Adieu Not Goodbye… But Thank You

Unlike the previous weeks, I don’t have a plan for what I’m about to write. I am, completely and utterly making it up as I go along, so please excuse the following, as it may contain “thought like dribble”, because, as I’ve just said- it’s all going to be improvised.

I’m writing this a few weeks in advance, knowing that the day it is released, is the second performance for me playing the lead role in the production of “Our House”. And that’s not all either, I have lots of exciting things coming up where I am required on stage. That does, however, mean that, for the time being, I’m going to park my blog aside, not to collect dust, but just to give you the chance to maybe flick back to some of my earlier articles and give them a read, and also to give me time to focus on the productions I’ll be working on over the next few months.

I do know that, abandoning the blog for an extended period of time sounds a little but unprofessional, but I recently got the results back from a drama exam I did a few months ago; LAMDA it’s called, and I was so pleased with my results, I have decided that as of October, I will be auditioning for drama schools, which is very exciting, but before all of that, I haven’t appeared in any local productions for a while, so just to show the people of my town that I’m still here, I’m going to make sure I’m around a little before I disappear to a city… Scary stuff! To enable me to do this, and avoid being drowned by the consistant work that is A-Levels, I’m going to wish you a fond farewell for a while, just so that I am able to keep on top of all of this.

I started this blog nearly a year ago, after being told that the school newspaper I was writing for didn’t have enough support, and sadly had to be scrapped. This is NOT what is happening to Tom’s Chit Chat, in fact, it is the complete opposite. I’m finding that the readership is growing each week, which is amazing. I’m a little upset I have to leave it for a while, but I will definitely be back before the New Year, and hopefully be back by the Summer. But, I’m going to play it from here. No plan, no idea what is happening, just relax for a bit, then get very busy! Which for me, the gap between now, and getting busy again will be very tricky, because I can’t sit down on the sofa without twidelling my thumbs- I have to keep busy!

I hope you enjoyed the last lot of blogs I’ve written, you may be pleased to know, as I am as pleased to say, that car reviews won’t be making a return when I do. I was trying to be someone I’m not, which when I’m on stage is fine, but acting as a car journalist from behind a screen is much more difficult than it looks, so I’ve decided to leave it to the professionals. I also think that it is important that I tell you I thought the reviews don’t work, because it seems like ages ago, but when I sat down to write the very first article for this site, I quoted one of the most cheesiest phrases in the world; “this is our blog, not mine.” But that is something I do stand by. It does mean, however, that what will be featuring, is the subject I could write for years about, and still have more to say after that- acting. I just want to give it a go, and see if it works. To balance the books alongside that, I’ll also be throwing in a few controversial opinion pieces too- I promise you they havent gone!

I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to my readers, it’s you that has kept me writing over the last few months, and has kept me enjoying it! I would specifically like to thank my close family and friends, for their continued support, it means the world!

The performing arts industry has been my whole life, and it seems such a shame to forget all about it just after I finish my Sixth Form studies, which is why, I’m giving myself this chance to push myself and prepare myself for it, and I hope you understand my reasoning. Thank you all so much for the support, you are all brilliant.

For the last time in a while, this is me, signing off,

Thanks for reading and the awesome support you have shown, and take very good care of yourselves,

Thomas x

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Mansplaining: It’s Just Bloke-Baiting Really

The English Language has many different words for different things, and one I want to talk about this week is the word “neologism”. This lexicon is simply a posh word for a new type or new found word into the English Language. Like LOL, or YOLO. One of the new found words I’ve found rather recently, which I thought would be good to take the mick out of is “mansplaining”. This links quite closely to what I was talking about last week, with the whole political correctness gone mad malarky.

It’s simply a neologism which has been made up by overreacting women.

Paul McCartney once said in a song “in this ever-changing world in which we live in, makes you give in and cry” and until recently, I never really understood what it meant, then I looked at the swear word in our society that is feminism, and thought well… I might just have a thought…

Mansplaining. It’s simply a made-up word for a made-up phenomenon in the made-up world that we live in and it gets even worse when we bring in the sod of an adverb that is, “actually”. I mean, if you think about it, every single argument between a man and a women must either start or at some point involve the word “actually”, the use of this lexeme if used by a man would either result in a smack in the mouth, or you’re wife leaving you… or even both. There seems to be something about the word that suggests you’re suddenly a superior human being. Even if you’re wrong and you still say it by correcting the second party in an argument, you still appear to have a bigger social standing, when we both know you don’t… in fact, the only thing you do seem to look when you eventually realise that you’re wrong is a pretty big tit. This verb is known more commonly as mansplaining.

