History of Formula 1 and I

A niche piece this, but I am sure relatable to others passion’s ebb and flow,
whether music, sport or hobby.


When I was around thirteen years old I would catch glimpses of the Monaco Grand Prix. Monstrous cars would carve their way around the tiny streets of Monte Carlo. In days of old they would have nothing but a hay bale or two between the driver and the ocean, many plunging into the harbour, a stark turn of events at the end of a crash. Next the cars were penned in with barriers, new technology brought the drivers view to the television screen. The barriers zinged past your eyes at one hundred miles per hour and more, and there was the bluster and screaming of the highly tuned, high revving one thousand horse power engines as the driver changed up and down the gearbox in rapid movement, while wrestling the wheel trying to tame the four wheeled beast around him. This is the Formula 1 racing I started with. The fire breathing monsters.
Then there were the drivers, not shackled by political correctness, full of character and full of emotion. Often there would be laughing and joking, then wild gestures or even fights breaking out in the sand traps, when disagreement in blame boiled over.
Just as the grand prix racing was getting more regular in my life, a young Brazilian driver named Ayrton Senna arrived, a clearly gifted driver, he would pull pace from a car that had no right of having any. He would embarrass many a highly funded veteran while driving only his crapbox Toleman, a middling team at best. Also he was a quirky character, with much charisma despite his geeky appearance.
I watched Ayrton rise through the teams, eventually getting to McLaren, the cream of the crop at that time. The Honda engines would power that car to dominant wins, and carry Ayrton to three championships. I would cheer for Ayrton, as my workmate would cheer for his rival, the Englishman Mansell. My support of the foreign driver a mystery to him.
Then came a new challenge for Ayrton, a new car and also a new driver on the block, a young man named Schumacher from Germany, who I kept a close eye on, clearly he had an extra something when he arrived, as with Ayrton before, the car would carry more speed than his team mate in identical machinery. Ayrton was struggling with his new team, Williams were on the cusp of being fast but the car was recalcitrant, and at Imola in Italy, tragically the car’s frailties cost him his life. I remember shedding many tears when my hero passed, for many days I was in disbelief.
But life lumbers on, caring little for those that pass. Yet lessons were learned, and cars were made safer, as were the circuits.
Technology moved on too, as Schumacher exerted his strength, cars were being laden with easier gearboxes, merely pull a lever without moving your hands from the wheel, engines were homogenised. No longer would there be the variety in the engines tune, all sang a similar song, yet this song was tooth rattlingly loud. Having missed the era of Ayrton Senna, I started to attend formula 1 races. I was immediately struck by the brutality of these machines in real life, what was numbed on television, became crisp and clear, every shuffle of the tyre across the tarmac and every pop and crackle of the engine came to my senses vividly, a highly visceral experience.
Again I was on the opposite side of my workmates support. The Englishman now being Hill vs the German Schumacher. You can imagine the reception a partisan nationalistic English crowd gives a dominating German.
Schumacher too moved up through the teams and eventually hit the highs in the most beautiful of cars, the Ferrari, he won a frankly ridiculous seven world championships. Then as all do, his production declined and others arrived. But there was no driver that hooked me again, no budding spark caught my eye, perhaps the media brush had painted them too similarly.
The cars engines began to shrink, no longer did they howl, no longer did they bark, they simply farted and whined. Rules changed, and the engineers got too clever at their game. The race now predicted on computer, they tell the driver how to drive, when to stop, when to wipe his arse. All so planned and predictable. Now the engines shrink once again, using electricity and all manner of technology that brings little but sleep. The racing too, there is little, one team is fastest, and they will win, every race, every weekend. So with the neutered cars, the dominant team, the love for this sport, falls like sand through my fingers.


Why is a raven like a writing-desk?

“Why is a raven like a writing-desk?” the Mad Hatter asked.
Hmmm.. Perhaps they are both objects to project our imagination. We project our fears upon our paper, as we project them upon the raven, raven nor writing desk have the faintest idea we are doing so.


I woke up tired, he got upset about that, so I got upset and sat him with tired to console each-other, If I get angry it wouldn’t help as he gets abusive then tired, but it’s always good to get happy as he always has good stories to tell.


The seagulls are drunk and singing again,
late at night and early morning.
At the top of their voice they sing out of tune,
perhaps in their drunken mind they are singing angelic tunes,
but they do grate on a sober tired mind.
Go back out to sea feathered sailers,
go out there and sober up.


