. In the world.

And so, car lovers, these  glorified lawn mowers  are,in fact, THE CARS OF THE FUTURE.
This one is the top of what they call the range. Boasting a whole one litre of power  and with a top speed of ninety miles an hour this is the SMART Passion cabriolet automatic.

With a five  speed  automatic box you can just shove it in forward and wend your merry way to Killicrankie or the Gorbals or somewhere else in Scotland. Or, if like me, you are a real man,  you can change gears for yourself via the paddles on the steering wheel.  It has satnav, aircon, bluetooth and a neat,  powered fully  retractable roof; comprehensive instruments give you all the information. In the world.  It is not so much a tiny four seater as a very large two seater, with very comfortable seats, massive headroom and lots of space in the back for your blogdog, Buster, if you have one. It is, in fact, everything you would expect from Mercedes. Except that it's not a car. Or not a real one. What they have done is demystify the whole car experience. This is just a vehicle, no attempt at phallic symbolism for the mentally unstable who believe in a gentleman's right to run people over. Like yours truly. No attempt here to replicate a gentleman's club, no leather, no fake walnut, just cheap,   brilliantly designed, lightweight components  and revolutionary engineering. It's also fun. And   returns seventy to the gallon. And that's what I call Top Gear. Next week in Cheap Cunts in a Cheap Car, my guests will be Ron Wood and Bill Wyman or some other nonces for you to cheer at; we'll be throwing a Maserati, a Ferrari and a Bugatti  off a high building and the studio audience will be clapping like backward seals. Which is. What they are.



Buy my books, advertised freely in the 'paper, yours for full price, until they are remaindered ( next week)


Well, readers, I have had, as you know, a special sort of life, gossiping and scribbling and lying  and drinking and doing smugs, I mean drugs,  with important people and never doing a proper day's work in my fat greedy gabshite life. Thanks to my exclusive access to the Wankers' Club, I can exclusively reveal what the prime minister is thinking.  It is a very crucial moment for the nation as it awaits my next book of very heavyweight gossip and tittle tattle, and as this exrract reveals, the prime minister is at last taking me seriously.

From; Buy my Books by Andrew Gobsley, all rights reserved.


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I'm still here, with my young family, what's left of it, getting on with doing the right thing for the country. You know, as I travelled around the country meeting strange ordinary bigoted old people, I couldn't help but think that it was my duty to carry on here, forever, and I think that's what they wanted, too, which is why so many of them voted for me.  A vote for Mr Cameron, you know,  is, actually,  a vote for me, so not only do I have all the votes cast for me but also all the votes cast for Mr Cameron, which makes me prime minister.  Rather than not having won an election, I have, in fact, won two elections. Mr Cameron's and my own. Three, if you count Mr Clegg's, so that's as many as Tony got. And I won them all at once.

You know, I have a very real job to do for people and they wouldn't want me to stop doing it. Tax credits, minimum wage, wars, plagues, burning all the money, giving the gold away to Mr Red Braces,  surveillance, intrusion, police killings, wars, torture, tax credits, minimum wage, unemployment, homelessness,  wars, these things don't happen by accident and so I am prepared to work with Mr Cameron, with me as prime minister, of course, until we get the job done.  A government of National Ruin,  that's the thing.  If we bury our political differences and all concentrate, Mr Clegg, too, we should be able to raze the country to the ground. And lets face it, that's what we're all good at.

And, Look,  you know, as we celebrate VD Day, with our German allies - Frau An-gula Meerkat - and may I say things would have been very different in the war  if I had been prime minister, this is proof of what we can achieve working together, with me in charge of everything because only I know how everything works . And how to break it. Vote Tory for a Labour Government.


mrs narcolept said...

Lovely garden, and sea, and Buster!

He wrote a book, Mr Monty did, about being depressed after his jewellery business collapsed and how gardening helped him through it. Admittedly I am easily convinced, but he seemed less insufferable on paper than he appears to be on the telly.

I do want one of those tiny cars, but my dear mr narcolept says it would be a death trap (which apparently the back of a motorbike or a three hundred year old Landrover with bits of door missing is not) and refuses to make room for one.

lilith said...

Gorgeous pics Mr Smith.

mongoose said...