Once upon a time, an example of a tit was called Michael Gove, he once said that we needed “experts” in specific fields of the education system. We now know him as the environment secretary, who appears to be listening to a panel of said “experts” on how to do his job… Oh, how the tables have turned… I mean what a colossal tit!

By using the amazing adverb “actually”, he must be cursing the Lord’s name as he sits in his cabinet meeting quietly saying “erm… actually… can I have a turn at being Cabinet Minister” to which everyone must turn round comically and sarcastically say “actually… no… “ the silences must be riveting.

I would just like to end on one question, men are accused of mansplaining, but what about Michael? I mean, I can only presume that the “experts”  that he speaks to are predominantly women, and for a woman to explain something to a man, is a whole different story…

In all fairness, mansplaining is a serious matter, which should be taken seriously. We are now living in the 21st century, and it’s important that we reflect that or something. I was saying to my mate the other day when I told her I was writing this, I should point out. I am a feminist. Mansplaining can be a bit of fun to poke fun at, but can also seem like your being a bit silly at the same time… See what I did there?

So, Sir Paul McCartney was right, we really do live in an ever-changing world, and actually, most of it is due to mansplaining… Do you get that?

Hope you enjoyed that, bit of fun and a laugh… NOT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY!

Thomas

PC GONE MAD?!?!?

‘Using politically correct language at all times is something, we must all aim towards.’

Or that is how Jeremy Corbyn; leader of the Labour party, would have you believe.

If I were to be an MP for the Labour party, well firstly, I would have to gauge my eyes out with a spoon, because it’s dull. In fact, I’m not even sure I’d be allowed to do that, due to the fact that I haven’t considered the Health and Safety risks of pronging my eyes out with a spoon. Also, if you were a politically correct person, you would probably argue that I wouldn’t be able to do that anyway because after I yanked one eye out I would bleed to death before being able to prize the other. You may also pick at the fact that a spoon would not be the politically correct tool to use. Instead, I would be given a tool with a jargon-type name, that is almost impossible to pronounce of which I could do it efficiently. With a risk assessment of course.

It’s 2018 for goodness sake, what is the world coming to? Well, I can tell you exactly what it’s coming to, a bunch of complete half-wits that think Brexit just means we will all be better off. See what I did there? To add to political correctness type stuff, I used hypophora to answer my own rhetorical question.

If you haven’t guessed already, my views on political correctness are about as solid as Donald Trump’s wall. I just don’t really see the point? “Oh, to look at this grammatically, well from a lexical point of view.” And they all just use language like that too! Language that nobody really understands. Yes, I see that it is very important that in public speaking and writing, we are all dreadfully careful what we say and write. But I just fail to see what all the big fuss is about? Will being politically correct help the poor? No. Will it solve world hunger? Nope. What about world peace? Not that either. Can it stop world war three? Not a chance. And what about the likelihood of Kim Jong Un launching a nuclear airstrike on US military soil? That’s only a matter of time anyways. So what would it stop or prevent? Well, it just puts a P45 redundancy letter into all members of the Green Ink Brigade and, crosses off an item of Jeremy Corbyn’s to-do list next time he’s talking utter nonsense in the Houses of Parliament. That’s just about it.

I actually asked my mate about this the other day, and he looked at me as if I had two heads and said in the most Cumbrian voice I have ever heard yet, “eh?”

Which is exactly my point, why should any of us care about being correct on a political level? If we look at it, there’s only really the socialists and the Green Ink Brigade who care anyway, and what the hell do they know?

My column won’t be here next week because on Wednesday Jeremy Corbyn will campaign about the strong concrete noun I just used of socialists. He’ll probs pull me up for saying that they are an example of a concrete noun too. And the use of elision: “probs”.

Ah well, the world still turns. Can I say that?

McLaren P1: Review

The La Ferrari, Porsche 918 and the McLaren P1 have been named as the most brutal, iconic and special cars ever to come out a factory in the 21st century. They are all engineering masterpieces at the max, and then some. They are the cars of the century.

In my opinion, one of the greatest cars ever made is the staggering, stunning and superb, McLaren P1. This is why, in this little run of writing I’ve been doing on cars over the last few weeks, I’ve left my favourite to last.

No hypercar, or in fact car, can turn my stomach more than the beast that is the P1.

Image result for McLaren P1, Laferrari and 918 from front
Welcome everyone to the hypercar ‘Holy Trinity’ Pic: TG

I feel like this because, and you may have formed your own opinions from the image above the text, but I just think that the P1, is just the most dramatic thing I have ever seen in my life. Journalist Jeremy Clarkson, once said that the P1 should have been called the “widowmaker” because it is that mind-bogglingly fast, he was certain it would kill someone.