So I was out walking around London naked, just to see what it was like. I read that it was quite freeing. It is a nice day, so why not? Surprisingly not many folks give me a second glance, there are a few giggles and surprised eyes, I am not well equipped for this to be some sort of display, this is entirely for me. The gentle breeze that would tickle my face, tickles me entirely. In not much time at all I forget of embarrassment and feel the benefit I read of, the great equaliser. I watch the boats and watch the buskers, my only worry is the hot pavement beneath my naked feet, but I find some shade and all is fine again. In the distance some pointing, some uniforms, I forgetfully look behind me. I think do I stay, go greet or flee. I decide I am no harm naked, I stay and wonder what is next.



Idle thoughts

Flying Matador

While  admiring  the  pole  vaulter  at  the  athletics  meet,  I  am  reminded  of  the  writing  of  Hemingway.  Of  the  Matador  and  the  bull.  The  elegance,  the  artistry,  the  strength  and  the  bravery.  The  vaulter  holding  the  lance,  the  bar  is  the  bull.  She  survives  for  the  next  round  being  close,  but  not  touching  the  bar.  Stretching  and  prancing,  holding  the  lance  high  up  over  her  head,  she  is  up  on  her  toes  rehearses  her  expressions,  twisting  in  immaculate  form.  The  moment  of  bravery  and  strength  as  she  commits  to  stick  the  lance  and  glide  high  into  the  air,  lithe  and  liquid  she  pours  across  as  a  cape,  teasing  the  bar  as  she  passes.


Sitting in the classroom, double maths, some sort of torture of a thing to happen on a monday morning. Numbers confuse me and no amount of thought is making them any friendlier, I stare blankly at the problems lying on my desk. Many in the class seem to be having similar issues, the teacher is explaining the formula once again in impatient tone. Fraser the school lunatic is loudly airing his distaste for this class, learning and the school in general. Some of the class laugh, antagonising the wrought teacher some more. So the teacher tells Fraser to shut up, which doesn’t go down well with Fraser at all, in fact he tells the teacher to fuck off, a mixture of laughter and embarrassed silence permeates the room, and the teacher attempts to remove Fraser from the class. In a fit of kicking and swearing he is cajoled shoved and carried out of the classroom. In their absence the class turns to chatter on the events unfolding. My mind wanders and I stare out of the window. I imagine the Millennium Falcon landing on the playing fields.


Gravity tripped me once again, so I cursed at it once more, damn you pulling me to trip on nothing but a rug on the floor. The very next day I tripped on a paving slab, poorly laid on the crooked path, no fall was felt at all, quite the reverse as I drifted off the earth. I felt queazy at first, then joyful, as dream arrived and gravity let loose it’s grip. Now above the trees and above the roofs I continue to float on up. The joy felt now fading fast as my rise is unabated, streets now thin as cotton and the buildings just scattered crumbs. The clouds tickle my ears and the air too thin for my lungs, I ask for gravity’s forgiveness, but he is not yet done. The clouds fall from my feet, elation briefly reappears, as our beautiful marble gently tumbles under me, last breath, then I disappear.



Out walking in London town on a beautiful summers day, many folks out enjoying the weather, and many buskers enjoying the folks, there are varying talents, some drumming, some playing the guitar and singing, others have no talent, but still need the money, so simply ask. Then there are the surviving gypsies selling lucky heather, who knows if these are gypsies or if it’s just their shtick.
An old gypsy woman offers me some heather, and I refuse, she looks annoyed at this rebuff and says some words in strong accent I do not pick up on, so I say ‘Ok I’ll take the heather’, she tucks it into the pocket of my shirt, it curls out over the hem to say ‘sucker here’, I thank her, give her a pound coin then turn away and head across the bridge.
London is mostly cabs, buses and bikes now, all other traffic scared away through lack of parking and congestion charges. I stop and look to the river, many boats are bustling up and down, the wheel in the distance carries tourists high over the river, my mind wanders, I step to cross the road, a bus bears down on me at a vast rate of knots, before I gather my thoughts a cab has taken a chance and cut across the bus, the bus smashing into the side of it, halting its progress to this dazed fool. Damn, bet that cabbie wished he had some heather.


Strictly speaking the rose has a prickle and not a thorn
but thorn sat more comfortably when romance was born
passion, caress, desire, temptation and others besides
they sat in gilded self importance when prickle arrived
he snuck in the room all quiet to chance
but they gave prickle a sideways glance,
saying ‘Off to the silly room with wiggle
and pumpkin and pickled underpants,
you have no place in our room of romance.’