It's a pretty spot, Mr Ishmael, if a wild and chilly one. Lucky you.

call me ishmael said...

Just avoid the Jock regions, mr m, and Scotland really is the best part of England.

Monty writes good Guardian, it's true, but the Guardian stopped guarding anything years ago and is now just conscientious consumer chic, arseholes, they endorsed this prat Clegg and his shower of pompous hypocrite degenerates - anybody seen that ladyman, Hughes, lecturing the nation on the constitution? Jesus wept. A gvernment emerging from the cottages of Westminster.

If Robert Persig, the author of Zen in the Art of Motor Cycle Maintainance, were to have designed a car, mrs n, the Smart car would have been it; get Mr narcolept along to the Smart website and watch the video.

For over twenty years I have been loyal to the motto Three litres good, Two litres bad but I simply cannot afford the fuel any longer, fuel inflation - CH oil, gas, electric and petrol - is monstrous. Only got this yesterday, will keep you posted. Been a chilly spring, Lilith, better days to come, maybe.

PT Barnum said...

Geoff Hamilton (mourn his passing) taught me almost everything I know about the art of compost which is almost the best part of gardening. Monty Don taught me only that fads and fashions and mirrors in gardening are for fools.

Cultivating our gardens is almost all that is left of our ancient British culture. Good thing it's pretty much free.

Buster looks pretty damn good, Mr I. Long may he pootle in the garden.

Anonymous said...

we'll be throwing a Maserati, a Ferrari and a Bugatti off a high building" To make this bit of teevee much more entertaining please strap this fuckwit and his 2 mates in when they do. Think yourself lucky that your motor was designed in Japan and not by the British motor industry when there was one. I am trying to imagine what it would be like if the thing was designed by BLMC and made by Red Robbo's mates on a Friday afternoon. Probably weigh about a ton and a hole in the floor to stick your leg through as an aid to reversing as they forgot to install a reverse gear. It would be assembled by people with a bad attitude using the latest technology i.e. hammers and chisels. The last time I was in the UK a friend told me that the permed twat did a show on cars that were"fanny magnets" on the BBC, the license fee is worth every penny if this is the quality to get.

richard said...

Smart cars are good.There is much fun to be had from small vehicles, my Hillman Imp was nice and I've done a bit of slow Highland touring on a C90. It's not too difficult to imagine a Brit version, mr Anon, since it was the Mini. It wasn't a lemon. More like. A tangerine.
Nice garden, seascape, and tiny doggy.

Anonymous said...

a Brit version, mr Anon, since it was the Mini.' Did yours let water in when it rained, did the battery fall on the road when the box corroded, did you ever try and put a fan belt on one? British engineering at its best makes me go all misty eyed for the Morris traveller built in the finest Bristish style, a half timbered car to park in the drive of your half timbered house except when the front wheels didn't fall off.

richard said...

I certainly didn't have to change the timing belt! Daft argument, though. Of course a Mini isn't as good engineering as a Smart, but thats' because engineering evolves. Sir Alex had the materials of the day., No plastics, alloys or computers, but iron, steel and lines of workers. Nothing much better could have been built half a century ago. You may as well laugh at Louis Bleriot for not crossing the channel in a Piper Cub.

mongoose said...

The only car I've ever had that the front wheels fell off err, of was a Yankee/French fiasco.

I quite like the idea of a Smart car - given that I mostly just drive the three miles to a railway station in order to go to London to be lectured by red-braced thugs. I wouldn't want to crash one though.

richard said...

The Smart gets a good, in fact very good, write-up for crash protection. But for a 3 mile commute I'd conside a scooter, mine does 120mpg, 50 knots with a tailwind, tax is £15. Not good in the winter, it brings down the Chalfonts, but otherwise fun and cheap and quick through traffic.

call me ishmael said...

I won't mention the T-word to mr buster, the blogdog, he is sensitive about his size, which is why,as a younger dog, he used to bite those who looked at him askance.

Funny, at this time of constitutional uncertainty, that we fix on the wee car as a subject of comment.

Mr Richard's is an interesting and largely incontrovertible point about the evolution of engineering but I do think that on the early mini - or Austin Seven as my used model was - the location of the distributor cap and its shorting nakedness to the elements was a piece of stupidity and not a lack of development, and that such failures were deemed acceptable among a non-discerning market.

