Dirty toerag

When you're absolutely, positively, without a doubt not expecting to be working today

4y ago

I’m not complaining – I love my job – but I don’t get many days off. But there I am, one sunny Saturday morning in May, at the Ace Café off the North Circular.

OK, it’s a bit of a busman’s holiday – I’m surrounded by classic Italian cars but I’m not working. Yes, I’ve got a camera and a couple of lenses – but no Peli cases, no lights, no filters, no faff…

I’d told an old friend, former colleague and current client – Tech Tribe leader Simon Rockman, who lives nearby, that I was there and he’d said he might pop by.
He does. He’s parked down the road because he’s in something embarrassingly German, he tells me. And, on that subject, did I have half an hour free to shoot it for an upcoming review…

Half an hour. North Circular. No kit. Day off. Of course, I replied, but under these circumstances, you get a cliché. Which cliché would you like?

We settle on ‘Shiny rugged car’ – for the subject of the shoot is the VW Touraeg R-Line – ‘in front of grungy derelict building’.

But we can’t find any. At least, not any without chain link fencing and/or bollards in front. The clock’s ticking by and we’re about to give up, when we spot an industrial estate with a security guard and a manually operated barrier. We tailgate the van in front of us, but we’ve fooled nobody. Simon explains to the guard what we’re trying to do, but he’s not sympathetic, so we agree to turn around and leave.

There’s not a lot of space to turn round, so we head into the industrial units to go around the block. The guard’s now dealing with the next delivery driver and seems to have lost interest. While we’re here, we might as well look around.

Nothing’s quite right – it’s shabby, alright, but it’s not quite shabby enough. We make our last turn back towards the entrance and discover that Grand Union Canal runs along one side of the estate and there’s a row of parking spaces alongside the canal that are empty. It’s not exactly what we’re looking for, but there’s space, light and a bit of shabby chic.

The interior shots are compromised by the lack of additional lighting – and the car’s filthy, which makes the engine and close up shots a challenge – but the only real disappointment is that when a narrow boat finally comes along, we’ve parked in the wrong direction to get a shot of it sailing into the open boot. Next time.

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