I have never understood the culture of the dare, perfectly reasonable people will do all sorts of stupid things through just the provocation of three innocuous words, ‘I dare you’, somehow believing that whatever is said must be carried out, some mystic power may otherwise catch up with them for not for filling the dare. Jump here, eat this, poke that, all things the darer dare not do themselves. I found a way to break the spell with two magic words of my own, fuck off.


Driving along the motorway
I spot movement
a wing flapping in the corner of my eye
life on this endless dreary grey tarmac
but no,
the bird is crushed in to the road
the wing’s flaps are only
at the will of the wind.



A pale silhouetted form hangs in the corner of my room, she is giving me chills, this woman, she stares impassively to the wall, long dress, long hair. I close my eyes and open them again, and she hangs there still, I approach but the cold is too much, I retreat to my chair and sit. How long has she been here, how long is she staying?


Driving in an old car, I expected some rattles and bangs, the odd gearbox whine or squeak. But what I didn’t expect was ghostly back seat driving, criticism of my driving from the beyond. “Your going the wrong way” he says, “We should have turned left back there at the arcade”. How does he think he knows where I’m going anyway? and he didn’t even die in this car he’s haunting, he’s wearing a noose, he was hung from a tree. He just got some weird attachment to this car, as I did, obviously, otherwise why would I put up with this every journey? “Have you checked the tyre pressures? the ride feels funny, slow down you’ll wear the bushings”. Sometimes I think to sell, but who else would take him for drives?


Sometimes it takes very little to cajole our own fear to rise up our spine and prickle the back of our neck. The dark is pretty fearsome when our mind has been subjected to some crazy imagery, we switch the TV off and for many moments the lines of reality blur, the stairs creak too loudly and the shadows dance in unusual ways. Silence is suddenly an enemy waiting to leap, and the chill flick all our arm hairs up to attention, was it always so cold in the corner of this room? you get yourself in such a mess you don’t want to reach your hand out all alone into the darkness to search for the light switch on the wall, for it will surely be grabbed by unknown menace waiting for such foolishness, with some bravery, you slide your hand along the wall and nearly scare yourself to death when you touch the switch you were searching for, brace yourself to turn on the lights, then click.


Mr Sports star

Mr sports star gets to be among the best at what he does, to be among the great athletes of his age, he can do what the majority of people can only dream of doing. In physicality he is among the elite of humanity. Just this gift alone should be enough, to go play a games for enough money to comfortably live, that would be the most beautiful way to exist, though not only does he get enough to live on, he gets paid handsomely, in fact he gets huge amounts of money, he has a fleet of the most expensive cars to drive, lives in a palace built to his specifications, he eats at the finest restaurants, wears diamond, platinum and gold.
But then he thinks, no, this money is not enough, I wish to have more, I deserve more. He looks to the ones he plays his games with, he points as a child comparing puddings, in disgust he whines “He has more than me!”, so he refuses to play, he sits and he sulks, waiting for more money.
The talented gifted greedy fucker.


It is hard to explain the distress
and disappointment of not liking
my favourite band’s new album
the disgust and hollowness in heart
as they drift from our taste to some weird hell
such a betrayal of all the years of love
such a mutiny aboard my fine sailing ship.

Crow part two

Is the crow here to tell me something is wrong
or is he watching the ripples on the pond
is he peering through the veil of dimensions
or watching crumbs blow around my feet
does he see the glint of death’s scythe
or is he watching the twinkle of my ring
we read much into simple thought.


2D woman, you are pretty from afar
and you are dirty as a tramp in the fall
but you are not here to squeeze and to smell
so may as well be as distant as the stars.


We are all weaved to never unpick
your little fluttering flag not symbolic
just marks the land’s invisible lines
the differences in us left behind
no longer them no longer us
gather love and gather trust
every one of us in every land
keep mixing more and holding hands.


Now that you have crawled from under your rock
take a good look at the foreign folk you despise
examine your neighbour closely, look at their smile
see them love their family as you love yours
watch them dance show the joy in music
the love of food and drink, see the mirror.


Experts say that even if aliens came down to earth to stay,
soon it would be normal and everyday. Yet people rail against
people they have shared the earth with for thousands of years,
unable to share love with the alien, so full of fear.


Splinters of sun through breaking cloud
given chance to turn the day around
floods receding earth drying out
bail out your poor sodden house


The flowers are still growing.