So once again it rolls around. To be totally honest I’d missed the date completely and realised I should have put my car in for it’s MOT a month or so ago. You may or may not have read my account this time last year (http://thoughtaloud.com/?p=212) explaining the many insecurities and fears that sending my car for an MOT entails.
I’m out of my element. I don’t know what’s going on. I hand over the keys and trust that the man covered in oil knows more about cars than I do. Except something seems different. I’ve booked into one of Halford’s Autocentres and it all seems very straightforward, and some how not right. Where’s the intimidating man I have no hope in hell of relating to? Instead there is a desk known as ‘reception’, and I am greeted as ‘sir’ which further throws me off. They’re also ‘expecting me’, an amazing act of clairvoyance I immediately assume, before remembering that I actually booked it over the internet two days ago. And instead of me standing there wondering whether to sit down, wait or leave and come back, he tells me politely that it should take only an hour, that he has my number and he’ll give me a call when it’s ready. Wow. What a great service. Now all it needs to do is sail through its MOT like last year.
I set off from the park as storm clouds begin to gather above my head and start to make my way back to the test centre – now with a slightly less confident and slightly more ominous feeling. I step through the door and the once smiling, friendly receptionist peers at me over the top of his computer with new found suspicion and disgust. His features have changed. His sunken eyes sitting in black sockets and his furrowed brow are the signs of a man who has lost all respect that he might otherwise have previously had.
He clears his throat.
“Mr. Gould”, comes his snarling indictment, “your car has failed the test on a number of points.” He then proceeds to read out the charge list which seems to continue to such an extent that I start to question whether I even brought the car in with wheels in the first place. He starts with some fairly minor transgressions; the left bulb in the headlights is out and the right bulb is not aligned properly (I should have at least noticed this. I might have saved myself some embarrassment.) Next, the tread on one of the tires is worn past the acceptable limit, while the other tire has a nail in it. Ok right, I can see why that might be reason to fail. I try to thank him and leave with at least half of mine and my cars dignity in tact, but he won’t let me leave. “We didn’t even test the emissions because the exhaust has a big hole in it”.
I’m reduced to hanging my head and taking the blows as they come. Things need to be recalibrated he tells me and the roof has a hole in it. I’m not sure this is cause to fail it’s MOT so by this point he’s just rubbing it in. Finally, he tells me the bottom of the car is plagued by ‘excessive corrosion’ which is going to require some serious welding and going to cost an arm, a leg and at least £100.
So where does that leave me? Well it practically makes it a write-off because considering I can buy the exact same car but in better condition for the cost of the repairs, the car now sits forlornly in the driveway, uninsured, disused and soon to be untaxed. And there we are. The car that has only broken down once in the 7 years I’ve had it and could probably run on water it’s so cheap to run, now rests in one seriously corroded piece. And…
Hang on a minute, wait. What have I been talking about? What I meant to say was, does anyone want to buy a car?
Ok, so lots of people will remember when Jedi became officially recognised as a religion in the UK, when a total of 390,127 people declared their religious affiliation as Jedi Knight on the 2001 national census.
Well another victory for marginalised religions was achieved this week when Nico Alm from Austria won the right to wear a pasta strainer on his head in a driving license, claiming it to be official religious headgear in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
The church, which began in America to gently satirise the teaching of intelligent design in schools, can count many thousands of followers across the globe, all of whom call themselves Pastafarians, and maintain the belief that an omnipotent and undetectable Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe.
The church upholds pirates as divine beings and as the original Pastafarians, celebrating International Talk Like A Pirate Day amongst it’s holidays, alongside Pastover and Ramendan.
Mr Alms application for a license with him wearing this headgear was in response to Austria’s recognition as confessional headgear in official photographs.
Clearly we’re not too far away from living in a world where people can practise their faith in the Spaghetti Monster without fear. No longer can a man walk down the street expecting to be mocked for wearing a colander on his head, as if it weren’t a legitimate expression of faith. We can thank people like Mr. Alms who have paved the way for other minor religions to gain official recognition such as the Church of the Subterranean Honey Teasers and the Order of the Black Cab.
You can read the BBC’s article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14135523
Ricky Gervais has released this short intro to the set of Life’s Too Short with Warwick Davies. Let’s hope this series lives up to The Office and Extras.
This is a bit of a treat, if you can get past the slightly annoying impression that Gervais is proudly rounding up his famous mates. But to be fair to him there isn’t enough of this on telly, with comedians talking about what they think comedy is about and what makes them laugh. For me it is far more entertaining than watching another comedy roadshow, Live at the Apollo or ‘All-star comedy gala’. Some good viewing for people who love comedy but are just tired of the usual crap on telly. It is in four parts, so here’s part 1 to get things going: