Friday, April 08, 2005

Work, Work, Work to Make it Work

Now if we’d all been students, the Champs Elysee thing would have probably remained an idea. We’d all have come home for the summer, and found ourselves grunt jobs for a few weeks, and maybe even gone to Paris on a boat train for a while before we hurried back to the seat of learning to further improve ourselves. All would have been normal.

Trouble was, Yaya had a job. Not much of a job, as it happens (I’m 101% certain it wasn’t intended as a long-term career option), but proper full-time employment nevertheless, with wages that were good enough to develop a saving habit and everything. Rather than blow it all on blow.

Stansted Engineering. I doubt they’re there any more, tucked away among the council houses at the back of Bentfield End in Stansted, in the days when it was still Stansted Mountfitchet and not just the grubby little village down the road from Stansted-the-UK’s-favourite-international-airport. It was a tiny family firm, and I’ve no idea what they made. I suspect the product line consisted of frankly unidentifiable metal components that had something to do with the car industry and were shipped out in small cardboard boxes with a typewritten label stuck slightly askew on the top. Demand probably dried up when the UK car industry ground to a halt. We’ll get to one reason why a little later in this narrative.

Yaya did the shipping out. He was their driver.

The job meant Yaya could buy a bus. Sorry, truck. Which meant that the following conversation stood some chance of leading somewhere automotive…

(We’re back in Stu’s bedroom. Yes, I know this is taking a while)

‘Wouldn’t it be great to drive down the Champs Elysee with this on the stereo and all the windows wide open…’

Mark F:
‘Or something louder.’

‘Uhhh. Some Zappa.’

Mark F:
‘On your way to somewhere else.’

‘Where are we going this summer anyway?’

‘Wouldn’t it be great to drive down the Champs Elysee in an American school bus like Kesey’s with this on the stereo and all the windows wide open?’

‘It’d be cool to have a bus like that. Not just a Volkswagen camper. Something bigger.’

Mark F:
‘We could paint the sides.’

‘And put beds in the back so you could live in it.’

‘We could take it to Knebworth for the Allman Brothers.’

‘You could go round the world in a bus like that.’

Mark F:
‘Chuck us the skins. I’ll roll another…’

Eagle-eyed readers will notice a new character has crept into this idyllic domestic scene. Like me, Simon may not have been there for the actual idea, but I have a pretty big hunch he was around for a lot of the talking about it. We’d all read the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, but Simon was passionate about it. I suspect he can still quote key passages to this day. So if a trip round the world in a brightly-painted vehicle with loudspeakers pointing outwards was being debated, Simon had to be making a contribution.

And yet…

Simon was not on the bus. Sorry, truck. And that is going to take some explaining too.

Later. For the moment, let’s stick with Yaya, rolling up and down the A11 in a van full of tiny automotive parts. He’s thinking now. Wondering where on earth you might go to buy a second-hand vehicle of sufficient capacity to install beds and washing facilities for (say) half a dozen English hippies intent on driving overland to China. Or wherever.

In a dealer’s yard in Vauxhall, his dream vehicle is waiting…


Blogger broomhilda said...

I have the Grateful Dead song Truckin stuck in my head (taking another toke). Turn it up. Where we now?

3:23 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home