Saturday, March 24, 2007

Who Needs 6th Gear Anyway?

Growing up I was more-or-less infatuated with all things European. I was really stoked on two things in particular: British culture and German cars. Even as an elementary school student, I was fascinated with Alfred Hitchcock and Monty Python. I loved British humor/banter and would honestly practice my British accent while lying in bed late at night—a talent I no longer posses (probably cuz I’m sawing longs the second my head hits the pillow).

Anyways, I’d also spend an immense amount of time lining up my Hot Wheels and having “battles”. My list of killer German Hot Wheels included: a black 911, a red 928, an orange M1, a maroon 325 (with doors that opened for flying, of course), and a silver Mercedes sedan—which was always the bad guy.

From time to time I’ll do a quick search for random BMW videos on Google and YouTube. About a week ago, I came across episodes of a British TV show called 5th Gear. This show features the driving talents and fantastic banter of professional drivers: Tom Ford, Jason Plato, Vicki Butler-Henderson, and Tiff Needell. On this show, these drivers take dream cars to their limits. Though they test tons of different rods, you’ll find that they have a strong affinity for German automobiles and do some amazing things with them. So basically, it’s the embodiment of my childhood time-wasting interests. (And the time-wasting part is still in full-force.)

This is the first vignette I came across. It's a throw down between the new Z4 Coupe and the new TT; there’s gorgeous cinematography, great editing, perfect music. Since finding this one, I’ve watched probably 3 dozen 5th Gear eps—they are awesome. Enjoy!

Some additional classics include the new M5, the old M5, a 911 Turbo, the new, new Mini, and a quick little jaunt around the track with Vicki and her mummy in a Lamborghini Murcielago.

Just search for “5th Gear” on YouTube, and you be set for a couple hours of pure autophile bliss.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Upto12’s Gonna Be Ticked.

So here’s the update to my previous post on the amazing music rockin’ at my gym in the morning. It’s become sort of a battle; my goal is now to have better music on my Shuffle than what’s playing on the speakers at the gym. I’m picking more obscure bands with tunes that I can still workout too. (Not that easy.)

This morning I started my workout with a healthy dose of Arcade Fire; track one, Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels), from Funeral to be precise. I’m rockin’ out, doing some cardio—and then I heard it. Intervention, track four from Arcade Fire’s latest, Neon Bible, is blaring on the gym’s sound system. I was jaw-dropped; I just got schooled—again. (Apparently, they’ve got the thing plugged into some XM station; the gym-rat employees had no clue which one.)

Then, just as the song was finishing out, I looked up at the many TV monitors, and right there in front of me, there’s a little newscast on—you guessed it—Arcade Fire. I yanked my headset out of my Shuffle and plugged into the TV’s sound system. John Norris, the MTV News correspondent (who I’m actually a fan of), did like a 5-minute story on the band—and it was awesome. He totally nailed how I felt about both Funeral and Neon Bible. I’ll paraphrase:

“Though no single track on Neon Bible hits the heights of Funeral, the album as a whole, is a more complete and listenable collection.” I totally butchered that quote—sorry John.

Immediately following that great little news story, I once again learned why you should always listen to Jack Black. Wasn’t it he that once said: “It was called rock 'n roll, but guess what, oh no, the Man ruined that, too, with a little thing called MTV!” It was. And immediately following the piece, I was visually, audibly, and emotionally attacked by the Queen of Crap’s new video, Girlfriend—sick.

For those of you that don’t know, the Queen of Crap is of course, her lowliness Avril Lavigne. And that my friends is why Upto12 is gonna be ticked.