Monday, December 12, 2011

No, really?

This calls for an explanation. I am absolutely certain that I have never been photographed at the wheel of a motor vehicle of any kind.

My exploits on the tractors maintained by the school farm in Maine in the late fifties went undocumented and although I have a vague memory of driving a 1950 Ford a couple of times (on the campus, of course, not on public roads) that also was not recorded for posterity.

There was a visit to California in 1984 when the driving was in a rented Mazda with my wife in charge. One afternoon in the delightful calm of San Luis Obispo I did... for some reason... feel curious about being in charge of an automobile. My curiosity was satisfied after three blocks and a single right turn.

And so the photo posted is unique and in several ways very misleading.

That is a BMW 6-Series Cabriolet with a hefty six-figure price tag. It costs about what I would pay for a studio flat if I had that kind of cash available. And I did not move the car a single inch.

Simple story, really. In a BMW training film I played the role of a doddery elderly gentleman thinking of buying one of these magnificent machines but left alone to come to terms with all the new-fangled controls and knobs and switches and dials... I tried for a Monsieur Hulot habitus with a Mister Bean edge! It seemed to be what the director wanted...

Except for the fact that most of the scenes were shot in an ice-cold basement garage... it was only between takes that I could warm up in my down-filled leather greatcoat... it was all good fun.

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