…and why not?
…and why not?
Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, all sorts of music passed me by. I guess I was too busy with other stuff, and apart from new songs by old favorites (Clapton, Santana etc.), I was oblivious. Ordinarily, the kids’ music (my kids, that is) would have kept me informed, so to speak, but as I recall, they were listening to music which didn’t touch me — Limp Bizkit, Matchbox 20, Weezer, Shakira and all the teen-pop stuff — and I won’t even go into “club” music.
Well, maybe I should have listened to club music a little, because I completely missed someone called Anastacia — and that’s a Bad Thing.
Whoa. Talk about a seductive, and wonderful, mezzo-soprano: I’m Outta Love and Left Outside Alone (both of which I only encountered for the first time this past week) are astonishing. And as for Sick And Tired… phew.
Okay, let me get the obvious out of the way. The musical format of Anastacia’s music still leaves me untouched — in fact, I think it sucks — but good grief… that voice. It reminds me of a slightly edgier Tina Turner — and how does one get edgier than Tina?
Nor was she an overnight sensation, either: she’d really paid her dues.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Ms. Anastacia was as sexy as hell, too, not to mention gorgeous.
Of course, those were earlier pics of her, taken in her 30s. It’s been well over a decade since she “arrived” — she should have been discovered nearly ten years before then — and age has taken its toll on her, somewhat (not to mention Crohn’s Disease and breast cancer); but hell, even an older and plumper Anastacia can still turn heads, at age 50:
…and if anything, like a fine Scotch single malt her voice has got better with age. My only quibble is her music, which still sucks. I wish she’d become a torch singer, taking on the old jazz nightclub classics. She would be sensational.
And damn, I wish she hadn’t lost the glasses.
A long, long time ago, in a country and culture far, far away from ours, a Monty Python sketch involved a quiz show wherein the contestants had to answer questions about Marcel Proust. Of course, nobody was able to successfully encapsulate the rococo intricacies of The Most Boring Writer Ever, so the quizzmaster instead awarded the prize… “to the lady in the front row with the big tits!”
Such, I fear, is the result of the epic search for Nigella Lawson’s replacement in my
obsession affections. So here she is, the errrr lucky lady: Carol Vorderman, who took the prize with her three outstanding attributes (boobs, buttocks and brains).
She’s no Nigella, in that she once confessed to being a lousy cook* — but Miss Vorderman can pilot an aircraft, which should count for something when we finally decide to carpet-bomb Washington D.C. et al.
*so’s Nigella, but nobody cares.
I don’t think I’m the only petrolhead who has a constant feeling of cognitive dissonance when it comes to the combination of looks and performance. Some beautiful cars disappoint (relatively speaking) when it comes time to hit the road, whereas others perform like a dream while looking like a dog’s breakfast.
Let me tackle the first scenario. As Longtime Readers know only too well, I think the 1970s-era Ferrari Dino 246GT is one of the most beautiful cars ever made. Whenever car aficionados are asked to name their “10 Most Beautiful Cars”, almost without fail, the DIno is somewhere in everyone’s top five. It is and always will be my #1. Here are a few examples (because any discussion of this nature is yoosliss wifout pitchurs):
The only problem with the Dino was that it, well, wasn’t really a Ferrari. (I’m not going to go into too much detail because it isn’t relevant to this post: Wikipedia has a decent summary if you’re interested.) The Old Man (Enzo himself) was initially reluctant (until 1976) to allow it to be called a Ferrari, because it was Marinello’s attempt to make an “entry-level” Ferrari, and quite frankly, it shows. The interior is hideous (no pics because they make me ill; just take my word for it), but even worse is that the car is an absolute pig to drive (I’ve driven one): the gearbox almost requires two hands to work the lever, and my left calf ached for days afterwards because of the stiff clutch. Never mind that it’s crap compared to modern cars (which it is); it was crap for its time as well.
But… there was that mid-mounted 2.4-liter six-cylinder engine (which was a Ferrari) howling about four inches away from the driver’s ears, and despite all its technical flaws, it handled superbly — better even than its rival from Alfa Romeo, the Montreal (which I’ve also driven). That, added to its beauty, created a fanatical following for the DIno. But it was, and is, a pig to drive. And it, like the Montreal, would fall apart if you so much as looked at it — one of my friends had his Dino’s gear knob come off in his hands as he was downshifting to take a sharp corner, and how he avoided a wreck is one of the mysteries of the ages.
On the other side of that coin is Porsche, most especially the 911 model. Jeremy Clarkson is always having a go at Porsche’s “design” team, calling them the laziest people on the planet, and he has reason: while the 911 has always had tremendous performance and outstanding reliability, it looks like a pig, with that humped rear and and strange, minimalist front:
…and the Targa:
However, in the early 2000s someone at Porsche seems to have had this brilliant but revolutionary idea: “What if we make a nice-looking Porsche?” He was probably fired but his heresy remained, with the result that the mid-engined Porsche Cayman is not only better-looking compared to the 911 (a low bar, to be sure), it’s as good-looking as any other sports car, and better even than many of its competitors:
Even its rear end isn’t quite the truncated monstrosity of old, and it now looks quite shapely:
So why am I telling you all this? Because the Dino and the Cayman are almost identical in terms of chassis dimensions — the wheelbases are within a half-inch or so of each other, and of course they’re both mid-engined.
Here’s my thought. I bet that some enterprising coachbuilder could whip off the Cayman’s shell and replace it with a carbon-fiber near-copy of the Dino’s (with a little bit of nipping-and-tucking to accommodate, for example, the Porsche’s single exhaust pipe and longer suspension posts, and so on). And just for kicks, I’d use the Cayman’s smallest engine which is… ta-da! a 2.5-liter six-cylinder (flat, not a V, but hey, consistency is the hobgoblin etc.).
What you’d have with this marriage is a modern car’s performance, with a pre-wind-tunnel body that would make even the dourest car freak wipe a tear from his eye and drool from his chin.
If I ever win a large lottery, I’d present a custom coachbuilder with this challenge. I’d call it the Pino, and I’d be the envy of… well, of everybody.
Your thoughts in Comments.
I remember seeing this and laughing out loud:
Ditto. I wish I knew the origins of my fatal attraction towards redheads. Was it first-grade crush Judy Hickman, who wouldn’t let me kiss her all the way through fifth grade, when I left the school, my longing forever unrequited? Or was it flame-haired teacher Miss Cooke, who set my boyish heart aflutter every time she came to school with her gorgeous red tresses flowing down over her shoulders instead of being tied up in the normal stern bun?
I have no idea. Nor do I wish to examine it in too close a detail now, because I’m old and it’s too late. So here are a few who have caught me over the years:
…and to prove my point:
And just in case you’re think I’m stuck in the past — an altogether fair observation in most cases — here are a couple of youngins:
Priceless, every single one of them. Feel free to add your favorite gingers in Comments.
Dramatis personae, from the top:
Jill St. John
Ann-Margret (again, because Ann-Margret)
Karen Gillan (who turned the TV show Doctor Who into Doctor Who?)
Nicola Roberts (of the pop band Girls Aloud)