Older readers may remember the dawn chorus of Ford starter motors -on Anglias and Cortinas - grinding and chattering as the Bendix drive failed to engage with the flywheel, eventually draining the battery. Having become so adept at changing starter motors that I could have been an Olympian, I phoned Ford one morning. Good morning Mr Ishmael and Cor Blimey and I shouldn't be telling you this but it is the blooming bell housing and please not to be telling anyone I told you so, the bell housing you see, the holes into which you are bolting the starting motor are a few thousandths out of true, and so the Bendix drive, when it is going down the shaft and meshing with the teeth of the blooming flywheel to turn over the engine are not quite meshing as they should and so the teeth wear out quite quickly resulting in their complete failure to engage and the most unpleasant and alarming sound which you so accurately describe to me, Cor Blimey, and the huge profits of the starter motor manufacturers.

What, all of them, all the bell housings? ON all the Cortinas?

My dear Mr Ishmael, I am not lying to you. But I have a remedy, what you must do, next time, is not crawl about under the car and getting your bellbottom jans and tanktop all filthy and your knuckles all scratched but instead, get yourself a wedge of a hardwood, oak or some other bloody thing and a good hammer and drive the wedge down between bloddy starter motor and the bloody crankcase, this will throw the aligment of the Bendix drive over enough for it to mesh tightly but please not to be telling any other bastard that I told you this; well, it did and I haven't, up until now.

Ford were quite happy to market this flawed engine and let the consumer deal with the consequences. And in our thousands we did.

I recently scrapped my favourite Volvo - a vee-six 2.8 auto 760 GLE estate, in which I had driven a quarter of a million miles, without ever even thinking about the starter motor.

Anonymous said...

lines of workers" At BLMC? Where were they" I used to do contact work there neve saw a lot of workers. Do you know why cars were so expensive in the UK? The fact is that if Ford, Vauxhall sold ther motors at a reasonable price it would be "unfair competition" to the state run outfit. Now perhaps you might like to tell us just how good Land Rover was only been making them since 1947 you can't rush into these things you know. Only time they started to improve was when BMW put a 5 cylinder diesel in them. Remember the UK was the first country to industrialise and the last country to modernise. Believe me I saw it evey day, can't understand why the motorbile industry went down the tubes couldn't possibly be the Japanese selling bikes that didn't breakdown at least once a week could it?

mongoose said...

We dare not look any longer at the politics, Mr Ishmael. Perhaps if we ignore them, they will go away.

My brother had an MGB in the Seventies. He phoned me one day from a phonebox (no mobiles then) and said that the car wouldn't go, the engine would, but that there was a banging sound at the back. I turned up and the propshaft was hanging down having parted and had ripped the central support away as he revved the poor fucking thing. Mind, he drove, still does, like an imbecile, completely immune to the appalling growls and shrieks of pain that his various motors emit. Shouldn't be allowed to have even a scooter, Mr Richard, and I take it that you jest.

call me ishmael said...

I had an MGB and a Sprite and a Spitfire and a Bond Equipe and a Triumph Vitesse and Oh, fuck me, I forget the rest of them but the Smartcar, for the reasons mr richard states, alloys and computers and plastics, and the advances on mr anonymous's hammers and chisels (actually toolsetters' and fitters' and capstan operators' things) would blow them all off the road, in greater comfort and with greater safety and reliability. Cars have got better, no denying it.

Anonymous said...