Image result for McLaren P1, Laferrari and 918 Grand Tour
Matching the power Pic: TGT

I know for a fact that, earlier last year, a McLaren P1 was sold at an auction for £1.8 million, which means that to own one, your pockets must be as big as your ego, because if you were to drive around the streets of London, sitting in your P1 looking at all the poor people using buses and taxis, then you would be pulled out and stoned to death for taking the mickey out of them. The P1 is the meaning of the word statement.

Image result for McLaren P1, Laferrari and 918
The hyper hypercars Pic: Autoweek

McLaren only made 375 of these cars, simply because they were as expensive to make, as they are to buy. But, it’s all well and good me just saying things, I’m sure that as a reader, you want to find out more about how astonishing this machine actually is.

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The McLaren P1 Pic: TG

Like the Aventador I talked briefly about a few weeks ago, looking at this car in action gives all petrol-heads the fizz. It looks astonishingly brilliant. If I were to be in charge of this country, I would give the original designer of this car a knighthood. To be able to drive this car, you have to be pretty confident that you’re, a.) a decent driver b.) have enough money to be able to afford one, and c.) have written a will.

*McLaren actually made this car with special seats, just so that any soil that happens to be left in your underpants doesn’t soak into your trousers.*

The P1 is a hybrid, which means that it has both a petrol and electric engine working in tandem to power the car along. It also has a carbon fibre tub, like a Formula One car, which means that the body, is all more or less, one big bit of material. It is, however, not like an F1 car, or La Ferrari, as they both have a KERS system, which means that the cars can’t be driven on either electrical or petrol power alone. They use both. The P1, on the other hand, can drive on electrical power only.

The P1 even has a thing called an IPAS button, and when you push it, an extra shot of power is provided… INSTANTLY! Now, I will be honest, in that, if you were to drive the P1, on electrical power only, you would only get 19 miles before it had run out of charge. The good thing about this though, is you can then fire up the 3.8 litre, twin turbo V8. By doing this, the horsepower is increased from electric to petrol, which means you go from having a bit, to a lot. The P1 produces 903BHP in petrol mode, will do 0-62MPH in 2.8 seconds, and has a top speed of 217MPH. While the petrol engine is being used, what it is actually doing is charging up the batteries from the electric engine, so that you get to use them again once you run out of petrol. This will be highly unlikely, though because the P1 actually does 34 miles to the gallon.

The tech on the P1 is more than clever, it has a hydro-pneumatic suspension set, just like an old French Citroen. The best thing about this though is that it has a special system that monitors the surface you are racing on, so while you are busy concentrating on smashing corners and lap records, the car is figuring out ways of going even faster.

The car is actually very light, this could be down to things like the bonnet being bolted shut like an Alfa Romeo 4C, as it only weighs 1547kg. To put that into reasoning you might understand, a VW UP! GTi hatchback weighs 1070kg, so there is only about a 400kg or so difference.

It’s fairly understandable, why I think that this is the best car ever made by any manufacturer ever. And it just tops it off that, the manufacturer in question just so happens to be British.

Thomas

*I did actually make that bit up…

Aston Martin Vulcan: Review

A car that takes off from RAF Waddington, refuels in the Ascension Islands and then goes onto the Falklands… It would do all of that in a split second too. I tell no word of a lie, this is one of the best cars to come out of a briefing which was no doubt, full of men in suits. This thing is like a space shuttle. And I’m not just going from the performance here, I mean the looks. It’s like something that was designed by a 12-year-old in the back of a maths book.

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The Aston Martin Vulcan Pic: Autocar

To drive this car, you do need to have an extra large pair of gentleman balloons. But, most importantly, a large wallet, because the Vulcan has no intention of allowing you to keep any of your inheritance, once you have bought one.

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From the back. The vicious Vulcan Pic: Autocar

But today, I’m not here to go on about how big your you know what’s are, to be able to drive this thing. I’m here to give it a good and honest review. Which is exactly what it deserves.

So, Aston Martin wanted to make a car that, would adhere to no rules and no faffy regulations. This is what they came up with. Doesn’t it look absolutely awesome? It should do too because the price tag, which it is attached to is just as cool as the car. The Vulcan costs £1.8 million, and for that, you don’t even get to keep it in your garage or drive it on the road. What you get instead, is a team of professional mechanics from Aston Martin to deliver your car to a racetrack of your choice, along with a professional racing driver to teach you how to drive it, without ending up a tree, and killing yourself.

