Monday, March 30, 2009

Red Cortina

The sun is so low over the proverbial that it is hurling shafts of incandescent fireball-white straight into the eyes of the incautious.

The dappled ripple effect caused by the intermittent tree leaves serves to make this luminous cocktail more unsettling than all the experimental strobes, lasers and oil wheels could possibly have conspired to for an audience of mashed hash-heads during a mid-Sixties show at Middle Earth.

This is a far cry from Tripping Daisy; this is setting your controls for the heart of the sun at an average speed of about one hundred and fifty miles an hour – for about ninety minutes or so.

Welcome to last Sunday’s world according to Jenson Button (a dead-ringer for Coldplay’s Chris Martin or hasn’t anyone yet noticed) et al as ordained by the elf-like Bernie Ecclestone.

The extremity of an extreme sport; Formula One – and don’t we just love the spills and thrills; the noisy scent of scorched rubber from the fragrantly perfumed high octane gasoline alley-ways. Danger as danger is; the gladiatorial skills; 21st Century warriors fuelled by adrenaline to the power of x+ within the extravaganza that – this last weekend at least – became a Cirque du Soleil that bordered on the illogical… all in the name of television.

Barring the predictable tedium of the middle section, it was a fabulous race. A relatively clean start that saw the lad-Button sprinting into the middle distance in his hastily new-logo’d white and lime uber-beast as, in a beards-R-us way, team boss Ross Brawn strategised from the pit-wall as Virgin’s founder-saviour looked on from the pits themselves; only a couple of hugely expensive casualties got taken out early in a hail-storm of Teflon shards and roaring engines.

As the finale unfolded, with Button having the race pretty-much sown up, we had the spectacle of one car doing its three-wheels-on-my-wagon New Christy Minstrel impersonation; Red Bull proving it had wings after all when it got all tangled up and blue in the apex of one corner with Kubica’s BMW requiring significantly more than a new paint job for the Malaysian rendezvous next weekend.

During all of this, however, the sun’s traverse across the cloudless Melbourne sky reached a point in its parabola when it both caused long shadows and blinded at the same time. Imagine coming out of near darkness and being hit straight in the face by a hundred-thousand watt shaft of light. Imagine that at the kind of speeds that these guys manage to coax out of the four wheeled beasts they drive. Health and safety anyone?

This isn’t by way of engendering debate or seeking to comment on the inherent dangers of Formula One racing… since these guys extreme money to race at extreme levels in extreme conditions the entire time; rain and hail will, undoubtedly, become a factor that they’ll have to contend with at some point in the forthcoming season just as it always has. Indeed, its forecast for next weekend in Kuala Lumpur.

No… its simply asking this question. Why make it any more dangerous than it actually is – for the drivers – by altering the time of the actual race in order to (apparently) satisfy television viewers in Europe?

The later time in Melbourne on race day itself meant that the race itself was broadcast at a more amenable time – for the viewers in the comfort of their armchairs, slippers and dressing gowns – than it was for the blokes who actually provided the spectacle.

A curious conundrum when the televisual audience is deemed – by the organiser(s) as being of more importance than the athletes themselves.

In amongst all of that, I’ve been trawling around the www looking for the hitherto elusive cycling feed and… following one click (link) after another came across a truly remarkable site. Probably not for everyone but, it kept me happy for a bit… PBR which stands for Professional Bull Riding.

Which – I’m guessing here – means that for the line on one’s passport which asks what one’s profession is, you can put down Professional Bull Rider. Immigration at airports around the world really must see it all, don’t you think?

Anyhow… seems this is something of an extreme sport too… the deal being that you climb onto the back of the Bull – which’ll weigh in at considerably over the two ton mark – and hang on to the rope that is tied around the Bull’s belly while the Bull is let out of the chute and into the arena.

You’re meant to hang on for eight seconds.

Needless to say, the Bull has other ideas and does its level best to dislodge you by bucking… hard.

These guys must have balls of reinforced steel… imagine… just imagine what… oh hell, its making me wince just thinking about it. Tick off eight seconds on the fingers of your hands and it doesn’t seem long – for these blokes it must seem like a lifetime.

In any event – from what I discover – it appears that not many of them last the course… The Bulls within this particular circus revel under truly splendid names such as Cross Wired, Commotion, Scene Of The Crash, Mad Yeller; there’s even one called Voodoo Chile… slight return anyone?

However, just as there is in Formula One, there’s mega-money to be made in this… the top guys earn in the millions. Frankly, I think they deserve it although I can’t help wondering just how many amongst the likes of Stetson Raspberry (from Texas), Spook Wiggins, Stormy Wing, Buck Bona, Bud Swallow or Lucas Dick have actually fathered children.

I also haven’t quite figured out if there is a draw for the Bulls that they are to ride or… just how it works but, it did occur that many might read their horoscopes each day as some kind of mental pre-amble prior to the main event.

Strange, isn’t it how often we all look at things like that – they’re online everywhere; in every newspaper and magazine one cares to mention.

And yet… they’re all different.

Which begs the question – who out of all the published astrologers actually gets it right?

Yet another of life’s little imponderables similar to that one which concerns the washing up.

One bowl full of soapy water; pots and pans are done; knives, forks, plates and cups all neatly stacked away; bowl is emptied and always… always… there is one item of cutlery left in the bottom.

Strange... but true.

Be that as it may – and I’m firmly of the opinion that there has to be some kind of scientific explanation that a boffin in a white coat brandishing a clipboard could offer up a reasonable explanation, its time to concentrate; to get my bits and pieces in order and prepare for tomorrow’s Project-X meeting.

And yes, I did read my ‘stars’ earlier – and they’re less horrorscope than they could have been…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You misspelled my name... Its Stetson Rasberry