The reason they have got better amongst other things is the demise of capstan lathes setters (men set them up women did the operating)and the introduction of CAD CAM. Before I saw the error of my ways and got out of engineering I had a business employing highly skilled and highly paid machine tool fitters, an extinct breed now. One machine we installed was a Yamazaki tool centre small one, but carried 60 different tools in a magazine and machined to a couple of tenhths of a thou all day and all night never broke down unlike the cars I had. The commisioning engineer told us that one was installed not far from this one and 20 people were made redundantas it was that fast and good. The operator's job more or less was to load it with parts and take them off after it had machined them. This is one of the reasons you don't see "running in please pass" on the rear windows of cars anymore as the machining tolerences are that good these days making the hammer and chisel brigade with a bad attitude obsolete. Think yourself lucky you never had one built on Poets day (piss off early tommorows Saturday)I also have been on the recieving end of the British car industry when there was one, heaters, screen washers and radios an optional extra in the tool kit you needed a set of jump leads and a tow rope, heaters I ask you in the UK where in winter it has been known to snow. I can remember Honda taking out ads in the papers saying its not all done on a bowl of rice a day just before the Triumph factory in Meriden became a housing estate. Now if we could see what was happening why couldn't the great and good? Norman and lady Docker have been talked about here before and how he fucked BSA and when he got the heave ho for being extravagant with someone elses money so he could soend more time with his yacht in France he sent 10,000 telegrams saying he wasn't.As bad as it was I am sad that a once great manufacturing nation is reduced to sitting infront of a wide screen tv made here in the far east watching crap instead of making things that people want.

call me ishmael said...

Good stuff, mr anonymous. I come at it from a different angle which I heard Norman Mailer articulate a while back. This is what's wrong with kids, he said, tapping on the table, everything's plastic, everything they touch, nothing in their homes is wooden, organic..... they are just not connected to the natural world.

I've worked with wood for some years, now, neither joiner nor craftsman certainly not a cabinet maker and most of the tools I use are powered, as many as I can afford because I have worn my hands out, polishing, planing, anding and scewing but there is nothing compares to sharpening a plane blade, putting a piece of timber in the vice, sliding the plane along and watching that shaving curl up on itself, wondering Who dreamed this up, thousands of years ago, this clever shit, this arrangement of blade and aperture and foot and handle, why is it that one way it planes easily and another way it doesn't, where does this old plank of mahogany come from, this dismantled Georgian table top, how old was it in South America when it was felled and shipped and dried and sawn and planed, five hundred years, a thousand, is there anyone else in the world who respects this lump of wood as I do. And, best of all, is to sweep-up the shavings and throw them on the fire, see that stored-up sunshine flare and explode, brighter, for a second, than Life.

Magic, that's what it is, Creation.

mongoose said...

The trouble with woodworking, Mr Ishmael, is that every now and again a "project" turns itself into kindling. I must be insane but I am about to build bookcases up the stairs. The stairs themselves are almost regular but the walls are like Mr McBroonACoupDEtatBeforeYourVeryEyes - as bent as a nine bob wotsit. It will probably all end on the fire.

How come that a man such as yourself cannot even light the Aga (or Rayburn or whatever) when he must be copiously supplied with ancient and dry wood-shavings. How incompetent are you fire-lighters up there?

call me ishmael said...

We have a saying, mr mongose, in the trade: the man who never made a mistake never made anything. Stain and polish some ply or blockboard to the desired end finish and batten to the irregular surfaces and build onto them, for a better finish just fix thin tongue and groove to the battens and use them as backboards to the finished shelves, anchoring the shelves to the strongest points in the battening, or directly into the walls.

It's not a lack of combustibles but a ten metre triple chimney which grieves me so, I will untangle myself, just a matter of motivation and I'll sort it once and for all, bastard thing.

mongoose said...

Trouble is, Mr Ishmael, that some of the battens would be near five inches deep and I'd have to sit here on my sofa looking at the great awful end face of the bugger. Build anything square in this house and it looks like an Ikea showroom in the middle of Hampton Court. A backboard would however stop the gale of a draught which blows from there.

Anonymous said...

Made my day, the permed twat has lost an appeal over footpaths on his, get this, holiday home a fucking lighthouse on the Isle of Man. His fragrant wife is livid I am pleased to say she complained that "people were looking at them" din't seem to bother her too much when they were doing photo opportunities. Never mind Jezza screw a bit more money out of the BBC and you can buy your own planet to fuck off to with the wife and kids. Its about the new government in the UK got its priorities in order. Never mind the sink estates with no work or hope, teenage pregnacies(highest in the world, another first)hardly any manufacturing base left, skilled men as common as a pork chop in a Mosque, got a spare week? but you get the idea.What they should be doing is concentrating on minor celebrities privacy can you imagine what it is like to be looked at by fucking plebs? Urrgh

call me ishmael said...

Gash, mr anonymous, that was from the heart.

Rave on, take all the space you want.