I hate the Nissan Juke. I hate it with a physical passion, a gut-wrenching, colon-knotting, visceral twist that threatens to disrupt my digestive tract and direct bile into my heart. I need to tell people I see driving one how vehemently I loathe and despise their car, how it riles me to the point of explosion. Sometimes I see whole families in one: little children laughing or snoozing in the back of it, oblivious to the fact that their parents have wilfully incarcerated them inside a loathsome, hateful, nasty little turd of a car; a sentence that will, without doubt, scar them forever, dashing whatever hopes those same parents might cherish concerning their little one’s bright futures in politics or the arts against the hideous reality of a ruined, haunted childhood leading to a life of petty crime and sleeping in shop doorways. It’s that bad.
So why do I hate the Nissan Juke? Well that’s the tricky bit; it’s just a feeling really.
I rather liked the Nissan Micra; certainly the earlier two generations - even did a rally in one once. So I’ve nothing against small Nissans per se. It’s an irrational dislike. I formed a similar thing once with a lady running a burger van. It was, perhaps, a step or two behind my hatred of the Juke in terms of depth, intensity and willingness to commit violence, but I nevertheless found myself growing ever more resentful of the lady’s presence at the hatch, even going so far as to be a bit snappy with her when I ordered a burger.
Asked by a friend – it was James May – why I had so taken against the hapless fatty food-dispenser, I could come up with no answer beyond, ‘it’s just a feeling. Disliked her on sight.’
And so it is with the Nissan Juke. This is not a hatred borne of exposure, experience or judgement. I have never actually driven one.
Doing so would be too close to asking the lady in the dinner van out to dinner so that I could tell her how much I, a perfect stranger, disliked her – which would be very, very poor form and not, I suspect, a lot of fun for either party.
It is an instinctive thing existing at an animal level. It is driven by the Inner Monster, the same that drives all our key urges: love, sex and eating. And that, my friend, is exactly where we are with this exciting new thing. Or at least, it’s where I am. I am not alone in forming these instant dislikes. My dog, a farm-bred border collie – hates men of a certain size and shape. I don’t know why. And neither does she. But she does know that when she sees a man who conforms to the complex matrix floating in her vision as being a man of that particular type, then she wants to bite him. And so she does. That cars can elicit that animal response, that reptilian snap in us is a great thing and speaks to the place they have in our hearts and psyche.
Much of what we say in the world of cars and bikes is based on similarly ill-defined but nevertheless deeply felt likes and dislikes, loyalties and loathings. And here is a place where we can come and share and shout and scream and savour and then leave, briefly normalised and ready for a trip back into the normal world. Before coming back here to grind our teeth and quicken our hearts whilst considering the things that really matter. It’s a Tribe thing.