Listen: Diddy Wah
Every human concept has a golden age and a mythical era, and for automobility, that time period is the immediate aftermath of WWII. Yes, Chuck Berry was the master of 12 bars and the power chord, but without mass production and the consumption of cars, rock and roll would simply not be a genre. Popular music goes with car radios, and it goes with driving from place to place. Yes, there are fake nostalgists and scenesters these days who spend too much money reenacting a fantasy postwar, with plastic sunglasses, Brylcreem and restored American cars from before the 1970s oil shock, arguing about each others’ authenticity, and mining the past, like drunken magpies with attention-deficit disorder, shamelessly for their own reprehensible ends. The best you can say about them is that they’re uncritically putting gender and racial equality into a time period which didn’t have very much of its own, and infuriating baby boomers, whose own past of genuine human experience—far more complicated and nuanced than the strictures and discipline of a ‘scene’—is being travestied. Diddy Wah thankfully manages to avoid this disgraceful and insufferable hipsterism. His latest entry goes by the title Heavy Sugar.
Read: Human transit
Jarrett Walker’s ‘Human transit’ isn’t about cars. It’s about systems, and how to think about moving large numbers of people from place to place. You can read the introduction to his book on his website, if you care about how we can think more consistently about transport problems, how our political institutions can approach them, and how our cities can move their citizens around more equitably, efficiently and democratically. You do, of course. Don’t pretend that you don’t.
Watch: Climb dance
You’ve probably seen C’etait un Rendezvous, the short film with no dialogue in which Claude Lelouch fangs a hotted up Mercedes Benz across Paris first thing in the morning. It’s inspired huge numbers of massive dickheads to imitate him on their motorbikes or sports cars, to a destination of youtube, the police, or serious injury and death—or all three. Well, you are going to enjoy Ari Vaatanen smashing the Pike’s Peak rally, a race to the top of a mountain so high that dealing with lack of oxygen is a major problem for driver and engine, in this six minute short film.