The Aston comes with a few driving modes, as you first dislocate your limbs to get in it; because this is not an easy car to climb into, but what you will need to do is turn down the seven litre V12 to the least setting, just to get comfortable with it. Now, when you do this, the engine will produce 500BHP. At this speed, nothing is scary at all, other than the vibrations and the noise which the car makes. Because it makes one hell of a noise, even at slow speeds. The main problem though is the rattles, and vibrations it makes, it is a little disconcerting, however, the main racket comes from the huge squeaking brakes, which sounds like you’ve stood on a piglet.

Other problems include the fact that the windows don’t wind down, so if you are hounding round a track at 160MPH, if the speed doesn’t kill you, the sweatbox you are sitting in, almost certainly will.

When your Aston test driver comes to show you the ropes on the racetrack of your choice, they won’t show you the car with the engine settings on the least setting, what they will do instead, is show you how to work the car, with the settings turned up- to the max.

When this happens, the car will be producing 820BHP, with speeds that hurt my head to even think about. It will do 0-60 in 2.9 seconds, and blast through to its top speed of 208MPH. So, if you do buy a Vulcan, make sure the mechanics arrive at the track with an extra pair of underpants.

If you are unhappy with the position of things like the rear wing angle, roll bars, brakes or suspension, then they can all be adjusted by the huge team of mechanics that arrive at the track with your car, specifically to suit your personal driving style. How cool is that!?!

After four or so hours on your track day, with your Vulcan, you will begin to fall in love with the car. But, more importantly, you will begin to understand it and trust it. At first, it may seem like the Vulcan is a deathtrap that wants to kill you, but once you are at one with the car, you will feel confident enough to fling this around Rouse at Spa in Belguim and know for a fact that you will be okay on the other side.

I know for a fact that, the Vulcan went around a circuit in Italy, 9 seconds faster than the McLaren P1 went round the same track. Now, to you, 9 seconds may not sound like a lot, but in car terms, that’s a century.

The Vulcan was made in the Aston Martin factories, out of spare parts that were just lying around, so really, what this car is then, is a celebration of what cars used to be like in the past. And I don’t think we should ever forget that.

Thomas

Ford GT: Review

I seem to have gone back in time, to the olden days of my writing when I left everything to the night before. Because, at lunchtime yesterday, I realised it was Monday, and I had absolutely nothing at all planned for today. So I’ve whacked this up, rather quickly…

The fast and furious Ford GT is a car like no other. Armed to the teeth with a twin turbo V6, which produces 647 brake horsepower. It’s not exactly Ferarri or Lamborghini standard, but then again, this isn’t a Ferrari or Lamborghini. In fact, it’s a totally different animal.

Around a track, a Ferrari or Lamborghini would simply prance around the corners. The GT will demolish them. On a track day, the Ford GT is designed to be soo much better than anything, that was made in Europe- which is, simply because it’s just much more of an exciting driving experience.

There are more driving modes on this car, than what there is on the Apollo space shuttles. My favourite, however, is track mode. Simply because, when you tell the car to do this, it violently lowers the suspension; which snaps your spine in two, it engages the anti-lag system, raises the rear wing as if a fighter jet preparing for take-off, and stiffens the suspension by 100 percent.

Another, of my favourite modes this car holds, is its vicious V-Max mode. This stiffens, absolutely every mechanical thing, right down to the grip of the tyres, on the surface. It also means that this car achieves speeds of up to 216MPH, and flatten a 0-60MPH time of 2.8 seconds.

The first GT was absolutely and astonishingly amazing and brilliant in every way. Other than, if you parked it and somebody walked within four yards of it, an air rade siren would be set off. It would also go off when you didn’t want it too, like when your children are debuting in the school play, or being baptised, the list goes on. Other problems with the old car were that it was too big, both width and lengthwise and when you parked it, it felt like you needed a bus, not a car license. The fuel tank was the size of a watering can, and it was impossible to see out of the front windscreen. The old car was designed to set lap records, as should any Ford GT. This one, however, somehow just isn’t.

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Flipping fast Ford GT Pic: YouTube

This car is the best and most expensive car Ford has ever made. It was all actually made under the microscope and radar of Ford’s management, by a team of very small people… when I say “small people”, I don’t mean Umpa Lumpa’s, I mean a small group of people.

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Bottoms up! Pic: MotorTrend

The problems with the new GT just get bigger and better. I mean, this one is even longer, and wider than the old one, the windscreen is the size of a hairpin, and amazingly, the fuel tank is even smaller. The steering wheel is too big, ugly and difficult to use.

