Well then... Having not been to a race, or in the mood to convey my thoughts on this site, for a while I thought this thread might have been "archived" in the switch over to the new format. Nope...it's still "LIVE"
So ...I had better post something then hadn't I?
You wouldn't happen to have anymore pictures of Françoise Hardy on the set of Grand Prix.
Over the past year or so I have noticed that the professionals have picked up what I have so casually discarded. That is to say, the adventures of the "Three Amigos" are now serialised in a column available via the Telegraph. Not only that...They actually have access to things.
Start the Clock !!! Jp's 'cross the globe odyssey' begins NOW..
Our tour coordinator has just bundled me into the van and departure from Ataturk airport is in 2 hrs. I change at Heathrow for Chicago then a short flight to Cinci where I rent pick up a cheap and cheerful rental and drive up I-74 to a northside hotel in Indy. First stop..Attempt to get to The Burger Bash by 7pm Friday Then a few hours sleep before watching Monaco qualy and a trip to the Speedway to say hello to a friend, pick up my scanner, watch the Champions League final and maybe even the Nationwide race. But it's gonna be an early night as we will leave for the track at daybreak (I HATE traffic..and so do my friends coming with)
I'll exchange the 72 virgins in Jannah and eternal blah blah blah for my own personal paradise.
Sorry for not posting sooner but... (insert lame 'having too much fun to waste time on Autosport' excuse here) What a great day it was here at the Speedway. The night before I was privileged to get to chat to one of my all time favorite Indy500 drivers. Mr.Johnny Rutherford related some funny Pace Car stories and told me how NO ONE was as proficient at the job as James Garner.
After convincing the dullard of a yellow shirt, who stood blocking the entrance to his parking lot, that the people who need to park there should be able to turn right off 16th street I was happy to receive the plaudits from the pissed-off race goers in the car park queue.. One even shoved a beer in my hand (at 7:30 am) "I'll take you up on that upon our departure" I said. His is the spirit and joie de vivre of the 300,000 rabid fans that make the sojourn to this event every year. These are..My People.
Straight to 16th&Georgetown to soak up the early atmosphere. GodWhackers, scalpers,hawkers and gawkers all congregate to do just as I do...'check it out'. Being 'early doors' I had no issues with the revised search policy and got inside in about 45 seconds...others I hear were not as lucky. Keith Duncan and I went up to Rossco's fabulous TOWERSWEET only to find it empty, barring the attendant, so I filled up on brekkie before heading down to the pits and paddock for a snoop.
One's access to restricted areas are determined by 2 things here. 1) What credential you have 2) How good you are at creating a diversion towards the aforementioned yellowshirts..like the evergreen "OOHH LOOK, SHINY TOY" I usually use the latter but had the right pass today.
As soon as I got to the paddock I saw the hardest working schmooze woman in racing doing her thing. Talking a great race... I don't know how she does it but if self-promotion and stick-at-it-tude was rewarded she would be in a Penske seat. But it isn't. Hung out with my benefactors for a bit when Gordon Kirby came up for a chinwag..not with me mind you, although he did recognise me from back in the days of yore, but with the person of interest smiling in the background."What's the deal" Kirby asked. "For some reason..We are SHIT" was Hull's reply. Gordon has more anecdotes and info about racing than I've had hot dinners.
Walking back to the transporters I eavesdropped on a local TV interview where the reporter asked a driver... "What's your biggest fear around here now that you've gotten the worst out of the way" "Not getting a good result" was the answer he offered. Oh dear...It seems there are drivers who just have bad Indy JuJu..
The race was enthralling. I cannot stress how important it is for anyone calling themselves a race fan to attend this event. It DOES NOT transfer to TV in anyway shape or form like it does when you are a part of it.
At the end of it, when the place erupted for TK, I went down to return my scanner ..only to find a gate open behind the Pagoda entrance. Grabbing the chance with both hands I was heartened to see Yellowshirts and Indiana State Police accosting some poor idiot trying to jump the fence. With diversion in place I sashayed into the winners circle and got right next to the celebrations. I shouted out "Você vai ficar bêbado hoje à noite" He looked over and I snapped this.
