Yesterday, I went on a speed awareness course – having been caught doing 58mph in a 50mph on the M4 at 1am on my way home from a gig – which after income tax, fuel tax and now speeding tax, it was a gig that was practically a loss for this hard pressed working father of four.
So I went along full of cynicism – that these courses are nothing more than a revenue raising exercise for our over-sized government – eking ever more money from the cash cow motorist.
Sitting in the room with twenty other people – it seemed that everyone else felt exactly the same and I felt for the two people taking the course as they tried to cajole us all along.
But we as an audience were absolutely brutal.
The tutors smiled. We stared. They tried levity – and none of us even cracked a smile.
We were about to hear about how speed causes death on our roads – and it seems in a Holiday Inn as well.
This tugged at my heart strings and immediately I offered up a smile of encouragement.
At least we the audience had already paid up in full and they wouldn’t suffer the ignominy of waiting to be paid after an awful gig as is the way for the hapless comic.
But slowly the room softened – as it was explained the impact of speed and also as our staggering ignorance about the laws of the road was laid bare.
Which is no surprise, really. After all, it’s been 30 years since I was tested and I’m similarly hazy on anything else I learnt when I was 17.
Basic arithmetic. i before e, except after c. 1066. 1914-1919, 1939-1945 and that Macbeth is shit is pretty much all I can remember from school, so why should I be able to remember the Highway Code?
I enjoyed the course though. It was humbling and salutary – as we learnt that our cars can be dangerous machines.
And then we were free to go – and get back in to our cars – and suddenly I wished that I hadn’t decided to go in my son’s car.
A 1litre Flame Red Vauxhall Corsa complete with white Go Faster stripe.
A sort of hierarchy established itself in the room. One chap was keen for people to know that he drove a Porsche. An attractive young woman let slip that her ride was a convertible with cruise control. During the interval, I was recognised by a few people and they had a quiet word.
But any credibility I might have had was now shot to pieces. It’s my son’s car I wanted to explain and perhaps elaborate on about an 18 year old can buy his own car – go on line and buy my book – how tom holland eclipsed…
No, too sad and too much information anyway. I opened the car. Pulled my tail out from between my legs and got in.
I say again that I enjoyed the course and there’s a nice irony to end on.
We had all attended for only one reason – to save ourselves money by remaining in my case, pointless.
But we learnt that speed is a major factor in people being maimed and killed on our roads – so the course was not pointless at all.