The main two problems I find with this car though, are firstly, the idea that when you sit in it, the seat, is in a fixed position, so it doesn’t move. What you have to do to move closer to the best comfortable position is, adjust the steering wheel, which moves it closer to you, and you do that by pulling on a sort of ratchet strap thing. My problem with this is that you get no indication from the car that it is fixed, so when braking, how do you know if you are actually braking, or just pushing the whole panel further away? Problem, number two is the heart of the beast. The idea that a £420,000 supercar has only been fitted with a V6… For that price, you should be getting a V8- at least!

I do actually know why Ford has done this- to save weight. This GT is one of the lightest cars Ford has ever made. It is very light, this comes mostly, from its carbon fibre tub. The only real downforce it gets is from the air passing over the body, and from its own clever aerodynamic system.

The GT’s brakes and steering are absolutely awesome, it’s not a gentle car at all, it’s absolutely mad.

That’s what makes this car an epic grand tourer.

Thomas

The English Language Is Endangered – Let’s Save It

Language is in decline. We’re all doomed. Or so the likes of John Humphrys; the grumpy old broadcaster from the BBC would have us believe. The way that they can tell that the English Language, (you know, that sacred lexicon of untouchable grammatical rules?) is under threat is all down to the fact of the matter is that the Polish people in our country can’t speak a word of English. We should give up all hope. Humphrys made his point though, we are under threat as a language. This is why you are all spitting out your cornflakes this morning as you read this because you think that I’m about to be extremely uncouth and a moron.

The statement I made before, about Polish people not being able to speak a word of English are not my own words, but the choice of John Humphrys. This is a man, that in the journalism world, I have always admired because as a writer, he is far from afraid to skate on an ice rink, full of thin ice. His choice of language has always been so nail-biting, you feel he will be locked up afterwards. He was always someone that as a young writer, I could look up to. That was obviously all before he put his career in jeopardy, as he came under fire in the national papers as a sex pest.

Anyways, Humphrys made his point. We are all doomed. I mean, the use of the coordinating conjunction “and” at the beginning of a sentence, would send Humphrys bananas. Not to mention the far right grammatical Police that is the Green Ink Brigade. These blokes must love just picking at faults with grammar for fun. What imbeciles. If you are unsure what they do or are, then briefly, they are the grammar Nazis that ensure all political correctness to be, “on point”, I think is the word they would use.

I mean, sod all the use of hyperbole or use of exclamatives, these lot think that it’s the end of the world because the Queen of writing; J.K.Rowling, can’t put an apostrophe in the right place- WHO CARES?!?!?

Back to Humphrys, the one thing that really takes the mick is when he complains about the misuse of the transitive, (not intransitive) verb; “Enjoy”. Very Green Ink Brigade(ey). Can you tell I did that just to annoy them? Then, much to my annoyance, he proceeds to continue to be rude by using the rhetorical question “whatever do they teach you in Polish schools these days?!?” He says this to insinuate that all waitresses come from Poland, as a waitress is clearly not considered to be a high class or well-paid job.

This weeks title links to this, as what I’m trying to say this that, obviously Humphrys has a problem with foreigners coming over to this country to live and work. He’s saying that so many foreign people live here and nobody can speak a word of English, it’s at risk of being as extinct as a T-Rex. I suppose that if we continue to all behave and abuse the English Language the way that Humphrys does, he’s very very right. We are all doomed. Or words to that effect.

Thomas

*The views expressed to a far point of view in this article are for the comical effect of Thomas’ writing. In his writing, he his referring to a chapter from the book written by journalist, writer and broadcaster John Humphrys.*

Bugatti Chiron: Review

I’m going to begin as a very unprofessional, unpredictable and non-petrol-head like car journalist.

I think that one of the worst looking cars ever made was, the Bugatti Veyron. I hated the styling of the front, it was almost like it had been sat on by a heard of elephants. The shame of this, however, was that when it was first released, it was considered the milestone and Concorde moment in the book of motoring. It was also mind-bogglingly fast. It still didn’t change the fact that I thought it should be rolled down the side of a cliff. Now though, it’s had a baby, and my God it is good.

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Bugatti Chiron Pic: Autocar

It’s called the Chiron. An all-new, all fast, all re-worked version of its predecessor and I can tell you now, it looks absolutely fantastic. And, it has completely top-trumped its ancestors. By MILES!

I can’t put this anymore bluntly than, this is the fastest car in the world.

Yup.

It’s like a space-hopper, literally.

The Bugatti boffins do actually advise that, when you get to drive this, you wear more than one layer of pants, just so that you don’t follow through and shit yourself to death. I made that bit up.

In all seriousness though, this car was designed and made to set lightning speed records around tracks, but also to set bedroom wallpapers, and to take photos of while driving around slowly in St Tropez. Simply because this car looks epically dramatic. And it should too, because the price tag of which it comes with is just as equally dramatic, at £2.5 million. In words, that may not sound like much, so let’s pop that into numbered form. This car costs £2,500,000. Does that stand out a little better now?

This thing is the maddest mid-engined supercar that I’ve ever reviewed, ever. It has two V8’s slammed together to make a 1479BHP, eight-litre quad-turbo beast W16 engine. It has 16 cylinders. The Chiron will smash doing 0-62MPH in just under 2.9 seconds. It will then blast on to do 0-186MPH, faster than it takes an everyday hatchback to do 0-60. The Bugatti has been electronically LIMITED a top speed of 261MPH. The key word; “limited” in that sentence is very important because that means that, the designers of this car could have made it a hell of a lot faster, but they didn’t want to have all 500 owners of their customers killed.

That’s what also brilliantly, juxtaposes this car. If you were doing 17MPH around the Italian backstreets, or the ports of St Tropez, the ride in the Chiron would simply feel like the UP! GTi.

The Bugatti Chiron has been judged exactly to perfection, it rides exquisitely. It should too, as each tyre that the Chiron is balanced on, costs twice as more than a Toyota Aygo, at £13,000 each. The pocket burning hole in your trousers does, however, mean that on the foothills of the Alps you can make a mile, feel like centimetres.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that under the microscope, the Chiron does have some issues, but I won’t be writing about them today, because, for the moment, I’m not really in the position to take a point off a car, which I can’t afford.

The monstrous W16 sucks in 15,850 gallons of air every minute. All of that is to cool the huge engine, assisted by the 10 radiators it’s been equipped with. It’s got a bigger heating and cooling system, than my house! These radiators pump 200 gallons of water around the engine, every minute. That’s enough to brim a bath in 12 seconds, and put out a small house fire afterwards.

This is one hell of an expensive machine. Not just to design, but to make. I mean the grill badges are made of sterling silver, the speakers are fitted with 3K diamonds, and all of that doesn’t matter to the Russian man who owns one. I’m finding that as I review the Chiron, the numbers just get bigger and bigger and bigger, for example, the petrol bill for this also won’t be cheap since if the Chiron is going flat out, it will drain its tank in nine minutes. If you are a teenager and want to understand that a little bit better, then it’s the exact same as drinking seven shot glasses, full of petrol, every second.

All of these numbers, really shouldn’t matter to the businessman who buys one of the 500 Bugatti Chiron for sale, since a recent survey found that the average Bugatti owner already has 42 cars, a jet, three helicopters, a hotel with their own private pool, and a villa in somewhere like the South of France or Barbados.

If you are one of those people and are reading this, then it might be nice to know that, if you are thinking of buying a Chiron, it’s available in 23 exterior colours, alternatively, any object that you take to Bugatti, they will scan the colour and paint a car to match it. It could be your bedsheets, your watch or bangle colour or even skin colour; they will match whatever you come to them with. It also comes with, 31 main interior colour options, 18 shades of carpet, and 11 colours of seatbelt- there are more colours on offer than what there is in the rainbow!

This car is a technological masterpiece. Bugatti has just made it a very pleasant, spacious and nice place to sit, while the car gets on with the job of absolutely smashing continents.

I said earlier, that it was as comfortable as a VW UP! GTi and that is partly down to the seven-speed DSG gear transmission which helps to seamlessly drift through the gears. It also has four-piston brake callipers that house eight individual brake pads, for when you are aiming to set lap records. As you are leaning off of the edge of cliff faces on delicate, mountain roads, you are able to appreciate the actual discipline put in by each of the eight brake pads, which are possible to put the driver up to forces as strong as 2G; which means that you will definitely lose your face.

On a mountain road though, the Chiron feels heavy and weighted, not like pushing an elephant off a cliff, but it feels like it’s own force of gravity is exerting itself on the ground. And, it does that all so finely, that I’m actually struggling to find the right words for it. This car does something, which I’ve never experienced before while writing about them. Which is leave you lost for words.

Why do we want to bring driverless cars in with such a rush? Such brilliant cars are still being made, and I think, they’ve only just begun.

Hidden Talent Production

I’ve decided to write this because, in exactly two weeks time, I’ll be doing a little fundraiser at school to help towards my Tanzania expedition next summer.

I’m writing this so that I can tell you how I’ve found the whole experience of organising a show from the drawing table, to auditions, then to the first performance. But it’s mainly because, there was a space in the programme, which I took as great advertising space and promo material for the blog, however, I was told that I would actually have to write about the event if I wanted to plug it in the programme. And here we are.

