Thursday, 4 February 2016

Car Matt

After much speculation, we now know the name of Chris Evans' first co-host on new Top Gear.

It's Matt LeBlanc!
This is a major departure for him.

This is because he has never starred in a show with more than one word in the title before.

Speculation in December concentrated on the names Sabine Schmitz, Chris Harris & David Coulthard.  I guess that speculation didn't look far enough away from Europe.  I would be happy if any or all of these three joined the show - it doesn't have to have exactly three presenters after all - and these three are racers or motoring journos, my favourite two categories of people to present TV car shows.

Something that Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc are not.

But Top Gear is not so much a TV car show so much as an entertainment, nay comedy, show with a big car content.

I'm very happy.  Both have proved themselves car-wise and Matt led the Star-in-a-Reasonably-Priced-Car leaderboard for quite a while.

It was always going to be a very difficult job replacing Jeremy, James and Richard. They seem to be going about it the right way.  Very impressive casting.

Now we need some very impressive writing.

Wonder if Matt knows any good comedy writers?

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Viral News

Mike Brewer's been getting a bit of stick today.  But only from a couple of people who you would never invite to your party.  It involves this picture which he posted on Facebook with a comment about how Curt should have asked for a replacement jacket.

Many hundreds of his fans reassured Mike and posted suitable comments against those with a sense-of-humor by-pass.  I deliberately spelled it like that because it seemed to be Americans who didn't get the joke.

I say "seemed" because it was actually two English blokes who put the main comments up there.  They claimed children could be upset at the joke.  Well children under 13 shouldn't be on Facebook and children 13 and over would have found it funny.

So there.

I guess it must have had an effect though because today he said, "What a day! trolled because of a guys name badge, abused cause I post too many times! and angered people who didn't get an answer in a clearly posted 10 minute Q&A which went on for 12 minutes with over 50 questions answered...please..if you don't like this page/me or what I do..please unfollow me.."

He does post a lot.  But that's fine by me.

Anyway, the fans reassured him some more.

Don't know if there was enough activity to call it viral though.

So here's some really viral news:

Tata to rename Zica car over virus woes

It is the headline to this BBC story. Tata are having to rename their new car being launched at the Auto Expo in New Delhi because its name sounds like the virus affecting The Americas at the moment.
 Meanwhile, it looks like an MG.
This is perhaps more horrifying news, MG are going to be selling an SUV!  Here's the MG section of carnewschina.com where the story can be found.

It will be called the MG GS Rui Teng or maybe something different if it comes to British shores.  Which I hope it doesn't.  I've got nothing against the car per se.

Except IT'S AN MG SUV!


The name Zica, meanwhile, is meant to be short for "Zippy Car" so how about they rename it "Highly Intense Vehicle"?

Or HIV for short.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Sign of The Times

Correction, make that The BBC, not The Times.

I read this non-story today about people complaining about some new LED advertising signs put up near the Liverpool end of the M62 motorway:
I say "people".  It is actually the ABD, the Alliance of British Drivers, an organisation I was unimpressed by three years ago. They are probably upset because one of them missed the speed camera on the motorway in that area because they were busy reading whatever it was displaying an advert for.

The Liverpool Echo covered the plans for the signs back in June although the location was a bit different and the main objection then was "due their size, elevated location and that they will be illuminated, which we consider would have a significant detrimental impact on the local community – both to local residents and local amenities.”:
 
The picture looked good though.

I'm not seeing any real dangers myself - they are not moving pictures (like I saw in November '14 when both the adverts AND the pictures were moving) and it is claimed that lighting levels are controlled.

At least no real dangers unless Wonderbra revisit a certain advertising campaign from 1994.  Hello Boys.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Love Me, Love My Car.

Is having your photo taken caressing your car a thing?
 There seem to be loads of these on the 'Net.
 
 And it's not just men...

Can't explain why, but this guy is my favourite:
 
And yet, according to the BBC Business Section today, we seem to have fallen out of love with the car. Possibly permanently?

It's an interesting piece that tells us that, at some point in the '90s, the ever-increasing total number of miles being driven every year bottomed out.

It goes on to say "In 2012, the RAC Foundation got together with a group of academics. They analysed Britain's stats between 1995 and 2007, stopping there to leave out the impact of the subsequent recession.

And this is what they found. About 70% of us were driving more. But the average mileage was being dragged down because young men, company car drivers and Londoners were driving less."

The key findings were:
  • Men in their twenties drive 1,912 miles a year less than they did in the mid-1990s
  • The number of men in their twenties holding a full driving licence also dropped by 11% between the mid-1990s and 2005-07
  • Company car mileage dropped by nearly 40% between 1995-97 and 2005-07
  • Driving mileage across London fell by 20% in the decade leading up to the recession
OK, we'll ignore the first one because they would have been in their mid-teens in the '90s.

Number 2 is the surprising one - I know wanted to get a licence as soon as I was old enough.

Number 3 has to be a good thing. I remember the bad old days when it was normal for petrol companies to give away free gifts to Company Car Drivers to get them in while charging too much for the petrol because "the Company was paying for it."  Video-conferencing and tele-commuting and the decline of British industry would have played a part in this of course.

Number 4.  Two words.  Congestion Charge.

Another interesting statement in the story:

"If car use has peaked, this will radically change transport policy - and in particular should lead to a complete reassessment of the government's £15bn road-building plans."

Wonder if anyone would notice if a 31 mile stretch went AWOL?  The BBC beat me to the headline - Highway Robbery.

Now, just time to give the Jag a wash and a cuddle.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Audi '80s

Interesting story from the Detroit Motor Show in Autoguide today.

It's an Audi concept car called the h-tron:
Looks a bit Volvo to me. But it is an Audi hybrid obviously named after a film from the early '80s:
A time when Audi made the Audi 80:
 
A time when people were discovering other computer games as well as those featured in Tron.

Like Tetris for example.  Which brings us back to the Autoguide article.  Apparently the new concept has a couple of sensor/scanners in the boot which analyse your luggage and tell you the best way to pack it.  The article calls it "automated car-tetris".

I actually enjoy working out the best way to pack the boot.  That's why I drive an estate car and have a Degree in Statistics.

The concept also has OLED Audi tablets that allow rear-seat passengers to communicate with the driver. 

Can't help thinking that talking would be a better method of communication - like we did in the '80s.

And the car-tetris has been done before too: