Here’s No.2. We had a hoot doing this one, as you’ll see when I post the outtakes videos. Coming soon x
This week, I’ve been mostly attending my first ever Speed Awareness Course for the heinous crime of driving my WMD of a Triumph Herald at the eye-watering speed of 35mph on a country lane just outside Oxford. At 11.02am. I concede that I was in the wrong and deserved to be punished, and was happy to furnish the AA Drivetech team with the princely sum of £97.50 to spend four hours of what is left of my life on the second floor of a municipal building in Penge of a Monday evening, learning exactly why I would be little better than Slobodan Milošević if I persisted in my potentially murderous activities on our highways and byways.
You see, what I had failed to grasp is that behind every hedge, every level crossing, every parked car and post box lurks a suicidal child or pensioner, waiting patiently for that life-altering moment when they can leap in front of your vehicle and be claimed by it. Who knew? And yet the onus is on us, hapless harbingers of assassination, to save them from the fate they are so clearly yearning for. What they don’t tell you, when they hand over the keys just after your sixteenth birthday, is that you have unwittingly become another mobile member of Dignitas. In a country that just says no.
I sat next to Mike and Jeff at the back, making snide remarks to each other as John and Roz took to the floor in their corporate purple and yellow regalia. Intuitively, they countered our resistance to the outlandish fees (in relation to pettiness of offence committed) by diluting it into an hilarious joke we could all understand. Then, to lighten the mood, they showed us a digital representation of the 1991 motorway pile-up that claimed 51 vehicles and 10 lives. Because that’s what’s gonna happen to us, miserable sinners, if we fail to rein in our feckless ways.
Next up, a training film. Meant to serve as a deterrent, it showed a Vauxhall Viva ploughing into a cardboard effigy of a young lady (who had the poor fortune to resemble Posh Spice) at various speeds in a disused airfield. Sadly, this had rather the opposite effect:
“Chosen One: Using your skill and judgement, you must annihilate this monstrous minstrel at a minimum speed of 60mph, for which you shall secure yourself a place in the firmament of eternal paradise (with the statutory seventy-two virgins and whatnot). And if you can nail her at 70mph, we’ll throw in a copy of the Highway Code and a can of Fanta from the vending machine.”
So, what did I learn from it? Well, if I’m honest, not a lot. Maybe to paint out my number plates with that special stuff you can get on the Deep Web. Or simply to put my foot down as I approach a school or care home. It’s the least I can do.
Property prices getting a bit steep for you in that there London? Need to stick your flag into a chunk of affordable real estate almost certain to appreciate wildly over the course of several lifetimes? Well guess what? You’re in luck. The Lunar Registry is currently flogging off tracts of land on the Moon, complete with certificate of ownership, full mineral rights and a framed satellite photograph of your very own galactic Shangri-La for the unrepeatable knockdown price of $18.95 an acre. “What could be greater than to own your own crater?” Indeed.
Tempting though this offer may be, it might also be prudent to point out that many of us will be simultaneously drawn to the more desirable hotspots of our celestial neighbour. For example, the Sea of Vapours is looking pretty tidy: Own front door, excellent transport links, ideal for first time buyer, no onward chain. And unorthodox though it may seem at present, Mare Vaporum is likely to be a strong pull for artistic individuals priced out of the likes of Penge and Peckham Rye, and speculative buyers can therefore realistically expect a robust return on any investment made in advance of the inevitable gentrification process. In short, there’s going to be a bunfight.
Let’s presume I want to snap up a couple of acres in the Lake of Dreams, one of the most sought-after locations for adventurous romantics. Lacus Somniorum has, at best, ill-defined borders and includes the flooded impact craters Mason and Plana to the north. Which basically means I’ll be pitching for the south-facing plots like everyone else. To say nothing of future boundary disputes, riff-raff moving into the neighbourhood and the division of maintenance duties once the conversions start:
“Turns out them next door have discovered a rich seam of anorthite that runs DIRECTLY through my back yard and I’ve only just had the bloody thing moonscaped. I’ll be screwed if I’m going to help those nouveau riche shysters any more than I have already, particularly after they only painted their half of the pod doorway. In orange, for Christ’s sake! So petty! And while we’re at it, the sinkhole’s opened up again and guess who’s mucking out the sulphur deposits? Now, I’m no pedant but it’s basic human decency to keep the communal zones clear. Who else do they think does it? And as for the stink that comes out of their kitchen most nights…”
To be fair, Lacus Somniorum is probably not for me. And that goes for pretty much every must-have bolt-hole on the wretched planet – It will become the East Grinstead of the Solar System before you know it and I haven’t got all that long left. So what to do? I’m thinking Pluto’s looking like a good bet right now, as is the Heliopause and Eris if you can be arsed. Or simply wait for Foxtons to open their first gravity-free bar.