The original plan was actually changed a few weeks ago, as I was due to be hosting the show, but had to pull out due to just being unbelievably busy with other things. Then, just to add to my busy schedule, besides writing an article on my experiences, the hosts who were put in my place thought that being on a stage, on their own was too frightening. So, I have been chucked back into the frame again and, told to sod the script and go in freelance. Which was interesting.

In saying that, I don’t actually go on for two weeks, but as I’m writing this column a few weeks in advance, I’m not too sure of what could crop up in the meantime. It could honestly be anything!

My main issue with the whole thing has been the ridiculous prospect of the modern day ‘Health and Safety’ system. It’s an absolute farce. I’ve actually given a man a job, just on this matter. And he actually likes it too. Hand on heart here, the first health and safety meeting I was dragged into a couple of weeks ago was absolutely hilarious- mind you, I was actually the only one that found it even the slightest bit comical, as everybody else was very serious, and I got a stern stare from everybody else in the room as I began to mock the ideas of noting down touching a tea or coffee urn. I’ve since made a mental note, that the next meeting I go into, if there is a selection of biscuits on the table, but they are never touched, it’s not the place to muck about.

Hidden Talent Logo. Artist: Poppy Hodgson

After the initial meeting, I had to pitch the idea to the powers that be, it became clear that I couldn’t do this all by my own, and that I would have to give out a few jobs to people beforehand. The first job was given to me as director, which was given to me, by me. I thought that to get the ideas that I wanted on stage it would be best to take the helm of the whole ship, and hope that I didn’t steer it into an iceberg. The next couple of roles were actually relatively easy to delegate, I gave my mate the job of being Stage Manager as I knew that a.) he’d do the job properly and that b.) he’d also enjoy shouting at people.

Later roles such as sound and lighting boffins came in later, and I believe that I have the best people on the job, so that everything is done professionally. A stage and tech club run in school, so I knew that those guys would love the backstage element to it all. And the overall organiser was given to my old English teacher, as we both had the idea for the show in the first place, I wanted a grounded mind overseeing the whole process, even though I knew how brilliant the idea and I both were, I’m human and I expected to make the odd mistake.

I should say that the above logo image was designed, and drawn by hand by, year 12 art student Poppy Hodgson. I originally sat down with Poppy and explained what I wanted, and from the word “go” she has been brilliant, every idea we discussed was included in some way, shape or form and then scaled up to be improved 100%. Thank you very much, Poppy, we have a fab logo to front what should be a fab show.

Auditions quickly came around, and for me it was a nice change to be on the audition panel, look scary and watch some amazing talent. Once I knew that I had enough to run a show, I had to have another meeting with biscuits that I wasn’t allowed to eat and came out of that with the impression that I had so many acts, we would need not one, but two Backstage Managers. This was again, a rather easy decision to make. My mate Amber; who is joining me in Tanzania next summer, and another close mate of mine; Maya, who is fantastic in every way. (I was told to say that). But, in all seriousness, they have both been absolutely brilliant, down to earth professionals, who I know I’ve been able to rely on if I needed anything done. It was important to me that they came to the cast meetings so that they were aware of the number of people they were taking on backstage. If I must say so myself, they have been amazing and suggested things even I wouldn’t have thought of, which will be a huge help when we come to do technical and dress rehearsals in a few days time.

So, since the blog is featuring in the programme, this is the actual”important” bit I have to include at the end. If you would like to come and see the show, obviously you have to be a student, parent or an important person at Keswick School and buy your tickets from ‘ParentMail’. All proceeds go towards my Tanzania expedition in the summer of next year, which I am splitting with a mate of mine as she’s also helped a lot with the organisation of the whole show- in a word, she’s been brilliant! And Changing Faces, a charity which deals with facial disfigurements such as acid attack victims, or people who may have been unfortunate to have been born with a disfigurement to the face. I thought it was such a nice charity to sponsor. It’s been an absolute pleasure.

Obviously, the organisation of this whole process couldn’t have been done without the brilliant work of a few special and equally brilliant people. And just to be old fashioned, I’m gonna name them off, they all know what for. Huge thanks to my right-hand man; Natty, we did it mate, but let’s not hold our breaths too soon! Miss Stephen, Mrs Jones, Amber, Maya; both for just being epic, Charlie, Ashia, Poppy, Keswick School Stage and Tech Club and Mr Jackson. The list goes on and on and on, those are just a few, but a huge thank you to every single one of you! Because without you, (the acts as well I suppose), we wouldn’t have a show. From an idea which was conceived just a few months ago, is very very nearly a reality. It’s been amazing.

Thank you for taking time to read, all the best and take care,

Thomas

Alfa Romeo Unpronounceable: Review

To be a petrol-head, it has been defined by law that you have to have owned or love Alfa Romeo’s. The problem is though after the Alfa GTV-6 there never really has been an Alfa that any petrol-head would want to buy. There is now though.

