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April 04, 2006

Out of the comfort zone

Went stock car racing at the weekend. Not something I'd normally do. Or ever, in fact; not since I was a little kid anyway.

It was Mrs Flash Pete's idea - you know, get out of comfort zone, do something different. She planned it as a mystery trip but then told us where we were going anyway.

On top of a hill in Staffordshire there is a stock car track. The racing was quite interesting - high speed flat oval, with everything from stripped out beaten up Fiestas to stock rod things with modified bodywork and slick tyres and a lot more power than a normal Corrado, or 206, or whatever.

I have to say, though, that I was distracted from the racing by the audience. A lot of lovely people from the, uh, lower end of the income spectrum. Haircuts ranged from the standard grade one with artistic razor cuts to those obviously born in the Chinese year of the mullet. You can pierce and / or tattoo pretty much anywhere, apparently. I mean, I have a pierced ear that I never bother to wear an earring in, and a tattoo (the LOML has many and two, respectively), but these people took it to a whole new level.

Fashion was largely of the shellsuit variety. That's fine by me, don't think for a second I'm being smug and snobby here. I'm getting to the point.

Coats.

The coat very much of choice - and I mean at least one person in three, of the several hundred who were there - is a padded yellow fluorescent jacket. Some brand new and spotless, some ripped and covered in oil, some with logos, some without. Whole families: Dad, Mum, two preteen daughters, all dressed in yellow fluorescent coats. The covered stand looked like a car park assistants' convention gone bad.

What on earth is the thinking behind this? I guess that like all fashion, it's an inclusive thing. One of a gang. In the know. Acceptance. And in the face of, let's face it, looking stupid. Much like many fashions, in fact. Remember the Bay City Rollers fans' tartan scarf round the wrist thing? Et cetera, et cetera. Mmmm. Prosecution rests, M'lud.

I suppose it must have started by people trying to look like the marshals, you know, makes them feel important, part of the in-crowd, I-know-what-I'm-doing sort of feeling. But once everyone starts doing it, what's the fun? How do you get more inclusive than imitating a race marshall? How can you be even more aspirational than that?

I think I saw how. The shape of the future; the next fashion trend. There was a chap there - a man mind, not some kid - in the very next clothing trend. He was just watching, not participating in any way. I emphasize this - he was just sitting in the crowd. Eating burgers and drinking coke. And it was a bit big for him to be honest - the trousers were rolled up a bit to keep them out of the mud, and it was a bit baggy. But he had worn it, deliberately, by choice, knowing that people would see him in it, and assuming they would be impressed by him. Get me, he thought, look at me and be in awe of what I am.

A bright red, fully logo-ed, all in one set of official racing driver's overalls. Just to sit and watch in. Like we were going to go 'Oooh, look, there's one of the drivers: bet he's got a knackered Granada banger car, let's get his autograph, come on'.

Perhaps it was for a bet, eh. Shall we give him the benefit of the doubt? No? Oh, all right then.

What a twat.

7 Comments:

  • Hmmmm. I liked this bit the best:

    "That's fine by me, don't think for a second I'm being smug and snobby here. I'm getting to the point."

    I'll write no more. . .*

    ;-)

    (did you not get to race a stock car then? might it be the rural equivalent of chasing bulls thru narrow streets?)

    *WV: so-says-Ms-Smug-'n'-Snobby-herself

    By Blogger I, like the view, at 4:33 pm  

  • he he! **trying to stop herself from falling off the chair!!**

    By Blogger Moo, at 7:51 pm  

  • fabulous.

    i used to marshal grasstrack and it wasn't glamorous at all, you know. all that dust in your teeth, and the near-death experiences...ooh! look at me, showing off! i had a hi-viz vest, you know...

    By Blogger surly girl, at 8:51 am  

  • ... and I worked as a marshal at a kart track while I was a student. Less near-death, more near-arrest for punching a fat yuppie in the face for ignoring all the safety warnings in his frothing competitive frenzy.

    I didn't have a high viz vest though. I did have overalls. And a variety of flags.

    By Blogger crisiswhatcrisis, at 9:28 am  

  • oh, flags. pfft. i had flags....

    By Blogger surly girl, at 10:21 am  

  • Having been stock car racing just the once, I'd put it up there with shopping at Asda for giving your self-confidence a shot in the arm and making you feel good about yourself.

    *written in an ever-so snobby and superior way*

    By Anonymous Mr Angry, at 11:15 am  

  • *sigh*

    I'd better admit it, hadn't I?

    I felt out of place. I am middle class. They were all fucking pikey chavs.

    *written in a deliberately snobby and very superior way*

    By Blogger crisiswhatcrisis, at 11:13 am  

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