15/10/2003
 

:claudia's column:

unearthly birth

 

 
     
 

Dear sweet darling angel-heart readers,

Summer really ought to have dropped the curtain by now, but, just as we think it's over, out she comes for another encore. My summer wardrobe has been up and down and in and out of the attic so many times over the past month that it has inevitably begun to mingle with my winter wardrobe and I am afraid they have started copulating. Who ever heard of chiffon silk with mink, felt skirts and sleeveless shirts, cashmere socks with cotton frocks? A new race of fashion for the post-post-industrial generation.

 
     
I had intended to spend the entire summer on the Riviera as usual, but even onboard ‘Sedna’ I found it intolerably hot and presumed it would be more comfortable back in England. How I underestimated global warming! You would think I would have something more interesting to blether about than the weather. I would like to excuse this as a defining characteristic of my Englishness but I can no longer make such claims. You were right all along, those who accused me of being from somewhere other than Greenwich. Here is an interesting, tragic but true story to make up for all that stuff about the weather…  
     

Like many adventures it began in Monte Carlo. Earlier this year I had gone there with my supercharged Facel Vega V12 sports saloon which I had cunningly disguised as a Triumph Herald convertible, with the intention of being the surprise newcomer at the Classic Car Grand Prix. The morning of the race was spent sipping a daiquiri at the Country Club. I was lost in thought preparing myself for the race when an unmistakable sound caught my attention, the foreboding growl of a Ford GT40 engine. Naturally I looked up for a glimpse of the magnificent metal beast. However no such vehicle was to be found in the Country Club car park. Where it should have been, an off-beige De Lorean was parked.  
 

 

 

"Strange," I thought to myself and settled back into my daiquiri.

The De Lorean driver happened then to choose the sun bed next to mine. I studied him briefly. He was a man older than his walk, ferociously handsome, with dark eyes and a dark curling moustache. With a strut and a moustache like that, I was certain he too was entering the race.

I tried to concentrate once more on my daiquiri. It was not long before I was distracted again. I could feel those dark eyes of my new neighbour staring at me. I am quite used to a little attention but this lacked the subtlety one would expect from a refined older man.

I tried to ignore him, it would not have been modest to acknowledge his attention, but the tension was developing like a suspender that has been adjusted too short and, before something snapped, tore, or ran, I decided to speak.

 
     

"Why have you put a Ford GT40 engine in a De Lorean?" I asked.

After a prolonged silence he said: "The entire chassis is a Ford GT40, only the body is De Lorean."

"You don’t take yourself seriously as a competitor then?" said I, somewhat precociously.

After looking too long at me again he began to smile, then chuckle, then laugh, with a power admittedly worthy of such a car. "On the contrary, my dear," he finally said.

Not keen on being patronised by endearments, particularly by strange men, I said rather rudely: "Do you intend to fly?" I was making an obscure reference to the gull-wing doors of the De Lorean.

My new fellow competitor must have understood as he replied: "Precisely!"

 
     

Already my story sounds extraordinary, even to my jaded ears but I should warn you now that this is not even an indication of the unearthly events that filled my summer. To discover, as I did, the true origins of my birth and infancy requires a patience and imagination not often found among today’s people. Forgive me if I do not cut to the quick of it, but I do not wish to omit what I consider the profound symbolism of many of the circumstances that led me to this new understanding, so, with that in mind, I will leave the rest for next time as I have no wish to exhaust you just now.

Until the next instalment,

your loving Gamine.

 

(to be continued…)