Several hundred old cars and a '50s diner on an articulated truck are parked in a field in Somerset on a summer weekend. Their owners, mostly blokes in their twenties united by membership of an internet car forum, are busy firing up the BBQs. The beer will flow and out will come the project machinery, the modified mopeds, home-made unicycles and rocket-powered skateboards. Someone will set up a makeshift cinema with a VGA projector as the sun sets and a few old car movies will be shown, Two Lane Blacktop, Vanishing Point, or Smokey and the Bandit. Tomorrow there will be a sprint competition, an autojumble and the chance to wander round a load more cars talking improbable rubbish about anything that burns petrol.
My upcoming weekend might not at first reading seem that exciting, but I have to say I'm rather looking forward to it. For most of the last two decades a significant proportion of my peer group have been petrolheads and as a result their world is one I'm comfortable in. Right now I think my wife and I need the escape that a weekend away from home, work and gender issues can deliver so joining C and sharing the relative civilisation of a race transporter rather than roughing it in a tent seems rather attractive.
In a way it's another chance to peer into my past. Most of the people in the field this weekend will be 20-something blokes, as yet unfettered by wives, mortgages or children and free to indulge their unhealthy interest in old cars. I was once one of them, a bit more depressed and withdrawn perhaps, but a summer weekend in the 1990s might well have seen me and the Rusty Old Wreck in this very field. Previously the evening high-jinks at this event have included some fairly unconvincing cross-dressing from the youthful petrolheads. I would say to look for the one that's enjoying it a little bit too much, but going by my own experience I'd say look for the one that's rather too strenuously not getting involved. Nothing changes really, I'm certainly not getting involved this weekend. I suspect that's as well, I'd probably do too good a job of it. Shame, it would make a change to be the most presentable of a group of crossdressers!
So for the investment in half a tank of fuel for C's transporter and a campsite pass we get a carefree weekend assaulted by sun, wind, tyre smoke and rain. Sun cream and umbrella at the ready, plus camera, sunglasses, Gore-Tex and paracetamol (For non-Brits: tylenol). A chemical loo, a shower that only has enough hot water in one go for a very short wash and not quite enough mains power from a 2-stroke generator to power my wife's hairdryer. And we're doing this for fun? We must be mad!
Whatever you are doing this weekend, enjoy it!