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Pablo Picaro January 13, 2006

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.

So there I am, over at Wynders’s gaff, having a bit of a pre-dinner mosey, and I click on this link from this entry and my attention suddenly, surreptitiously, and by the mystery of unintentional clicks, finally ended up being snared by this little tale of stunning arrogance and conceit.

Now I can well understand the Picasso clan wanting to protect the family name and only have cars called the Citroen Picasso darting niftily round Paris and other glamorous locations. Aber to try to stop other manufacturers from using quite a different word altogether… well, that’s just a touch wank, isn’t it? It’s not as if Daimler Chrysler wanted to call their car the Picasso. They wanted to call it the Picaro. Quite another noise altogether. Which makes me think the Picasso clan might just be suffering from a slight overdose of haughtiness to have taken Daimler Chrysler to court (and lost, and then lost the three appeals). I hope Monet’s heirs and descendants are on to Ford to have the Mondeo renamed and that the van Goghs are making sure all those Vauxhall Vivas are taken off the road with immediate effect. Actually, even Vauxhall sounds a bit like van Gogh. And now you – or, rather, I – come to mention it, even the word ‘car’ sounds a bit like Caravaggio. Is there no end to this exploitation of artists (whose names have already been sold by their estate)?

Anyway, back to Wynders and that car. Unless it’s the drink typing, I’ve got a feeling, somewhere in the comments to that post, folk said you’d never be able to sleep – or something like that – worrying that the bastard would be nicked. Which leads me beautifully into a little story. Many years ago – well, 1992 – I was living in the lap of luxury – not – in good ol’ Kentish Town. The ex – excuse the frequent mentions. He’s still a majorly good pal – had a job to do with cars, meaning he often came home to our hovel with a brand, spanking new motor. This was all well and good, and as we were young and poor, we’d revel in the chance to go out for a bit of a spin. But one evening, the ex was given an Aston Martin to drive home in. And we weren’t in the posh bit of Kentish Town. No, we were in the majorly dodgy, bloody ugly, quadruple-buggy part of town. Living above a betting shop. (Oh the glamour.) We had even expressed an interest to our landlady in buying her flat and had had it valued and knew – those were the days – that it was 30-something grand. And the Aston Martin – dunno what type. Sorry – was valued at 140 grand. Which means, just as Wynders’s commenters rightly suspected, we were frantic with worry and spent half the night getting up to check if it was still there. And, of course, it was, and no ill befell it at all. (Although we were called wankers as we took it for a spin by random folk, even in Hampstead!)

The ex likes to recount tales – I think apocryphal – of how I became so inured to luxury that I would sometimes sneer out the window from above the Kentish Town betting shop and say, “I’m not getting in that,” if he drove home in, say, a Lexus. My brain is too wine-addled to come down on either side regarding the truth of these allegations. But, amusingly, almost, the only cars that did get broken into as they sat nicely outside the hovel were utter pieces of shit. Cor blimey. They knew their place, those thieves, back in the early 1990s.

Anyway, as classy as I think the Aston is, I think my heart would still take me to one of these little beauties. Home is where the heart is…
(Photo taken from Jordi Gaya-Gallofré.)



1. I hate my neighbours - January 13, 2006

No trabants in New Zealand…

2. Wyndham the Triffid - January 13, 2006

And none in Kentish Town, as far as I know. Nice to hear you were a fellow resident of KT once upon a time – moved up in the world, ain’t ya.

3. Anonymous - January 14, 2006

IHMN – are you sure? Check out

4. I hate my neighbours - January 14, 2006

Ok. I suppose it’s possible. And none in Kentish Town? I once saw one in Dagenham (until today, I thought my tendency to pronounce it ‘Dagnam’ was just the result of my born-and-bred sloven tongue – but a quick look in the Duden ‘Aussprachewörterbuch’ while bored this afternoon proves I can in fact speak the place I was supposedly born in (I write it on forms, no idea what my birth certificate says) properly. The second question is “why is Dagenham listed in the international phonetic alphabet in a German guide to correct speaking?”.)

It was in about 1994 at ‘The Bull Roundabout’. And my 6th-form politics teacher drove a green Wartburg. Ok, it was a Skoda Super Estelle, but it’s the same.

If I can’t get a Trabi, a Polski Fiat (126), a Lada, a Zil, or a 2cv, if I ever become rich enough to get a car, I think I’d like an Invacar.

5. BiB - January 14, 2006

I love Invacars too. There’s a German equivalent on this street and I’m always stunned by its marvellous simplicity and have to have a loving linger by it every time I pass.

I am reliably informed that the Aston Martin was a “brand-new V8 Virage Volante (registration number AM V8). At the time (1993) it cost 147,000 Sterling.” Too queer. But I’m sure it was a very nice car. And well worth the money. Just not mine.

Wynders, you remind me again that I need to get a raging, heated Berlin v London debate going one day. I don’t know if Kentish Town to Berlin is a step up. Economically, it’s certainly a step down, but, oddly, because of the queerness of grown-uppery, I suppose the living standard here is higher. Students can live pretty stylishly in Berlin, zum Beispiel. I remember Norwegian guests to our KT penthouse (above the betting shop) were HORRIFIED – yes, in capitals – that we paid a million pounds a second, or whatever the rent was then, when we could have owned much of Norwegian Lappland for a similar price. But London is clearly worth the sacrifice, if the 8 million – is that the pop. these days? – are to be believed.

6. I hate my neighbours - January 15, 2006

Invacars are unfortunately illegal in Britain these days. And as they all belonged to the government (on loan to the invalids), they almost all got scrapped for being “very bloody dangerous” in about 2001.

Invacars, if they came from the east (and I don’t mean Norfolk), would be the kind of thing to appear in all “DDR:Marke Eigenbau” exhibitions. And not only because of that Trabi-cyan colour – the “carriages” were first made from a moped with a broomstick with some handles on it attached to the pedals, I think. There are certainly internet sites on this.

7. I hate my neighbours - January 15, 2006

What’s the German equivalent of an Invacar by the way? I’ve only ever seen Fiat Pandas with speed limiters (25 km/h) and sometimes sliding side doors.

8. BerlinBear - January 16, 2006

Two things: 1) @ihmn The answer to your second question is that Dagenham is in the Duden Aussprachewörterbuch exactöy *because* it’s pronounced Dagnam, and not Deg-en-ham as Americans and Germans would expect to look at it. were it pronounced as it is wrote, it would never have made the cut.

And 2) @BiB: It is rumoured that the Mitsubishi Starion was *supposed* to be the Mitsubishi Stallion, but some poor Japanese marketing guru misheard/mispronounced/miswrote. That may be apocryphal, though I have heard it from several sources.

9. leon - January 16, 2006

There is only one Eastern European car I’d seriously consider owning, and that is the .

Having said that I’d probably settle for a Wartburg.

10. leon - January 16, 2006

Well, it looked fine on the preview. “Tatra T603”, that was meant to say.

11. daggi - January 18, 2006

Blog spam?
Have fun in New Zealand. You’re probably still on a plane as I type, though, surely?

12. BiB - February 2, 2006

Blog spam indeed! I’ll soon delete those though!

13. Sport, cars and the DDR « BiB - November 21, 2006

[…] Aber, while I’m on, and while we’re on cars, IHMN did once declare, where I declared a Trabiliebe that she – if indeed she is a she; it’s all a bit of a mystery, the IHMN-Identität – was a fan of the […]

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