Captain Misery's Miserable Mishaps

It's all a load of bollocks, quite frankly

It’s not a Mini adventure, it’s a gargantuan pile of horse manure

A proper Mini

Literally millions of years ago, the British Motor Corporation launched the Mini. It was launched as the Austin Seven Mini and the Morris Mini Minor. Later versions would be launched such as the badge engineered Riley Elf and Wolseley Hornet, which were Minis with a hideous grille and a shoebox blue-tacked to the rear. Later we would see Cooper versions. In the late sixties BMC became British Leyland and the Mini Clubman was launched to replace the existing Mini. It failed.

In the early 80’s, BL launched the Metro to replace the Mini. It failed as the Mini outlived it. Nothing, it seemed, could capture the magic of the original. However, whilst the Mini (and especially the old Clubman and 1275GT) remains a firm favourite car of mine, we must remember the fact that the Mini lived on well past its sell-by date. True, it was technically a brilliantly packaged car. Front wheel drive and a transverse mounted engine it was far ahead of its time. It handled like nothing else and took on corners with consummate ease.

However, it was cramped, cold, noisy, bumpy, rusty and unreliable. In a few words, a little bit rubbish. And yet I still love the Mini so. About five years ago I managed to borrow a mid-sixties Cooper S, and it was without a doubt about the best fun I’ve had with my clothes on. Certainly one of my favourite drives, it was across the North Cliffs Portreath to Hayle road in Cornwall. Its steering, suspension and sheer eagerness gelled and this thing came alive. Certainly my daily hack (a nearly new Punto Sporting) seemed desperately dull in comparison. I’d subsequently driven 80s Minis and I got out with the same Cheshire Cat grin I’d gotten with that Cooper. To an extent I got the same sensation when having a go in an MG Metro.

I urge you to take an old Mini out, if you can get the bloody thing started that is. Chances are, when you eventually do, something will then break, the headgasket will go and the clutch will implode. But once all of these things are fixed and you’ve reattached the rotten subframes that fell off in the night, you will think why hadn’t I done this before?

All this preamble is supposed to get to a point, though as is my want, have managed to avoid it like an Anthony Gerrard penalty. I love the old Mini to bits. I even love the much-maligned Clubman. Hell, I’m even quite liking the early Metros these days. All of their flaws I’m prepared to overlook for the grin on my face I get when I drive one. The new BMW Minis though?

I’d like to drop a Top Gear piano on those, as much as I would a Marina. I drove a Works Cooper, and couldn’t understand the fuss. Sure, it handles nicely. Sure it goes around corners nicely, but there are lots of other cars that do so better, the old Mini being one of them. Sure it’s popular, but then so is the Clap and I’m not suggesting that’s good. It’s not a packaging miracle, like the old one. My Punto is smaller on the outside and bigger on the inside. It’s more comfortable too. The switches in my 12 year old Fiat feel more substantial and less flimsy than in the new Mini.

There are a few similarities to the old Mini, namesake apart. Size isn’t one of them, they’re bloody huge. Being cramped inside, however, is. The one thing BMW have managed to engineer in to the new Mini is its propensity to rust like the old one. And to burst into flames. And to break. They’ve also managed to make the supercharger sound like the whine from the sump-mounted gearbox from the old Mini. So, if I want a car that is cramped, fun, whines like a banshee and is likely to rot or fail as I’m driving along, I’ll either have an old Mini or stick with my Italian stuff.

Look at the size of that fucking thing compared with the original. This is the Mini "Cuntryman"

Just don’t get me started on these Mini spin-off models, the Clubfoot and the Cuntryman (sic). Oh bollocks, I got myself started. Oh well. Why make the already big Mini bigger? And uglier? The Clubfoot is a new interpretation of the old Countryman Mini estate, which essentially was a Minivan with windows and seats. It’s dreadful. Then there’s the current Countryman which is the modern interpretation of a bucket of sick. It’s bigger than bloody Redruth and it looks so bad it could scare children and scar them mentally for life.

BMW have launched a “Coupe” version of the Mini, which basically looks like someone stole The Stig’s helmet, melted it in the oven and the remnants poured over the car to create the roof. Now they’ve launched a van version, called the, erm, Clubvan. I wonder if they can do a GPO special edition finished in grey?

