Monday 9 January 2012

Disco no more

I'm probably on very thin ice here. As a guy brought up on prog rock, it's not really my place to comment on disco or any other musical genre, especially anything less than 20 minutes long. Whilst not as divisive as spouting forth on competitive religion or worship of a sports team, musical taste is a topic that can arouse huge passion. That said, a sift through my vinyl singles from the 70s would certainly unearth the odd dance floor number amongst all the dinosaurs of rock. So you see, I have been known to have a bit of a boogie to Lipps Inc's Funkytown or to occasionally whip out a 7 incher and allow Donna Summer to feel the love.

Let me put the brakes on and arrest the descent right there, this isn't about disco as in mirrorballs, strobe lights and a funky beat. Nuh-uh, we're talking 4 wheel drive, all terrain tyres and Land Rover. That Discovery.

Land Rover, as a marque, has been a small, but significant, part of my life to date. As a young Tenselet, I recall the arduous half mile walk to school in the village, up a very steep hill. If I was lucky, one of the farming family from lower down in the river valley would be passing in a Land Rover and offer me a lift. In those days, Landies were all of a sort, plastered with mud or worse, littered with straw and baler twine and with a backing track of sheep and dog.

After declining a university place (I never said I was sensible), I joined the Army, not because the Queen had more Land Rovers than anyone else, but an even worse reason than that. In truth, there were a lot of Solihull's finest in the British Army. I drove Series 2s, Lightweights, Series 3s of various flavours, then 90s and 110s. On one particular exercise in Denmark, I was delighted to hitch a lift in a 101 Forward Control with its groovy 3.5 litre Rover V8 engine. Towards the end of my brief military career, I developed a taste for navigational rallying and spent many a happy night being thrown around the inside of a Land Rover as I shouted out directions across various bits of the German countryside.

On my return to civilian life and with a young family in tow, the expense of maintaining the equivalent of a small 1940s tractor wasn't something we could afford. However, the firm I worked for did have a long wheelbase 110, which I occasionally borrowed for a weekend.

Towards the end of the 1990s, Our Lass gave in to the relentless pleading and I bought a 90 County station wagon which served us well on family holidays, with the girls sat sideways in the back, on top of all our luggage. As First Born grew up and wished to try her hand at navigational road rallying, this was the vehicle for our inaugural event. The new millennium saw an upgrade to a Series 1 Discovery, which was a little more refined and spacious. Indeed, we never did fill it to maximum capacity, no matter how much we took on holiday. In 2006, I swapped it for my current vehicle, an early Series 2 Discovery, recently featured in these pages and a veteran of several trips to Orkney. Its biggest triumph was the day it ferried Second Born and one of her friends (Dana from Hollister, where are you now?) from Swansea University back to Milton Keynes. With the contents of both of their rooms. My fiendishly-cunning packing ability was put to the test that day.

But this week, the Land Rover dream dies a little, as I'm trading in Taffy the Truck for another 4x4. However, it isn't a British one, it's not even a European one. After much soul-searching, you might even say Seoul-searching, the next Tense Towers vehicle of choice is going to be a Kia. But it will still have a ladder chassis, low ratio four wheel drive and an awful tendency to wallow in the shallowest of corners. So not that much has changed, then!

Farewell, faithful Disco, thank you for all the good times.


holdingmoments said...

Interesting read Graeme; even the reference to said 7". It raised a smile.

But back to the real 'meat' of the post.
I've been looking at a couple of vehicles myself; time for a treat, if I reach my next birthday. It's a toss up between the KIA, and a Honda CRV.
You'll have to let us know how you get on with the new toy.

Imperfect and Tense said...

If you can take the wallowing ride, the great thing about 4x4s isn't so much the ground clearance, it's the height advantage, giving you the ability to see wildlife over the hedge. Whilst keeping both eyes on the road ahead and maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle in front, obviously.

Spadger said...

Doh! :0(( a sad day. Wished I could have come for one last ride. Still all to look forward to with the new toy

holdingmoments said...

Cheers Graeme; and the mail.

Anonymous said...

One door opened well 5 on the faithful truck, how many does the Kia have? Kieth CRV were offering 4 years interest free on new models 29K. Greame enjoy drive im sure it will be as much fun and reliable RJ

Tales of a Bank Vole said...

Is Summer approaching at last - Donna that is - I feel a Disco re-revival is in the air!

Imperfect and Tense said...

Re-revival is going to be a bit difficult now, God rest her soul.

But more to the point, how come you wait for over 6 months and 8600 hits before commenting on this post?

Tales of a Bank Vole said...


a)As you may have noticed us twasser drivers don't like to hurry into rash decisions and

b)To the best of my knowledge, that is how long it has taken before your new Seoul mate has given you reason to mourn the dearly departed.

Imperfect and Tense said...

Dear TBV, (or can I call you T?), I like the word 'twasser', I may call you it a great deal from now on ;o)

Believe me, not a single day goes by without a thought of the late lamented Landy :o(