We were looking for a new car. This process involved staring at various websites and wandering into car yards, hoping that someone would come to our assistance. Some people fell over themselves to help out.
We were looking for a new car. This process involved staring at various websites and wandering into car yards, hoping that someone would come to our assistance. Some people fell over themselves to help out. Others acted as though we had either interrupted them whilst on their break or recently injured someone dear to them, such was their resentment. In the course of our quest, we collected a large number of car brochures. Upon reading them, one thing struck me – it is clear that those working in the marketing department of our major automotive manufacturers have too much time of their hands.
Everything on a car, it seems, must have a ridiculous name. Even the wheels. According to the brochure, you can get a sixteen inch alloy wheel called ‘Spectrum.’ But if that’s not enough wheel to get your motor running, then you can take it up a notch and get the seventeen inch ‘Triffid’. By now, you’re probably wondering why alloy wheels are all named after Australian rock bands. Sadly, the eighteen inch alloy wheel is not named ‘Pseudo Echo’ as it should be, but ‘Themisto’. This, to my eternal regret, sounds not so much like a band as it does the name of somebody who is trying to destroy Spiderman.
Cars are completely different propositions from what they were ten years ago. Last time I bought a car, it was called a ‘horse’. Added to that, a CD player was then considered the absolute height of luxury. Now they have the status of a tape deck. It’s all about I-pods, phone connectivity and a navigational display that will always tell you where to go. Currently, I have to rely on other motorists to tell me where to go – and it must be said they do quite a good job of it too. Today’s cars even offer heated seats, so that wherever you travel your buttocks are grilled to crispy perfection by the time you arrive.
I had to make some choices. These crucial decisions, at least for me, begin with the colour. It was here that the marketing department had truly excelled themselves. Nothing was simple. In fact, they had clearly decided that simple was simply not good enough, and each colour had to be christened with a name that seemed far more magnificent than a mere ‘brown’ or ‘yellow’. In some instances, these names were still recognisable as actual colours – there was ‘Cappuccino Beige’ and ‘Mocca Brown’. However, the deeper you went down the list, the less the descriptors made you think of colours as other things entirely.
‘Candy White’ is either the name of Superman’s assistant at the Daily Planet or, alternatively, the name of an exotic dancer who works at ‘The Daily Planet’. ‘Pacific Blue’ is a new soapie in which confused but incredibly good-looking high school students struggle with life’s major issues such as deciding which part of their anatomy to pierce next. ‘Amazonian Green’ is something that the folks at Customs would likely confiscate and ‘Rosso Brunello’ is a long-term backbencher whose pre-selection is under threat. None of these things could possibly refer to the colour of a station wagon.
‘Storm Blue’ is a person who used to work on TV’s Gladiators and is now struggling to keep their personal training business afloat and ‘Platin Grey’ is a race horse who’s lost the last three races and is destined for the knackery. Not all the colours were so hugely imaginative, however. ‘Amethyst Purple’ is, no matter which way you choose to look at it, purple and ‘Brilliant Silver’ is not really that brilliant at all and probably the brainchild of the work experience kid.
One colour stood head, shoulders and scaffolding above all others. The name gave it a sense of grandeur and power, making it so much more than the mere sum of its constituent parts. How, I hear you ask, can the name of a shade of paint be so plainly awesome? Surely I’m over-egging this particular pudding. Whilst I don’t blame you for being sceptical – let me now reveal that the pudding in question is a massive humble pie. Brace yourself whilst I shove an enormous serving straight down your doubting cake-hole and present ‘The Black Magic Pearl Effect.’
More than just a shade of paint, it sounds like the greatest rock band you never heard in your life. I can hear the strained voice of the concert promoter, struggling to be heard over the rapturous, cheering audience, ‘would you welcome to stage The Black Magic Pearl Effect!’ Sadly, no such band currently exists. It is clear what I must do – I must start a new band. Luckily, thanks to Ticketmaster, I still have the offer of a free t-shirt up my sleeve. Whilst the band has no songs, no members other than myself and no records, we could at least get the ball rolling with an awesome t-shirt. But there’s a darker truth to acknowledge – there’s no way on earth that a true fan of The Black Magic Pearl Effect would ever drive a station wagon, unless it was one from the seventies with the wood panelling and the back window propeller. No, they’d drive a van with tinted windows perhaps with a dragon airbrushed onto the side. It seems my imaginary band is too cool to have me in it. That, frankly, is unfair. I will, however, still buy their records.