Jp gets his hot-diggity-gigitty-boogity on..Y'all.
I had a girlfriend in College named Diane Gudmunsted. A free spirited lass from Sveltstad Norway.
She had an AMC Pacer and the back deck (boot) was kitted out with throw rugs and pillows and exotics oils.
A veritable tantric knocking shop, as long as you were prostrate...I STILL have that welt on the top of my head from the big back window.
She taught me everything I know.
That Pacer went up in flames at the cast party for LAVC Theatre Arts production of Cabaret after my assistant, Lacy Overall, threw her highball into the front seat along with a lit Sherman cigarette. The words she murmured were something to the effect of... 'He gave her class / she gave him sex.'
A few years later I went to Riverside Raceway to see my first, and to this date only, NASCAR race.. The Budweiser 400
I got a call from Diane's father asking me if I was driving her to the race...
I said "What?..Diane? going to the race?..First I had heard of it."
Oh Yes..She's the trophy girl, has been for 3 years.
And so it was, on the occasion of RCR's first ever victory Diane stood proud in her flimsy blue wraparound skirt and flowing Norse mane.
In 2003 I was gifted a job as a Production Coordinator for the Autosport Awards show at the Albert Hall.
Having worked the previous 2 years at the Albert Hall for these shows I observed that the NEC Arena was a rather soulless and antiseptic venue after the stints at the Albert.
But then this trend is in keeping with most F1 venues these days isn't it...?
The evening started OK but went downhill rather quickly.
I was originally tasked with looking after the sweet and gentle Beverly Turner
Poor Bev was given no instructions at all before she was unleashed onstage with a totally new script owing to the many no-shows. She then had to wait for the TelePrompter to be changed before each vignette. I did feel sorry for her but Martin Brundle kept her spirits up with tales of the hilarity backstage This comedy consisted of the replacement artists for the said no-shows, namely The Cheeky Girls
They were not as entertaining as the reaction to them was by the hounding press pack.
I then had an idea that was a little stroke of genius...Let's get Ron in a photo op with these little hotties !!
So I asked him if he would mind doing a photo call and he sheepishly said "I don't have a problem with that..Sure".
Back on stage...
Eddie Jordan's band contained one Keith Prior, a friend of mine from THE CURE tours I did...but back then he was the drum tech not the LEAD drummer?.....So now Keith carries Eddie 'tempo issues' Jordan, on a platter, musically speaking of course
I was a bit nonplussed over the events on stage and as it turned out I saw a disgruntled production assistant announcing that there were 'thousands of BernieAwards®' in the open Fed-Ex truck outside !!
Great Door Stops these things make !!
After that I took the opportunity to have a few words with Christiano De Matta....He was very nice and told me a few CART Party stories...He too thought the fuss over the Transylvanians a bit much and as we agreed that Brazilian girls tend to make the rest pale into insignificance, he said Boa Noite and retired
I took this as a cue myself, as the show was now up to an hour overtime I thought...Better head to the bar before last call....I was not alone in those thoughts.
Upon my arrival I found most of the Autosport staff, a few familiar faces (and a famous jaw line) knocking 'em back I dove into the fray and before I knew it ...I too was well oiled..At one point the discussion turned to height (Justin Wilson etc) and it was suggested I attempt to squeeze in the car sitting in the entrance to the ballroom
I removed the steering wheel..(I know how to do this now) and In I jumped I fit in fine..No Problems....However I ruined the retaining clip while attempting to re attach the steering wheel....yet AGAIN!! *
I awoke the next morning remembering nothing....Good thing I took pictures....
Now, if I can only get them in focus next time.....
Ah memories! Loved that bar in Montmello, we waited there for the queue for the train to die down too. Great Patisserie in the village too - 2 crossiants and eight small cans of beer for the price of one cup of Skippy P!ss at the circuit.