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Alfa Romeo GTV6 Pic: Autoweek.com

Firstly, there was the car that originally made me fall in love with Alfa’s in the first place, which was the amazing 4C, a car, which still to this day is a car I love, and that I want. They then made the equally brilliant 4C Spyder, a convertible version of the 4C… Alfa was on a roll, and we all presumed it couldn’t get much better from there. Now, however, we all realise how wrong we were.

The Amazing Alfa 4C

Italian cars have always been beautiful to look at, Ferraris, Lamborghini’s and now Alfa Romeo’s can be added to the list, especially with the 4C. It was a car that I just fell in love with as soon as I’d seen it. It looks amazing, and it drives just as good too.

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PPPOOOWWWEEERRR! Pic: Autocar

Now though, there is a new kid on the block. And this is it. It’s called the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, which is a typically Italian sounding name which is impossible to pronounce. To be honest, I’m not 100% certain I’ve spelt it correctly, but that’ll have to do.

In one word, this car is impossible to describe, so I thought I’d write about it now, and try and find the words for it later.

Firstly, it’s components, are all completely brand new from the ground up. Well, I say that as it has actually been made and designed by the same person who made and designed the Ferrari 458, and the 458 Speciale. This means that they have equipped it with, a carbon fibre prop shaft, carbon fibre roof, and a carbon fibre bonnet. All this means then, that this car should be incredibly light, the key words there were “should be”, which obviously means that it isn’t, as it weighs in at just over 1000 kilograms. Compared to the 4C, this car is a fatty. The party pieces don’t stop there, it also comes with a clever differential and a clever gearbox, and telepathic steering. This car then is a masterpiece.

It comes with a turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 engine which produces 503 brake horsepower, this is actually 60 more than what you would get in a BMW M3.  Then there is it’s raucous speeds, as it can smash doing 0-62MPH in 3.9 seconds, and go on to achieve its top speed of 191MPH. Ferrari; who are the same company as Alfa, says that the engine is completely different to the one that they fitted to the California, with just two cylinders removed. And that they have had nothing at all to do with any of the process of building the Alfa at all. So there you go then, they haven’t.

The noise this thing makes, can’t be ignored because it makes an absolute ace sound even at low speeds. This is all because of the twin-scroll turbo, which has been mounted at the heart of the V in the engine. Which leads me on to say that, the 2.9 litre V6 in this is an absolute gem.

Like any other little Italian sports car, the Quadrifoglio comes with race mode, and even though you couldn’t really use that on the road, I suppose it’s just nice to know that when it is engaged, it stiffens and tightens everything up, just like the response of the throttle, the steering and the gearbox. And, best of all, it makes sure that the safety net of the traction control- is turned off! This means that, if you want to slide around a racetrack or closed airfield in a cloud of your own tyre smoke, then you are left with a smile which will refuse to leave your face for the rest of your life. It is staggeringly good.

The Giulia is also very practical, I mean it comes with four doors, there is enough room in the back for a fully grown man, the boot is able to fit half a dozen bodies in and the leg room is plausible. It comes as standard with a six-speed gearbox which reminds you when you need to change up or down, to save fuel.

The best thing is, that you get all of this for £60,000. Which actually, is very reasonable.

As much as I love this car, for it to be an Alfa, there has got to be some problems, and oh boy…

The first one is that, if you are a human and want to drive this car, then that’s great. Getting out of it, however, will prove a little tricky. Firstly, I can’t see why you would want to get out of it, because if you are in it, that means you don’t have to look at it. What I’m trying to say is that the styling of this car doesn’t look particularly brilliant. But getting out of it in general, has proven a bit of a problem. This is because the gap between the pillar of the back doors and the steering wheel are so close together, that you need a shoe horn to remove yourself from it. The wheels look too small, and I can’t get out of my head that the front of it looks like a woman’s lady parts. But the biggest problem I find with this is that the engine has been put in place with what almost seems like dental floss. This is shown if you were to have the bonnet open, and close the passenger or driver side door because you will notice that as you do, the engine wobbles.

This is what I was saying though, all Alfa’s have faults, the biggest problem with them used to be that you couldn’t move three yards without it breaking down. But all Alfa’s have their faults, they are exactly like humans. It’s like my best mate, yes he’s annoying and he doesn’t stop talking, but he still is my best mate. That’s what Alfa’s are like too. That’s what gives them a soul. That’s what makes them human. That’s why I love them.

It’s a bit like an Italian tomato- bright, colourful and bursting with flavour which explodes when you put your foot on it.

Thomas