Don't be a fashion victim

Dress to survive, even if that means badly.

4y ago

When I was a boy, my ambitions were lofty; the unqualified love of all women, being a fighter pilot, that sort of thing. Now I'm a man I have put aside childish things. In fact, my only remaining aim in life is to get to the end of it without running over anyone.

I do worry about this. I'd hate to be dribbling in a rocking chair on the back porch thinking that I was off to meet the maker in the knowledge that something I regard as essentially a hobby had cost someone else's life. What's to be done?

Speed limits, cry some. Many are too low to be reasonable - the British motorways, some dual carriageways - and in any case speed is a bit like farting. You have to know when it's inappropriate. Imagining you're a safe driver simply because you stick to some fairly arbitrary number on a dial is a feeble-minded attempt to absolve yourself of real responsibility. Paying proper attention is more important.

On the other hand, I'm beginning to think that 30mph on the high street running through local Hammersmith is terrifyingly fast. The people of Hammersmith like to wander randomly into the road. And why shouldn't they? It's their road and it's my job not to run over them.

'And why shouldn't they? It's their road.'

James May not be visible

The good news is that the survivability of pedestrians has been greatly improved over my motoring lifetime. Brakes and tyres are better, so are headlights, and so are windscreen wipers. Glasses are better, and more people are wearing them. Cars have fewer and fewer sharp edges, and have softer bonnets for local drunks to bounce off. It all bodes well for the fulfilment of my life goals. But there's something else.

As I write, it's winter. The sky gleams like mercury, the air itself seems grey. People wear more clothes in winter, and stand out less starkly against the drab January canvass. It’s like a Lowry viewed through a sheet of bog roll. More to the point, though, we are in what some analysts would regard as a recessionary colour period. Times are uncertain, and this is reflected in the cars we choose. Look what's trendy: grey, silver, and dark blue. Meanwhile, the vogue in clothing is for autumnal hues and earth colours, such as browns and russet.

Why invent the three-point seat belt and then make your cars the same colour as the scenery? Idiots.

Why invent the three-point seat belt and then make your cars the same colour as the scenery? Idiots.

Combine these, and you can see a problem. The car is slightly less visible, and so is the person. It might only add a fraction of a second to my response time, but that might be the difference between a Hammersmith native doing a comedy hop and skip in the road and going home with a busted leg. Bright paint and a fashion for floral prints must, perforce, be safer.

The clear choice for today's safety-conscious motorist.

The clear choice for today's safety-conscious motorist.

Think about this next time you buy a car, because the case for my orange Ferrari is stronger than I thought. I know my shirts and jackets are pretty terrible, too, but hey; I'm still alive. Look out of the window when you're driving, and look before you cross the road. But remember: it could be Paul Smith who saves your life.

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Comments (106)

  • RANGERS BABY!!! LGR!!! this makes me happy. ☺✊

      4 years ago
  • I really do think they should bring back some of the old seventies colours, greens, yellows and gold, i have a beautifully painted classic mini in phoenix orange that really shouts out on a dull, cloudy day. But lets hope they dont bring back beige and poo brown!!

      4 years ago
  • I had James pegged as a Burberry man

      4 years ago
  • "The good news is that the survivability of pedestrians has been greatly improved over my motoring lifetime." You definitely have a point there. I was hit back in high school by an early 1990s Chevrolet Cavalier. I walked away with a shattered finger and a minor brain injury from hitting my head on the front of the car. If that car had been something with a more squared off or pointed front end (like a 1970 Ford Thunderbird), I'm not sure I would have survived the accident. Regardless, both drivers and pedestrians need to be as cautious of each other. And wearing loudly patterned shirts can't hurt either.

    On a separate note, keep the facial hair. It looks great.

      4 years ago
  • Happy belated birthday James, love the Rangers beanie!

      4 years ago