Sunday, 18 October 2015

Not-Driving Rock: 7 Hits of Pure Vehicular Abstinence

What the hell is driving rock?

From my cynical understanding the term is the music industries representation of the way greetings card companies fabricate new days of forced celebration to inspire people to remember they actually care. Your dad probably has several. These compilations consist of predominantly 'adult-orientated' rock, with the occasional song that has some loose reference to cars/driving/speed etc just in case you couldn’t ascertain that this is intended to be played in the car. I'm unsure quite how this is supposed to enhance the driving experience. Most of the compilations could simply be released as a classic rock album instead. 


Admittedly some have managed to compile a decent selection of songs, yet insinuating that you need to be behind the wheel of a car for maximum listening experience seems a strange notion. As a non-driving peasant I guess I'm not supposed to understand. In this article I will describe several reasons for my reluctance to commit to automobile ownership and simultaneously provide you with an inspirational alternative soundtrack. 


Just one example of the diversity of these playlists, although personally I would be more likely to deliberately crash the car than be forced to listen to Phil Oakley.

1. Liberate the legs, enslave the wallet

Buying and running a car would effectively reduce my monthly wage to mere pennies. Petrol costs, road tax, insurance, maintenance. None of which I could comfortably afford. Then most people don’t. Get the car on credit if you are old enough to have accumulated an acceptable credit score or rely on your parents to fund everything. I can reasonably assume that the vast majority of all young or first time drivers contribute next to nothing to the financial implications of driving. Mommy and Daddy bought you the car because you did well in your A Levels, they pay your ludicrously high insurance as you are a significant liability and they give you the money for petrol every week because lets face it, that McDonalds drive-through isn’t going to order itself is it?

Weezer - Surf Wax America


I would totally surf to work, if I lived on a beach... and worked on a different part of the same beach.

2. Driving lessons can be murder

Cars are bad for the environment and I don’t mean in the traditional and perpetually debatable ‘Global Warming’ argument. I mean every time I get behind the wheel of a car, things die. Before you consider me some kind of vehicular maniac, I should specify the only body count I have amassed has come from the local wildlife and not the locals themselves. On my first ever opportunity behind the wheel, I ran over a Cat… on Christmas Eve. Scooping its limp body out of the road was traumatising enough, but a few years later whilst having actual lessons I managed to get more feline blood on the tires. After sitting in the car with the instructor going over all the necessary basics, I pulled off her driveway and rolled straight over her beloved pet who was having a snooze under the rear tire. I never got a second lesson. Fast forward another few years whilst receiving unofficial lessons from a previous girlfriend. Two birds mutually decided to end it all and exploded off the front bumper. The bodies were never recovered. After hastily exiting the car to gaze out at the shower of feathers, I held a moments remembrance, then thoughtfully considered that I clearly posses the same ecological impact as traditional Chinese medicine. 

Jimmy Eat World - Night Drive


It's not about driving the car, it's about having sex in it, which is much more enjoyable... I've heard.

3. Conveniently deluded

Life is not meant to be easy and convenient. It is meant to challenge you with obstacles such as distance or the elements, so you both adapt and appreciate the luxuries more. But as humanity we want everything as easy as possible and with the least effort. This is what excessive driving does and subsequently creates this artificial sense of dependency that renders your legs seemingly useless. If your destination is less than two miles away, walk or cycle. You will feel better for it. I envision the technological advancements that will no doubt arrive over the next few years. Robot cars with built in HD televisions and Twitter coming as standard. Soon humanities greatest achievement will involve commuting on a giant smart phone whilst comsuming a mixed grill. 

Pantera - Walk


Just walk on home, boy.

4. Wide Load

One of the worst kinds of people that inhabit this planet is the (admittedly specific)
"I just passed my driving test, but my obvious and rapid weight gain is completely unrelated to it." We live in a morbidly obese culture where moderate exercise such as walking or even cycling is considered unnatural. I experience this first hand where I work. The shopping center has no pedestrian access and so the only way to visit is by car or bus. Consequently, it is not uncommon to find yourself surrounded by the type of patrons who have somehow managed to force themselves between the seat and their steering wheel to complete the arduous task of going to Marks and Spencer’s for some posh sausages. They shuffle around the mall, taking numerous seating breaks or hire a mobility scooter in turn creating the most tragic interpretation of Mario Kart possible. I am as unsympathetic to the overweight as they are to whatever they sit on. Walking is good exercise, cycling even more so, yet trying to suggest healthy alternatives is as deluded an idea as the individual who orders a diet coke with their McDonalds.

Nine Pound Hammer - Run Fatboy, Run


Run like your life depends on it, as it probably does.

5. Borrowed Time

People are effectively held hostage by rising petrol prices. We’ve already established that most of society considers themselves one with their wheels, yet they see no alternative to pouring away huge amounts of money at the cost of a slight amount of inconvenience and/or comfort. It’s a well known fact that soon the worlds resource of crude oil will run out. Maybe not in our lifetime, but a bit of forward thinking couldn’t go amiss. Maybe we should consider educating the preceding generations to expect the worst? Except we wont. Oil is big business, as long as huge amounts of money are being made in the present day, those in control of the oil couldn’t give a flying toss about the future. Their cryogenically frozen heads will be counting all their digital cash whilst everyone else tries to remember how to use their legs.

Piebald - Roll On


It's no coincidence that songs about not driving are far more uplifting.

6. Too fast, Too young

Society is adept at convincing its youth how to behave. Currently it seems that learning to drive is being forced upon the younger generations. The youth are impressionable, yet more importantly profitable. They are conditioned to want the fastest, most stylish looking cars, which keeps the insurance companies pockets full and the government gets a tasty slice of your road tax and the subsequent taxation on petrol. As previously stated, the only people that feel the sting are usually the parents. There are now classes that can teach those aged 14-17 to drive. What exactly does a 14 to 17 year old even need a car for? The only driving I cared about when I was that age was on Nintendo. Instead we end up with a very lazy generation, who view going for a drive as a productive pastime. Cars are meant for families and long distance commuters, not teenagers just off down the shops or racing around country lanes at three times the speed limit.  

OPM - Heaven is a Halfpipe


Yeah, why not? Totally not running out of ideas...

7. Not-rushing Hour

Have you seen the roads recently? I personally haven’t as regardless of the time of day, they are consistently gridlocked. The cruel paradox of the ‘rush hour’ is that no one rushes. Bristol was recently awarded the illustrious recognition of ‘Green Capital of Europe.’ We must have some revolutionary recycling going on here as the city is considerably failing in the category of traffic management. My entire cycle commute is spent seamlessly weaving through stationary cars.(For a more detailed description click here) I have colleagues who yet living closer than me, drive to work and I can get there quicker. Just call me Bradley Wiggins. The truth is that the majority of Bristol (and most other large cities I presume) attempt to travel at the same time. The increase in traffic and simultaneous decrease in the national speed limit, will soon make it quicker to walk to work and considering the methodology behind how speed cameras are enforced, the higher powers will soon be issuing speeding tickets for running and charges for remaining stationary for longer than twenty minutes.

System of a Down - Bounce


The world would be a much better place if everyone rode a pogo stick to work.

NG