I’m just wondering how low BMW will now stoop, as they’ve passed scraping the bottom of the barrel, gone through the tarmac and are located somewhere within the Earth’s core. It smacks to me as they are in a situation where they’ve run out of ideas. There’s only so far you can go with retro design, and BMW have gone above and beyond the realms. Perhaps they’re now thinking of a reboot of the Mini pickup? Perhaps a Mini MiniMetro that will look a bit like the old Metro but will be the size of an articulated lorry. Every week there seems to be a new model in the line-up, a new concept. What’s next, the Mini NCC1701? It has to stop!

But it’s not just the car that I’m pushed away from. The owners, or at least those I’ve met, all have this air of superiority about them. Arrogance and smugness. People who seriously need to get over themselves, and their Mini. Estate agent types.

So, this was the story of one of my favourite cars and one of my least favourite cars. For me, the old “proper” Mini will always be a legend. Whereas the new, cheap (actually fucking dear) knock-off Mini will always be a bit of a leg-end.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.


March 9, 2012 Posted by | Motoring, Rants | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Customer Satisfaction… Is it worth it?

I work in the wonderful world of customer service. Working as a service manager in a car dealership is not really an ideal job to do but someone has to do. No one volunteered and I got stuck with it. Which basically puts me in the firing line for every single customer that has a complaint or worry regarding their car. Which is great, but when a car is one of the most expensive purchases you will ever make, people get very personal when something goes wrong.

I’ve been sworn at, shouted at, threatened with bodily violence and even semi-propositioned many, many moons ago. He wasn’t even that good-looking! Yes, you did read that correctly, HE. Anyway, there are some funny moments that occur, because customers can be really stupid. People you would swear were normal, intelligent people come across as completely retarded motherfucking bastards. Anyone who reads this and is a Facebook friend of mine will recognise these as nothing more than my regurgitated Facebook statuses. I’m that comitted to being original, oh yes!

Firstly, when ordering parts for your car, wouldn’t you think it would be a good idea to know what car it is? Conversation over the phone with someone this morning went along the lines of:

“I need a CV boot for my Alfa Romeo”
“Ok sir, what Alfa is it?”
“Ah, don’t know. It’s petrol!”
“Do you have a registration or chassis number so I can look up the parts?”
“Uh, don’t know it….”

Only minutes before that I was greeted, in person, by what can only be described as a moron. His went like  this:

“I’ve got a warning light on in my car”
“Ok sir, which warning light is it?”
“Well, I don’t know, it’s not on at the moment”.

Last week I was greeted by this little gem: “Do you sell Alfas, yeah?” Now I would have to think about that one long and hard. There is a huge great Alfa Romeo sign outside the showroom. Lots of Alfa Romeo servicing posters in the windows. Lots of Alfa Romeos outside the showroom. Lots of Alfa Romeos inside the showroom. Lots of Alfa Romeo brochures. Lots more Alfa Romeo signage inside. Quite clearly, then, we are a Toyota dealership.

My favourite one, however, dates back some years. A scooter owner contacting me to get a progress update on his mopedy thing.

“Hello, it’s me, I’m calling about my bike!”
“Ok, you, which bike is yours?”
“Oh, erm, it’s an (insert bike manufacturer here)”
“Very good, sir, we are a (insert bike manufacturer here) dealer and have about 50 of those, which one is yours?”
“The blue one”
“Ok, sir, that narrows it down to 46”
“It’s got red on it as well”
“Ok, that’s 42”
“Got some sport decals on the side”
“Ok, still 42. What did the bike come in for?
“It was broken”
“Ok, so we’re down to 15”
“What is the vehicle registration number?”
“Don’t know”
“What is your name then?”
“And the surname?” and without word of a lie, there was a thirty second pause as if he had to try to think what his name was.

I will update with more when I think of them. Have a nice day!



July 11, 2011 Posted by | Rants | 1 Comment

>Wake me up before he off roads

>Poor old George Michael, poor little soul, has had a hard time of late. Not only being arrested for some lewd acts and cruising and what not, but now he has finally been arrested and will be sent to jail.

Not that it’s taken long, he’s been had three times now for driving whilst under the influence of drug use. Stoned to you or me. That’s three times more than you or I would ever get away with and that’s what pisses me off. If we did it, we’d be put behind bars and banned from driving for 602 years. That is because we’re not famous. Unlike Georgie Boy who is famous for, other than his music, many dealings with the law. And he has the uncanny knack of getting away with it every time. Well, until now that is.

He’s going to jail. But don’t get too excited, he’s going to jail for eight weeks. Only eight weeks, for his third offence, third lot of recklessness and danger to other people, not to mention the writing off two perfectly good cars.  He was also ordered to pay a £1250 fine, £100 costs and a £15 victim surcharge. Now if you are not familiar with a victim surcharge, it’s basically a £15 levy added to any court costs and goes to the victim. So, the corner shop that George Michael drove into has been destroyed, but be rest assured the owner will receive the princely sum of £15. Yay, let’s all get stoned to celebrate. And drive into someone Else’s shop so they can get £15 to help their flourishing business.

According to the highly polished, accurate and informative news service (sorry, that should say the greatest work of fiction since Shakespeare) Gorge Michael has been banned from driving for five years, but that will no doubt be reduced to three minutes. He was also “in tears after being sentenced” and was also reported as stating “I can’t believe this has happened to me!”. Oh really, so you expect to drive whilst stoned and destroy someone’s shop and livelihood, and not expect anything to happen about it? You’re a bigger arse than I first thought.

You’re getting off (didn’t he do that before?) lightly dear boy, with your fortune you can afford those expenses and to pay £15 to Apu and his Kwik-E-Mart with consumate ease. Just think, the eight weeks will be over before you know it. It could be a lot worse. Now stop whining, crying and throwing a tantrum just because you’ve done something wrong and have to face the consequences. Get your giant egotistical head out of your arse and get on with it.

I’ll end this with a picture from one of my favourite websites Sniff Petrol. I need not say anymore. Except, sorry Sniffpetrol for plagiarising your caption for my title. Well, I’m not sorry, but I kind of needed to sound sincere. Worked, as you can see.

September 15, 2010 Posted by | Rants | Leave a comment

>Man to get Asbo for brushing teeth too loudly

>Well, actually that hasn’t happened yet, but no doubt before long it will.

We wonder why the country is in the economical state that it is in. Perhaps this news headline will go someway to explaining it. “Woman faces trial over noisy sex” on the highly informative and accurate news source MSN. A neighbour complained that a nameless woman called Caroline had been having “loud sex romps” with equally nameless husband Steve.

First off, this neighbour had complained that this noisy wife (a natural thing for a woman, anyway, not just in sex), was far too noisy to which she was issued a Anti Social Behaviour Order. An ASBO that bans her from having noisy sex. In her own home. So, what springs to mind here with Victor Meldrew living next door to Caroline and Steve is probably firstly, Victor isn’t getting any. Secondly, they’re married and still having “loud sex romps”. It’s a bonus surely that they’re married and STILL having sex, and Steve must sure as hell be doing something right for Caroline to be “overly noisy”! Thirdly, Women are noisy – end of, and the better for it. Who wants quietness? And why should a woman suppress her natural urges to express herself in the bedroom? Or indeed for that matter, why should a bloke? Lastly, Vicky Mildew needs to stop putting his glass and ear against the wall – he may hear less. And if you’re that bothered by the noise, do what most neighbours do and turn up the TV.

However, because Caroline could not partake in “quiet sex romps” (damn these pesky “quotation” “marks”), she is now going to face trial at Newcastle Crown Court. Which to me is the biggest waste of taxpayers money I can possibly think of. Not to mention petty and just downright pathetic that it has been allowed to get to trial in the first place. Even an ASBO is pushing it. In the whole scheme of things, it’s a bit silly really.

Now I know my neighbours for instance are the noisiest bunch of bastards I can think of, especially the children, forever shouting the deliciously chavvy names of “Bailey” and “Chelsea” at the topper most of their voices. Should they have ASBOS? No. Should they face trial? No. Should the cretin that decrees it acceptable to operate his car horn at 7AM every bloody morning have an ASBO? Or face trial? No, because, even though it’s fucking annoying, it’s still quieter than the birds that chirp incessantly outside my bedroom window.

So by that token with Caroline going to court, perhaps the birds should also. And at the same time, perhaps I should also be given an ASBO for “playing” bass guitar badly, and playing Beatles, Queen, Iron Maiden, Lightning Seeds and Volbeat records at really high volumes over the weekend.

This news headline comes on the same day that I read another news piece. Spa, an 80 year old race circuit in Belgium, which was around before most of the surrounding housing areas has been declared too noisy by the EU. Or rather when they have classic vintage racers around, the penpushers have been out with the noise meters declaring which vehicles can and cannot race due to “noise pollution”. Things such as vintage Ferraris, Porsches and Jaguars cannot race because they are “too noisy”?????

Stop the world, I want to get off.

June 29, 2010 Posted by | Rants | 1 Comment


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